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Unit 4: Clinical Psychology

Unit 4: Clinical Psychology

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Unit 4: Clinical Psychology

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  1. Unit 4: Clinical Psychology 4.4: Issues & debates The contribution of Psychology to society From the 5 AS approaches and one A2 application (Clinical)

  2. Social … • Understanding prejudice … • Tajfel – Social Identity Theory (‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’) • Sherif – Realistic Conflict Theory • Contribution – reduction of prejudice

  3. Evaluation … • Strengths: both studies used the experimental method – replicable, control of variables (reliable) • Sherif’s study also supports Tajfel’s claims about how people categorise themselves as members of the in or out group before any competition exists • Limitations: focussing on one aspect of prejudice (being in a group) in a tightly controlled situation (experiment) is reductionist and may not be able to fully explain how prejudice and discrimination operate in society • Because of this, these studies may lack external validity (may not reflect ‘real-life’ group situations) • For more information, see pages 294-5 in your textbook

  4. Learning … • Pavlov – classical conditioning → systematic desensitisation Contribution: treatment for phobias

  5. Evaluation … • Strengths: there is evidence that systematic (SD) desensitisation is effective in treating the fear of flying (Capafons, 1998) • Ethical – the individual has a certain amount of control during the therapeutic process • Limitations: The theory of classical conditioning is based mainly on animal studies – can the findings be extrapolated to humans? • Although useful for treating phobias, SD not likely to be an effective treatment for psychoses* (e.g. schizophrenia) • For more information, see pages 302-3 in your textbook

  6. Cognitive … • Loftus & Palmer (1974), Yuille & Cutshall (1986), Yarmey (2004) - eyewitness memory • Contribution: a change in how questions are asked in court, and a re-consideration of the reliability of eyewitness testimony as evidence

  7. Evaluation … • Strengths: much of eyewitness research is experimental - replicable, control of variables (reliable) • Although it has taken quite a while, this research has been applied within the UK legal system; it is accepted as valid, reliable and objective • Limitations: the findings of Yuille & Cutshall’s research with real witnesses to a robbery challenged Loftus & Palmer’s findings; this casts doubts on the validity of the latter • Ethics – asking participants to recall a potentially traumatic event may cause them psychological harm • For further information, see page 297 in your textbook

  8. Psychodynamic … • Yes, it HAS contributed something (supposedly!!) • Psychoanalytic therapy – revealing the contents of the id using dream analysis and/or free association

  9. Evaluation … • Strengths: this is a holistic therapy (focusses on the whole person), rather than just one aspect • There is evidence to support the efficacy of this therapy with certain individuals (Bachrach et al., 1991) • Limitations: lack of empirical evidence – we cannot directly observe things such as the id, ego, superego; they are not scientifically measurable • Therapy is expensive, time-consuming; the individual has very little (if any) control over the therapeutic process (ethical?)

  10. Biological … • Chromosomes and sex assignment • Male/female chromosome patterns - XX – female, XY – male • Contribution to society: • Research has identified other patterns - • XXY – Klinefelter’s syndrome in boys, XO – Turner’s syndrome in girls • This research has led to the development of hormone treatments for these conditions

  11. Evaluation … • Strengths: Empirical evidence (genes and hormones); scientific, objective and reliable research findings • Predictive validity – gene structure predicts development, development types show related gene structure • Limitations: Ignores the role of nurture, or the interaction of nature and nurture in gender development • Much of the research has been conducted with animals – extrapolation?

  12. *The difference between psychoses and neuroses: • Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations) • Neurosis is a relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behaviour, hypochondria) but not a radical loss of touch with reality

  13. A contribution from Clinical Psychology … • The diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses • The system that is most widely used for diagnosis is the DSM-IV-TR • Reliability and validity of diagnoses - • Studies by Hoffman (2002), Lee (2006) and Kim-Cohen et al. (2005) offer support for the validity of DSM diagnoses; however … • The DSM is written and published in the US – what about other cultures? (Ethnocentrism)