Historical Perspective of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal psychology is of the widely studied and debatable branches of psychology. A lot of research has been done covering a wide spectrum of view since the beginning of time with experts investing their time and resources in trying to unravel the truth behind this concept. However, the understanding of what is abnormal is usually well reached by understanding what is normal since abnormality of any nature is simple a derivative of a normal situation. Normality usually describes acceptable norms of behavior acceptable within certain boundaries. Therefore abnormal psychology explores extend to which human beings deviate from normality as a result of particular factors. This paper explores abnormal psychology from a broad array of approach with focus on its origin, evolution into various scientific disciplines and some of the different models which have been adopted in explaining this phenomenon.
What is abnormal psychology?
First of all, psychology is a branch of science which deals with the study of the mind and human or animal behavior. On the other hand, abnormal psychology as a branch of psychology, purely coves Psychopathology together with abnormal behavior. The term refers to a multitude of conditions ranging from eating disorders to sexual disorders among others (Psychology Facts). It therefore implies that experts in various disciplines like medicine, counseling and psychology work closely in dealing with behavioral related cases which are very common in the society. As mentioned above, normality can be well explained by understanding norms set by the society or a given group people. Although these may vary from one group to another, many people will always fall in a given category called the average. This is usually used as the reference point with those falling on both extremes being considered abnormal. Nevertheless, abnormal does not always refer to bad. For instance a highly intelligent person above the average point could be considered abnormal. But the same person may be considered to be a genius, thus being accepted in the society; abnormal implying good.
Does abnormal psychology have history?
Abnormal behavior has remained a disturbing issue in society for a long period of time. A lot of effort has been invested in research and studies aimed at controlling abnormal behavior for years. Throughout this timeline of historical events, several approaches have been adopted towards abnormal behavior with common ones being psychological, supernatural and biological traditions (Snitchler & Harris). These approaches try to explain the root cause of abnormal behavior in any given societal setting. However, history has also experienced mystical explanations which describe the exact origin of abnormal psychology. These varying etiological theories have played a significant role in treatment approaches adopted by today’s clinical psychologist. This is because the treatment of any unhealthy condition depends on its causal factors. According to historical findings, olden people found no distinction between religion, medicine and magic. There are skulls which have been excavated showing holes which may have been drilled in them as a way of treatment.
Based on the advancements which have been realized in dealing with abnormal psychology, abnormal psychology has evolved into a scientific discipline. There is enormous scientific research and approaches which have been adopted in attempts to deal with abnormal psychology. Although many people do understand the role of psychologists in studying mental abnormalities very few appreciate the fact that these experts are also laboratory scientists. Many countries including Canada and the United States have adopted scientific approach of dealing with psychological problems with laboratory analysis being given preference (Psychology as a Science). There has been continued need of bringing psychology closer and closing the gap which has existed between this field and science. The use of measurements and experimental management of psychology has been seen as a major boost in bringing psychology into real science. Technology such as neuropsychology has revolutionized the manner in which mental problems are viewed in relation to emotions, learning, perception and motivation. Academic psychology is therefore based on human feelings and actions which have a distinct connection with human development. It is important to note that psychology as a basic discipline has tremendously developed into science which academic psychology departments serving as foundational backbones of professional psychology.
There are several theoretical models which have always attempted to explain abnormal psychology as it occurs in the society. Why should a child who is born and considered normal and healthy be later diagnosed to have abnormal behavior? The medical or biological model is the commonest among all the approaches of understanding the causes of abnormal behavior. This model correlates almost all abnormal behavior to occur as a result of medical factors namely, diseases. It has been argued that people who suffer from mental diseases have a higher chance of developing abnormal behaviors. The model further views psychological disorders as physical diseases which need the normal diagnostic and treatment approach. On the other hand, psychological model views abnormal behavior as a result of unconscious conflicts. There have been affirmations that many people who behave abnormally engage in such due to false assumptions and mostly maladjusted functioning of the mind. This may be as a result of errors encountered in real life situations (Psychology Facts). Treatment of this condition involves the replacement of maladaptive habits with valuable thoughts and ideas.
The socio-setting of human beings significantly affect behavior. This is because societies define what is right or wrong and emphasize on embracing acceptable values through culture, beliefs and traditions (Social Studies School Service, 2004). According to the socio-cultural model, abnormal psychology is best analyzed by consideration the influence of cultural and social forces in the life of an individual. As a results one behavior can be considered as abnormal in one society and embraced in the other as a way of maintaining culture. Therefore on the basis of this model, abnormal behavior may vary from one community to the other depending on how it defines abnormal. Generally, abnormal psychology is a wide concept of discussion. Since human behavior and culture varies from one society to the other, everybody is likely to be considered abnormal in a particular setting depending on how normal and abnormal psychology are defined.