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Historical Perspectives Of Abnormal Psychology Essay

1082 words - 5 pages

Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology
PSY 475

Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal psychology is the field of science that looks at why people behave in “weird” ways and how to change these behaviors. There are six concepts that are used to understand abnormal psychology the best. They are; the importance of context in defining and understanding abnormality, the continuum between normal and abnormal behavior, cultural and historical relativism in defining and classifying abnormality, the advantages and limitations of diagnosis, the principle of multiple causality, and the connection between mind and body (Hansell & Damour, 2008, pg. 40). Abnormal ...view middle of the document...

It was not until the 16th century when people finally began to believe that there may be more behind mental illness than spirits and witchcraft, when Jahann Weyer wrote a book to discredit demons (Northern Illinois University, n.d.). Benjamin Rush was the next person in the late 1700’s to look at mental illness as a scientific field and start the ball rolling on changing the way that people study and think about abnormal behaviors and mental illness. Abnormal psychology may not have been understood well until about the last 100 years, but people have been interested in the behaviors of others since the beginning of time.
Abnormal Psychology as a Scientific Discipline
Due to the fact that people did not understand where abnormal behaviors came from, the field of abnormal psychology was developed until about 100 years ago. Before people understood behavior in a scientific manner, it was thought that demons and witches were the cause of abnormal behavior. Benjamin Rush was one of the first people to look at abnormal psychology as a science instead of in a spiritual way (Northern Illinois University, n.d.). People dealing with mental illness were treated as criminals and put into mental institutions and tested on. As people began to understand that mental illness was more than just a type of crazy, changed began to occur in the way that people were treated for these illnesses. Not until the late 19th century did people begin to use drugs to help people deal with mental illness. In the late 1800’s Sigmund Freud came on the scene and starting looking at why people behaved in abnormal ways instead of just how to “fix” people (Northern Illinois University, n.d.). Freud began looking at the idea of the conscious and unconscious mind. The idea of looking at why abnormal behaviors occur was a new idea which allowed for abnormal psychology to be a true field of science with studies conducted on personality, the mind, and motivation. Today the field of abnormal psychology is growing more and more everyday with new studies being done all the time. People are more interested than ever in how and why behaviors occur and how people can change his or her behaviors.
Theoretical Models of Abnormal Psychology
There are six theoretical models of abnormal psychology that are used to understand abnormal behaviors of...

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