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Approaches to Abnormality Essay

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Free Essay on Approaches to Abnormality

When one is to define what normal behavior is one tends to find it rather difficult – this concept seems to be so easy, though at the same time very ambiguous. However, when it comes to defining what is “abnormal” one finds it to be rather uncomplicated. This is because the concept of abnormality has been around for a long time. There were even times when people used to suggest that witchcraft and superstition were the cause of abnormal behavior. In the present day, of course, we find that those beliefs unrealistic and define abnormality as a result of illness involving malfunctioning in the body (usually brain).

Today psychology offers six major models of abnormality that suggest the cause of abnormal behavior, these are: medical model, psychoanalytic model, behavioral model, cognitive model, humanistic model, and the eclectic model (Reiss, 2006, p. 63). With the help of these models we can obtain more information about the way abnormalities must be approached. The medical model, also known as biological model produces valuable information and its treatments often provide relatively quick relief from symptoms, however it often does not explain all abnormality. For example, some abnormal behaviors that are affected by physiology: schizophrenia and depression. Psychoanalytic model assumes that there are defense mechanisms that help control conflict. This model suggests that personality has three parts: Id, Ego, and Superego and was originally proposed by the famous Austrian psychologies Sigmund Freud. According to the behavioral model the behaviors usually result from previously learnt responses. However, many psychologists are dissatisfied with the radical behaviorist view that all maladaptive behaviors could be explained by education. This is because some behaviors are affected by biology, and others are rooted in the human mind.

Cognitive approach assumes that abnormal behaviors can be explained by maladaptive or irrational thoughts, attitudes, and assumptions. This means that to understand behavior we must understand thoughts and includes how people see themselves and the world around them. Abnormal behavior is caused by faulty and irrational thought this processes. The humanistic approach puts the emphasizes on the drive to one’s better self, and finding meaning in life, assuming that abnormality results from lack of caring and support.

In conclusion I would like to mention the last model discussed in this paper – the eclectic model that is the most important and relevant approach to abnormality. It is obvious that in practice a single model cannot provide one with complete information about the complicated mental disorder. Thus, the existing theories should be combined smartly and used together sufficiently in order to assist the patients. This is when eclectic approach comes into place. This approach assumes that all the models should be used and the choice of model should be made based on the condition of the patient and stage of the disease. For example, to use firstly the biological model, then behavioral model and then other depending on the situation (Cave, 2002, pp. 25-26). Thus, what has to be learnt is that no single theory is perfect and it is vital to obtain knowledge from all possible sources and use it effectively for the sake of those suffering from diseases.

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