PSY-470: Abnormal Psychology

PSY-470: Abnormal Psychology is a writing-intensive foundation course in abnormal behavior science that allows students to investigate the origins and development of abnormal patterns and disorders. This course will help students recognize and understand mental illness by increasing their awareness of emotional, functional, and physiological factors that influence mental health. Symptoms, diagnoses, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of various psychological disorders and syndromes have been covered in detail.

The term “abnormal” is controversial in and of itself. Who gets to decide what constitutes “normal”? The social norms that are frequently used to determine what is normal versus abnormal can shift over time, making it difficult to come up with a standard definition.

What is abnormal psychology?


Abnormal psychology examines the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns that can indicate a mental health problem. Rather than focusing on the difference between normal and abnormal, psychologists in this field look at how much distress behaviors, thoughts, or emotions can cause.

“abnormal” behavior causes problems in a person’s life or is disruptive to others. In such instances, the behavior may necessitate some form of mental health treatment.

the following characteristics are used when defining abnormality:

  • Abnormal behavior occurs infrequently

Statistical infrequency, on the other hand, is insufficient as a definition. As some behaviors that are healthy, desirable, and beneficial are also rare. Other unusual characteristics or behaviors have no impact on how a person acts or functions. So, just because something is unusual or uncommon, it is not necessarily abnormal.

  • Abnormal behavior is socially disruptive.

It may go against social norms, making it difficult for people to function in social situations and maintain relationships.

  • Abnormal behavior creates distress

These behaviors may bother the individual or irritate and disrupt others.

  • Abnormal behavior affects a person’s ability to function.

People who exhibit these behaviors may find it difficult to function normally in their daily lives, which can hurt their relationships, work, school, and home lives.


Abnormal Psychology from a Different Perspective


Psychoanalytic Approach:

This point of view is based on Sigmund Freud’s theories. 2 Many abnormal behaviors, according to psychoanalysis, are the result of unconscious thoughts, desires, and memories.

Behavioral Approach: 

This approach focuses on observable behaviors.

The goal of behavioral therapy is to reinforce positive behaviors rather than maladaptive behaviors.

The behavioral approach focuses solely on the behavior itself, rather than the root causes. A behavioral therapist might use strategies like classical conditioning and operant conditioning to help eliminate unwanted behaviors and teach new ones when dealing with abnormal behavior.

Cognitive Approach:

Internal thoughts, perceptions, and reasoning all play a role in psychological disorders, according to the cognitive approach to abnormal psychology. The goal of most cognitive treatments is to help the patient change their thoughts or reactions.

In a technique known as cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy is used in conjunction with behavioral methods (CBT).

Medical Approach:

This approach to abnormal psychology emphasizes understanding the biological causes of mental illness, which may include genetic inheritance, related physical illnesses, infections, and chemical imbalances. The majority of medical treatments are pharmacological, though medication is frequently used in conjunction with psychotherapy.



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