Approach to Treatment Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology deals with human’s emotions, cognition and behavior issues. “Abnormal behaviors is a psychological dysfunction that is associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typical or culturally expected.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 1). “For much of our recorded history, deviant behavior has been considered a reflection of the battle between good and evil.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 6). In the 14th century abnormal behaviors were viewed as being possessed by devil spirits and treatment included exorcism, torture, and execution. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). The most common treatment was exorcism, this would get rid of evil spirits. “Other approaches included shaving the pattern of a cross in the hair of the victim’s head and securing sufferers to a wall near the front of a church so that they might benefit from hearing Mass.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 7). Other practices included execution, torture or imprisonment for individuals with mental illness. In the 15th century those that practiced witchcraft were punished. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). In the 18th century individuals that suffered from mental illness were viewed as odd and were placed in asylums. Individuals placed in asylums were beat, chained to their beds and barely had any contact with other humans. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). In the 1800’s Philippe Pinel argued that mentally ill individuals needed to have more contact with other humans and having someone to talk to would help them. In the 19th century Dorothea Dix worked her whole life to help mentally ill individuals be treated better and letting others know how they were treated badly. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “In the middle of the 19th century, mental illness was caused by brain pathology and, therefore, was incurable.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 14).

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay on

“Approach to Treatment Abnormal Psychology”

Get custom essay

Psychological Traditions

One psychological tradition that helped further the beliefs about what caused mental illness was Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious mind. Freud believed that the unconscious mind was responsible for psychological disorders. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). According to Freud humans, personality and abnormal behaviors developed in one’s childhood. Freud believed that the unconscious mind influenced our behavior and way of acting.

The unconscious has three parts: Id, Ego and Superego. Id is the pleasure principle, ego is reality principle, superego is moral principles. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Ego helps keeps id and superego stay balanced. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “If the ego or superego become too strong, this will overtake us and psychological disorders will develop.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 17). The ego is in a constant fight to be on top of id and superego. Sometimes the conflicts can cause anxiety. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “We use defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from feelings of anxiety or guilt, which arise because we feel threatened, or because our id or superego becomes too demanding.” (McLeod, 2017).

Multi-Dimensional Approach

Multi-dimensional integrative approach is described as “… psychological disorders are always the products of multiple interacting casual factors.” (Durand & Barlow, 2013, pg. 31). “Biological dimensions include causal factors from the fields of genetics and neuroscience. Psychological dimensions include causal factors from behavioral and cognitive processes, including learned helplessness, social learning, prepared learning, and even unconscious processes. Emotional influences contribute in a variety of ways, as do social and interpersonal influences. Finally, developmental influences figure in any discussion of causes of psychological disorders.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 31).

While one-dimensional model believes that mental illness is caused by one factor. It does not overlap with other disorders. Kraepelin believed that mental illness were caused by biological factors, for example, schizophrenia.

Biological Approach

The biological approach believes that “psychological disorders are “caused” by biochemical imbalances, excesses, or deficiencies in certain neurotransmitter systems.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 46). Neurotransmitters helps nerve cells communicate with each other and when they do not communicate because of chemical imbalance or because they are not working properly this causes mental illness. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “For example, abnormal activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin is often described as causing depression.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 46). Most Mental illnesses can be caused because of abnormalities in the genes. “Our genes contribute to our behavior, emotions, and cognitive processes and constrain the influence of environmental factors, such as upbringing, on our later behavior.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 39). Some drugs prevent production of neurotransmitters. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “Others increase the production of biochemical substances that may shut down the neurotransmitter. Yet others do not affect neurotransmitters directly but prevent the chemical from reaching the next neuron by closing down, or occupying, the receptors in that neuron.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 47).

Psychological Approach

Psychological approach is a breakdown of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Freud view of psychology and human behavior was the role of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences helped explain human behavior and to treat people suffering from mental illnesses. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). According to Freud the mind had three parts: id, ego and superego. Id is the pleasure principle seeks gratification. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Ego I reality principle. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Helps satisfy id in a realistic way. Superego tells us right from wrong. (Durand & Barlow, 2012).

“Behaviorism, associated with John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B. F. Skinner, which focuses on how learning and adaptation affect the development of psychopathology.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 14). Behaviorism only focuses on observable behaviors. Cognitive focuses on mental processes such as memory, thinking, problem-solving, language, and decision-making. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). According to Jean Piaget and Albert Bandura the human brain is like a computer that stores information, processed and knows when to use this information. (Durand & Barlow, 2012).

Emotions Approach

Emotional approach believes that our thoughts and feelings impact our behavior. “Basic emotions of fear, anger, sadness or distress, and excitement may contribute to many psychological disorders and even define them.” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 59). Emotions affect our cognitive process if we have a positive mood then we interpret things in a positive way. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). If someone is constantly depressed or have a negative attitude than past events will be unpleasant. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Someone that is pessimistic or depressed sees the bottle half empty. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). And someone optimistic sees the bottle half full. (Durand & Barlow, 2012).

Social and Cultural Approach

According to social and cultural approach the influence of social environment, early leaning and culture influence mental illness. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “Mental illness can be more prevalent in certain cultures and communities, but this is also largely determined by whether that particular disorder is rooted more in genetic or social factors.” (Andrade, 2017, para. 2). Different cultures view mental illness differently. “Based on these cultural influences and ideals, people decide how they are going to cope with mental illness and seek treatment.” (Andrade, 2017, para. 3). “Cultural factors often determine how much support people have from their families and communities in seeking help.” (Andrade, 2017, para. 3).

“Psychological disorders continue to carry a stigma in our society (Hinshaw & Stier, 2008).” (Durand & Barlow, 2012, pg. 63). Being anxious and depressed is viewed as being weak. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). Since there is still a stigma on mental illness there is less of a change of someone to fully recover and seeking help.

Developmental Approach

“Developmental psychology looks at how thinking, feeling, and behavior change throughout a person’s life.” (McLeod, 2017, para.1). Important developmental changes occur at all points in life. (Durand & Barlow, 2012). “The three goals of developmental psychology are to describe, explain, and to optimize development (Baltes, Reese, & Lipsitt, 1980).” (McLeod, 2017, para. 4). No two individuals take the same path, nor do they think the same way. This is why it is important to remember that there are different paths to a particular outcome. (Durand & Barlow, 2012).


  1. Andrade, S. (2017). Cultural influences on mental health. [Online]. Retrieved from
  2. Durand, V. M., Barlow, D. H. (01/2012). Essentials of Abnormal Psychology. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from
  3. McLeod, S. (2017). Defense Mechanisms. [Online]. Retrieved from
  4. McLeod, S. (2017). Developmental psychology. [Online]. Retrieved from   
Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Approach to Treatment Abnormal Psychology. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved December 9, 2022 , from

Save time with Studydriver!

Get in touch with our top writers for a non-plagiarized essays written to satisfy your needs

Get custom essay

Stuck on ideas? Struggling with a concept?

A professional writer will make a clear, mistake-free paper for you!

Get help with your assigment
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Stop wasting your time searching for samples!
You can find a skilled professional who can write any paper for you.
Get unique paper

I'm Chatbot Amy :)

I can help you save hours on your homework. Let's start by finding a writer.

Find Writer