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Treating Abnormal Psychology

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Ms Schwinge

on 2 May 2018

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Transcript of Treating Abnormal Psychology

Evaluating Psychotherapies
Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis

was the first of the psychological therapies, and its old terminology has crept into our modern vocabulary. However, few people practice therapy as Freud did (although
some of his techniques and assumptions survive
Humanistic Therapies
Humanistic therapies aim to boost self-fulfillment by helping people grow into self-awareness and self-acceptance
. They attempt to do this by
reducing the inner conflicts
that are impeding natural developmental growth by providing clients with new insights.
Behavior Therapies
Behavior therapies
do not buy the full healing power of self-awareness (you can become aware of why you are highly anxious during tests and still be anxious). Instead, they
assume that problem behaviors are the problems, and the application of learning principles can eliminate them
Cognitive Therapies
cognitive therapies assume that our thinking colors our feelings
, and that between the event and our response lies the mind.
Cognitive therapists therefore try in various ways to teach people new, more constructive ways of thinking
Group and Family Therapies
Except for traditional psychoanalysis,
most therapies may also occur in small groups
. Although group therapy does not provide the same degree of therapist involvement with each client, it does save therapists' time and clients' money.
It also shows people that others have problems similar to their own, and gives them an opportunity to receive feedback
Treatment of Psychological Disorders
Today's mental health therapies can be classified into
two main categories
, and the favored treatment depends on both the
disorder and the therapist's viewpoint
Learning related disorders
(like phobias), are likely candidates
in which a trained therapist uses
psychological techniques
to assist someone.
Biologically influenced disorders
(like schizophrenia), will often be treated with
biomedical therapy
, a
prescribed medical procedure
that acts directly on the patient's
nervous system
However, half of all psychotherapists describe themselves as taking an
eclectic approach
, in which they use a
blend of the two therapies
The Psychological Therapies
The Biomedical Therapies
Psychoanalytic theory presumes that healthier, less anxious living becomes possible when people release the energy they had previously devoted to id-ego-superego conflicts.
After Freud discarded hypnosis as unreliable, he turned to
free association
Freud interpreted
blocks in the flow of free associations as resistance
, which indicate that
anxiety lurks
and there is an attempt to
defend against sensitive material
. Psychoanalysts will
note the resistances and then interpret their meaning
in order to provide the patient with insight into their underlying wishes, feelings, and conflicts.
Influenced by Freud,
psychodynamic therapists try to understand a patient's current symptoms by focusing on themes across important relationships

(including childhood experiences and the therapist relationship)
Interpersonal therapy
, a brief (12-16 sessions) variation of psychodynamic therapy, has been
effective in treating depression
. It helps people
gain insight into the roots of their difficulties
, but its goal is
symptom relief
in the here and now (not overall personality change).
Although it is an
insight therapy
like psychoanalysis, it differs in that it
focuses on the present and future more than the past
, discusses
rather than unconscious thoughts, has the
patient take responsibility for their feelings and actions
rather than try to uncover hidden determinants, and
promotes growth
instead of curing illness.
Humanist psychologist Carl Rogers developed
client-centered therapy
, in which the
therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine, accepting, empathetic environment to facilitate clients' growth
Counterconditioning pairs the trigger stimulus
(like an elevator to someone who is claustrophobic),
with a new response
that is incompatible with the fear
Exposure therapy is when you expose people
(in imagination or actuality)
to the thing they fear and normally avoid
Virtual reality exposure therapy
Systematic desensitization
is a type of exposure therapy that
associates a pleasant relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety triggering stimuli
. Commonly used to treat phobias.
aversive conditioning
, you
associate an unpleasant state
(such as nausea)
with an unwanted behavior
(like drinking alcohol)
We often think in words; therefore,
getting people to change what they say to themselves is an effective way to change their thinking
Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to alter the way people think
and also to alter the way they act
(behavior). It seeks to
make people aware of their irrational negative thinking
, to
replace it with new ways of thinking
, and to
practice the more positive approach
in every day settings.
Family therapy
assumes that no person is an island, that we live and grow in relation to others, especially our family. It is
intended to help heal family relationships.
People's belief in a therapy can
lead to their actually feeling better
, which helps explain why
of people got better while on a
. BUT there is a documented
50% success rate of real treatment programs
(these results have been generalized through a
; a statistical procedure that
combines the conclusions
of a large number of different studies).
The bottom-line results of these studies state that people
not undergoing therapy often improve
, but
those undergoing therapy are more likely to improve
The ideal clinical decision-making is a three-legged stool
, upheld by research, evidence, clinical expertise, and knowledge of the patient
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR):

Light Exposure Therapy
for the treatment of S.A.D.
Drug Therapies
Brain Stimulation
By far, the most widely used
biomedical treatments
today are the
drug therapies
. This is directly related to the study of
(the study of
drug effects on mind and behavior
After the widespread
introduction of antipsychotic drugs
(around 1955), the number of people in state and county mental hospitals
declined sharply
. But in the rush to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill,
many people who were ill-equipped to are for themselves were left homeless on city streets
Antipsychotic drugs
(like Thorazine) are used to treat schizophrenia and other forms of severe thought disorder. They
tend to dampen responsiveness to irrelevant stimuli
(like the + symptoms of schizophrenia)
Potential side effects of antipsychotics
- sluggishness
- tremors and twitches
- involuntary movements of the facial muscles, tongue, and limbs (tardive dyskinesia)
(benzodiezepines like Xanax or Ativan) help control
anxiety and agitation.
They have been shown to
enhance the benefits
of exposure therapy, and help
relieve the symptoms
of PTSD and OCD.
are intended to lift the mood by increasing the availability of norepinephrine or serotonin in the brain
. Examples of these selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.
Although these drugs reduce symptoms of mental illness, they do not resolve the underlying problems that may be augmenting the disorder.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
is a biomedical therapy for severely depressed patients in which a brief
electric current
is sent through the
of an anesthetized patient
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
is the
application of repeated pulses of magnetic energy to the brain.
It is used to stimulate or suppress brain activity, but is usually used in psychology to
energize depressed patients' relatively inactive left frontal lobe
Because its effects are
(surgery that
removes or destroys brain tissue
) is the most drastic and
biomedical intervention.
Lobotomies were once used to calm uncontrollably emotional or violent patients
. The procedure
cut the nerves connecting the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers
of the inner brain. Side effects included permanent lethargy, immaturity/childishness, apathy, and lack of creativity.
Thankfully, lobotomies are no longer used. However, if a patient suffers from uncontrollable seizures,
surgeons can deactivate the specific nerve clusters that cause or transmit the convulsions
(or cut the corpus callosum)
Therapeutic Life Style Changes
Everything psychological is also biological
. Every thought and feeling depends on the functioning brain. Every creative idea, every moment of joy or anger, every period of depression emerges from the
electrochemical activity
of the living brain.
Goals for a healthy brain and body
- 30 minutes of
at least 3 times a week
- 7 to 9 hours of
a night
- at least 30 minutes of
light exposure
- at least 2 meaningful
social engagements
- eat a variety of
food groups
, and cut out as much junk food as you can
redirect negative thoughts
, and enhance positive thinking (build resiliency!)

Help prevent some disorders by building your own
resilience; the

personal strength that helps most people cope with stress
and recover from adversity. How can you start?
There are also
mood-stabilizing drugs
(such as lithium) that can
help soften the emotional highs and lows
of people suffering from bipolar disorder. The risk of suicide is
that of bipolar patients not taking lithium.
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