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Chapter 11 Outline - 11-21-07

Chapter 11 Outline - 11-21-07 - Psychology 105 Chapter#11...

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Psychology 105 – Chapter #11 – Psychological Disorders DEFINING AND DIAGNOSING DISORDER Legal definition of insanity – Whether a person is aware of the consequences of his or her actions and can control his or her behavior o A person may have a mental disorder and still be considered sane The DSM’s primary aim is descriptive : to provide clear diagnostic categories so that clinicians and researchers can agree on which disorders they are talking about and can then study and treat these disorders. Explosion of “mental disorders” – could be… o Supporters of the new categories answer that it is important to distinguish disorders precisely in order to treat them properly. o Critics: Economic reason – insurance companies require clinicians to assign their clients an appropriate DSM code number Mental Disorder – Any behavior or emotional state that causes a person great suffering, is self-destructive, seriously impairs the person’s ability to work or get along with others, or endangers others or the community. PROBLEMS WITH DSM: 1.) Overdiagnosis – If you give Mental-health professionals a diagnostic label, they will apply the new label to everyone they meet. 2.) The power of diagnostic labels – Once someone is given a diagnosis, they feel emotional relief and the diagnosis reassures people who are seeking an explanation for their emotional problems. a. However, that label, once labeled, to the observers, the observers tend to ignore changes in one’s behavior (if they occur) – i.e – when you have been given a label, people only see the label. 3.) The confusion of mental disorders with normal problems – Critics fear that by lumping together ordinary difficulties with true mental illnesses, the DSM implies that everyday problems are comparable to disorders and will be equally likely to require treatment. 4.) The illusion of objectivity in universality – Some psychologists argue that decisions what to include as a disorder are based on a group consensus (not empirical evidence) – which reflects prejudices – many diagnoses still depend on cultural consensus on what constitutes normal behavior or a disorder. Culture-bound syndromes – Disorders that are specific to particular cultural contexts
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DILEMMAS OF MEASUREMENT Projective tests – Psychological tests used to infer a person’s motives, conflicts, and unconscious dynamics on the basis of the person’s interpretations of ambiguous stimuli. o The psychodynamic assumption behind all projective tests is that the person’s unconscious thoughts and feelings will be projected onto the test and revealed in the person’s responses o Projective tests can help clinicians establish an emotional link with their clients and can encourage clients to open up about anxieties and conflicts that they might otherwise be ashamed to discuss.
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