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psychological disorder

a psychological dysfunction associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typically or culturally expected.

All three basic criteria must be met

no one criterion has yet been identified that defines the essence of abnormality.


psychological disorder characterized by marked and persistent fear of an object or situation

Psychological dysfunction

Breakdown in cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning

abnormal according to DSM

dysfunctions that are unexpected in their cultural context and associated with present distress or impairment in functioning or with increased risk of suffering, death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom


typical profile of a disorder when most or all symptoms that experts would agree are part of the disorder are present

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

Current Version of the official classification system for psychological disorders, published by the APA


scientific study of psychological disorders

Counseling psychologists

Person who has earned a Ph. D or related degree in psychology and is trained to study and treat adjustment and vocational issues in relatively healthy people

Clinical psychologists

Person who has earned a Ph.D or related degree (i.e. Psy.D) in psychology and is trained to conduct research into the causes and treatment of severe psychological disorders, as well as to diagnose, assess, and treat them


focus on clinical training and de-emphasize or eliminate research training

Experimental and social psychologists

concentrate on investigating the basic determinants of behavior but do not assess or treat psychological disorders


earn an M.D. and investigate the nature and causes of psychological disorders, often from a biological point of view; make diagnoses; and offer treatments. Emphasize drugs or other biological treatments, although most use psychosocial treatments as well

Psychiatric social workers

trained to work with agencies to help psychologically disordered clients and their families. expertise in collecting info relevant to the social and family situation of client. Also treat disorders, often concentrating on family problems associated with them

Psychiatric nurses

specialize in care and treatment of psychiatric patients, usually in hospital setting. Has masters or Ph.D.


provide clinical services by hospitals or clinics, usually under the supervision of a doctoral-level clinician


expected to apply scientific methods to his or her work. Must know the latest research on diagnosis and treatment (consumers of psychopathology), must evaluate his or her methods for effectiveness and may generate research to discover info about disorders and their treatment

Presenting problem

Original complaint reported by client to therapist. Actual treated problem may be a modification derived from this.

Clinical description

details of the combination of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of an individual that make up particular disorder


refers to both types of problems or disorders found in a clinic or hospital and to the activities connected with assessment and treatment

Function of clinical description

specify what makes the disorder different from normal behavior or from other disorders


# of people displaying a disorder in total population at any given time


# of new cases of a disorder appearing during a specific period

Sex ratio

percentage of men and women with disorder


pattern of development and change of a disorder over time

Chronic course

tends to last a long time, sometimes a lifetime. i.e. schizophrenia

episodic course

alternating between recovery and recurrence. recovery within a few months only to suffer later. i.e. mood disorders

time-limited course

condition in which a disorder improves on its own in a relatively brief period

acute onset

sudden beginning of a disease or disorder (contrast with insidious onset)

insidious onset

development of a disorder that occurs gradually over an extended period (contrast with acute onset)


anticipated course of disorder or predicted development over time

developmental psychology

study of changes in behavior that occur over time

developmental psychopathology

study of changes in abnormal behavior that occur over time

life-span developmental psychopathology

study of psychological disorders over the entire age range


cause or source of the disorder

Miguel recently began feeling sad and lonely. Although still able to function at work and fulfill other responsibilities, he finds himself feeling down much of the time and he worries about what is happening to him. Which criterion or criteria of psychological disorder apply to Miguel's situation? _____

(a) societal norm violation
(b) distress or impairment in functioning
(c) psychological dysfunction.

(b) distress or impairment in functioning

Three weeks ago, Jane, a 35-year-old business executive, stopped showering, refused to leave her apartment, and started watching television talk shows. Threats of being fired have failed to bring Jane back to reality, and she continues to spend her days staring blankly at the television screen. Which criterion or criteria seem to describe Jane's behavior? _____

(a) societal norm violation
(b) distress or impairment in functioning
(c) psychological dysfunction.

(b) distress or impairment in functioning, and (c) psychological dysfunction.

Maria should recover quickly with no intervention necessary. Without treatment, John will deteriorate rapidly. _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology.

(d) prognosis

During the past month, three new cases of bulimia have been reported in this county and only one has been reported in the next county. _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology.

(c) incidence

Elizabeth visited the campus mental health center because of her increasing feelings of guilt and anxiety. _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology.

a) presenting problem

Biological, psychological, and social influences all contribute to various disorders. _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology.

(f) etiology

The pattern a disorder follows can be chronic, time limited, or episodic. _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology.

(e) course

How many people in the population suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder? _____

(a) presenting problem
(b) prevalence
(c) incidence
(d) prognosis
(e) course
(f) etiology

(b) prevalence

supernatural model

agents outside our bodies and environment influence our behavior, thinking, and emotions. explanation of human behavior and its dysfunction that posits important roles for spirits, demons, grace, sin, and so on

the mind

often been called the soul or the psyche and considered separate from the body

biological model

Explanation of psychological dysfunction that primarily emphasizes brain disorder or illness as the cause.

disorders are attributed to disease or biochemical imbalances

treatments typically emphasize physical care and the search for medical cures, especially drugs

psychological model

Explanation of human behavior and its dysfunction that emphasizes the influence of the social environment and early experience.

abnormal behavior is attributed to faulty psychological development and to social context.


Religious ritual that attributes disordered behavior to possession by demons and seeks to treat the individual by driving the demons from the body.

sin of acedia or sloth

identified by the church. symptoms such as despair and lethargy

mass hysteria

Phenomenon in which people in groups share the same fear, delusion, abnormal behavior, or even physical symptoms as a result of psychological processes and suggestion. Also known as Saint Vitus's dance and tarantism.

emotion contagion

Situation in which an emotional reaction spreads from one individual to others nearby. Demonstrated by mass hysteria


a Swiss physician who lived from 1493 to 1541, rejected notions of possession by the devil, suggesting instead that the movements of the moon and the stars had profound effects on people's psychological functioning. This influential theory inspired the word lunatic,


Greek physician (460-377 B.C.)

is considered the father of modern Western medicine.

wrote Hippocratic Corpus, suggested that psychological disorders could be treated like any other disease. They did not limit their search for the causes of psychopathology to the general area of "disease" because they believed that psychological disorders might also be caused by brain pathology or head trauma and could be influenced by heredity (genetics).

considered the brain to be the seat of wisdom, consciousness, intelligence, and emotion. Therefore, disorders involving these functions would logically be located in the brain. recognized the importance of psychological and interpersonal contributions to psychopathology, such as the sometimes-negative effects of family stress; on some occasions, he removed patients from their families.


Roman physician

(approximately A.D. 129-198)

adopted the ideas of Hippocrates and his associates and developed them further

humoral theory

Ancient belief formed by Hippocrates that psychological disorders were caused by imbalances in bodily humors or fluids.

first example of associating psychological disorders with chemical imbalance, an approach that is widespread today.

related to the Greeks' conception of the four basic qualities: heat, dryness, moisture, and cold

Terms derived from the four humors are still sometimes applied to personality traits


Bodily fluid (blood, black and yellow bile, or phlegm) that early theorists believed controlled normal and abnormal functioning.



black bile

spleen. too much causes depression aka melancholia



yellow bile or choler



(red, like blood) describes someone who is ruddy in complexion, presumably from copious blood flowing through the body, and cheerful and optimistic




apathy and sluggishness but can also mean being calm under stress


hot tempered

bleeding or bloodletting

carefully measured amount of blood was removed from the body, often with leeches

developed for King Charles VI

induce vomiting

helps cure depression


coined by Hippocrates (from the Greek word for uterus: hysteron)

learned from the Egyptians, who had identified what we now call the somatoform disorders.

wandering womb

Hippocrates attributed hysteria to this

delusion of persecution

people's unfounded belief that others seek to harm them

delusion of grandeur

you are God


group of severe psychological disorders including schizophrenia, featuring delusions and hallucinations


psychological disorders partly characterized by beliefs that are not based in reality


perceptions that are not based in reality

general paresis

disease where patient deteriorated steadily, became paralyzed, and died within 5 years of onset.


consistent symptoms (presentation) and a consistent course that resulted in death

John P Grey

champion of biological.

position was that insanity caused by physical.

emphasis on rest, diet, and room temperature/ventilation.

invented rotary fan

conditions in hospitals improved

reduced or eliminated interest in treating mental patients because thought that mental disorders were the result of some as-yet-undiscovered brain pathology and were therefore incurable

insulin shock therapy

dangerous biological treatment in 1920's involving administration of large doses of insulin to induce seizures.


major antipsychotic tranquilizer meds, a dopamine antagonist, that diminish delusions, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior in psychotic patients but may cause serious side effects , i.e. tremors and shaking


minor tranquilizers used to reduce anxiety. i.e. Valium, Librium


sedating drugs used at end of 19th century and beginning of 20th to treat anxiety and other disorders. By 1928, 1 of every 5 prescriptions was for this drug

Emil Kraepelin

dominant figure during late 19th century

influential in advocating biological but little involvement in treating

biggest contribution in diagnosis and classification and description of schizophrenia

Supernatural causes were involved; evil demons took over the victims' bodies and controlled their behaviors. _____

(a) bloodletting and induced vomiting
(b) placing a patient in socially facilitative environments
(c) exorcism

(c) exorcism

The humoral theory reflected the belief that normal functioning of the brain required a balance of four bodily fluids or humors. _____

(a) bloodletting and induced vomiting
(b) placing a patient in socially facilitative environments
(c) exorcism

(a) bloodletting and induced vomiting

Maladaptive behavior was caused by poor social and cultural influences within the environment. _____

a) bloodletting and induced vomiting
(b) placing a patient in socially facilitative environments
(c) exorcism

(b) placing a patient in socially facilitative environments

psychosocial approaches

Treatment practice that focuses on social and cultural factors (such as family experience), as well as psychological influences. Psychosocial approaches include cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal methods.

Emphasized by Plato and Aristotle

moral therapy

psychosocial approach in the 19th century that involved treating patients as normally as possible in normal environments.

worked best when # of patients less than 200

system originated with Pinel. dates back to Plato and the Greek Asclepiad Temple of the 6th century


safe refuge; specifically, an institution to house mentally disordered people

mental hygiene movement

mid-19th-century effort led by Dorothea Dix to improve care of the mentally disordered by informing the public of their mistreatment


assessment and therapy pioneered by Sigmund Freud that emphasizes exploration of, and insight into, unconscious processes and conflicts


humanistic psychology

highlights the inherent ability of humans to grow and reach their full potential if only given the opportunity

outgrowth of Freudian

Maslow, Rogers, Adler


explanation of human behavior, including dysfunction, based on principles of learning and adaptation derived from experimental psychology

Watson, Skinner, Pavlov


developed cause of mesmerized; caused by undetectable fluid in all living organisms called animal magnetism


Freud studied under him

unconscious mind

discovered by Breuer and Freud

part of the psychic makeup that is outside the awareness of the person


discovered by Breuer and Freud

rapid or sudden release of emotional tension thought to be an important factor in psychoanalytic therapy


in psychoanalysis, recognition of the causes of emotional distress.

relationship between current emotions and earlier events

Psychoanalytic model

Complex and comprehensive theory originally advanced by Sigmund Freud that seeks to account for the development and structure of personality, as well as the origin of abnormal behavior, based primarily on inferred inner entities and forces.


the unconscious psychic entity present at birth representing basic drives.

sexual, aggressive, animal


the energy within the id that drives people toward life and fulfillment


Freudian concept of a human drive toward death and destruction.

pleasure principle

Tendency to seek pleasure and minimize discomfort.

the id operates according to this

primary process

In psychodynamic theory, the id's characteristic mode of thinking, which is emotional, irrational, and preoccupied with sex, aggression, and envy.


responsible for finding realistic and practical ways to satisfy id drives.

mediate conflict

executive or manager of our minds

reality principle

the logical reasoning style of the ego that ensures actions are practical

secondary process

cognitive operations or thinking styles of the ego


the internalized moral standards of parents and society.


intrapsychic conflicts

struggle among the id, ego, and superego

defense mechanism

Common pattern of behavior, often an adaptive coping style when it occurs in moderation, observed in response to a particular situation.

unconscious processes originating in the ego.

result of anxiety caused by id & superego conflicts


Defense mechanism in which a person directs a problem impulse toward a safe substitute.


defense mechanism in which the person redirects energy from conflict and anxiety into more constructive outlets, such as work.

Reaction formation

Substitutes behavior, thoughts, or feelings that are the direct opposite of unacceptable ones


Falsely attributes own unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts to another individual or object


Conceals the true motivations for actions, thoughts, or feelings through elaborate reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations


a process that forces unwanted material from the conscious to the unconscious.

psychosexual stages of development

sequence of phases a person passes through during development. Each stage is named for the location on the body where id gratification is maximal at that time.

oral stage

typically extending for approximately 2 years from birth, is characterized by a central focus on the need for food. mouth become the focus of libidinal drives and, therefore, the principal source of pleasure.


suggesting that clients stop at or concentrate on a psychosexual stage because of a lack of appropriate gratification at that stage.

phallic stage

(from age 3 to age 5 or 6), which is characterized by early genital self-stimulation

subject of Oedipus rex

castration anxiety

the fear in young boys that they will be mutilated genitally because of their lust for their mothers.

Oedipus complex

the intrapsychic struggle within a young boy between his lust for his mother and his fear of castration because of it. The resolution of this complex results in development of the superego.

Electra Complex

a young girl's intrapsychic desire to replace her mother, possess her father, and acquire a penis. The resolution of this complex results in development of the superego.

neuroses (neurotic disorders)

all nonpsychotic psychological disorders resulted from underlying unconscious conflicts, the anxiety that resulted from those conflicts, and the implementation of ego defense mechanisms

Ego psychology

emphasizes the role of the ego in development and attributes psychological disorders to failure of the ego to manage impulses and internal conflicts. Also known as self-psychology.

Anna Freud

object relations

the study of how children incorporate the memories and values of people who are close and important to them.

Melanie Klein, Otto Kernberg


the process of incorporating memories and values of individuals who are important and close to the person.

collective unconscious

Accumulated wisdom of a culture collected and remembered across generations, a psychodynamic concept introduced by Carl Jung.

inferiority complex

feeling of being inferior to others while striving for superiority. concept created by Adler

free association

Psychoanalytic therapy technique intended to explore threatening material repressed into the unconscious. The patient is instructed to say whatever comes to mind without censoring. Developed by Freud

dream analysis

Psychoanalytic therapy method in which dream content is examined as symbolic of id impulses and intra-psychic conflicts.



Therapist who practices psychoanalysis after earning either an M.D. or a Ph.D. degree and receiving additional specialized postdoctoral training.


patient starts relating to therapist as they did to important figures in their childhood, i.e. Parents

symptom substitution

psychodynamic assertion that if overt problem behavior (the symptom) is treated without eliminating the underlying conflict thought to be causing it, that conflict can reemerge in the form of new, perhaps worse, symptoms.

psychodynamic psychotherapy

Contemporary version of psychoanalysis that still emphasizes unconscious processes and conflicts but is briefer and more focused on specific problems

deemphasize the goal of personality reconstruction, focusing instead on relieving the suffering associated with psychological disorders.


Obsolete psychodynamic term for a psychological disorder thought to result from an unconscious conflict and the anxiety it causes. Plural is neuroses.

no longer in DSM


Process emphasized in humanistic psychology in which people strive to achieve their highest potential against difficult life experiences.

hierarchy of needs

Ranking of human necessities from basic food to self-actualization, proposed by Abraham Maslow.

beginning with food and sex and ranging upward to self-actualization, love, and self-esteem. Social such as friendship fall somewhere between. Maslow hypothesized that we cannot progress until we have satisfied at lower levels

person-centered therapy aka client-centered therapy

Carl Roger originated Therapy method in which the client, rather than the counselor, primarily directs the course of discussion, seeking self-discovery and self-responsibility.

point is to give the individual a chance to develop during the course of therapy, unfettered by threats to the self.

hoped-for result is that clients become more straightforward and honest with themselves and access their innate tendencies toward growth.

Unconditional positive regard

Acceptance by the counselor of the client's feelings and actions without judgment or condemnation.

critical to the humanistic approach


Condition of sharing and understanding the emotions of another person.

Behavioral model (also known as the cognitive-behavioral or social learning model)

Explanation of human behavior, including dysfunction, based on principles of learning and adaptation derived from experimental psychology.

classical conditioning

Fundamental learning process first described by Ivan Pavlov. An event that automatically elicits a response is paired with another stimulus event that does not (a neutral stimulus). After repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus that by itself can elicit the desired response.


Process by which behaviors can be learned or modified through interaction with the environment.

stimulus generalization

patients often experience severe nausea and, occasionally, vomiting when they merely see the medical personnel who administered the chemotherapy or any equipment associated with the treatment ). For some patients, this reaction becomes associated with a variety of stimuli that evoke people or things present during chemotherapy—anybody in a nurse's uniform or even the sight of the hospital. The strength of the response to similar objects or people is usually a function of how similar these objects or people are.

unconditioned stimulus

Environmental event that would elicit a response in almost anyone and requires no learning. In classical conditioning, it is paired with a neutral stimulus

unconditioned response

In classical conditioning, the natural or un-learned reaction to the unconditioned stimulus.

conditioned stimulus

Environmental event that acquires the ability to elicit a learned response as a result of classical conditioning associated with an unconditioned stimulus.

conditioned response

Learned reaction, similar to the unconditioned response, elicited by a conditioned stimulus following classical conditioning.


Learning process in which a response maintained by reinforcement in operant conditioning or pairing in classical conditioning decreases when that reinforcement or pairing is removed; also the procedure of removing that reinforcement or pairing.


Early, nonscientific approach to the study of psychology involving systematic attempts to report thoughts and feelings that specific stimuli evoked.

emphasized by Edward Titchener

John B Watson

founder of behaviorism.

decided that psychology no more needs introspection or other nonquantifiable methods

Albert rat experiment

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