Defining The Ideas Of Normality And Abnormality Mindset Essay

Normality and abnormality are two factors in which can only be defined with regards to one another. In order to specify each and without assumption, psychological conception of abnormality and its different criteria is employed to propose the definitions of normality and abnormality with key areas that should be taken into consideration when defining what is normal and what's not.

The first is recognized as deviation from the common or statistical infrequency which

represents the literal sense of abnormality and will take into consideration what behaviour is

typical or typical and what behaviour is common or exceptional. A explanation of excessive or

statistically rare would be observed as infrequent behaviour and unacceptable and a definition

of normal would be seen as average behaviour and more acceptable. It can be used in

conjunction with the way the bulk or minority behave to what connection of normality they

are identified.

This Theory however retains certain flaws regarding the statistical criterion and does indeed not

establish behavior that is desired or appropriate or undesired or unacceptable, for

example people such as Picasso and Ted Bundy are both statistically exceptional and corresponding to

the criterion are both unusual, but Picasso's behaviour would be much more Desirable or

acceptable than Ted Bundy's, so In light of the, statistical has an insufficient or

inaccurate way of defining abnormality.

Abnormality as deviation from the norm suggests what behaviour is acceptable in

occurrence with culture and its communal norms. Sociable norms can be described as a place of

unwritten rules that are obtained through family and public fitness throughout our

lives. It could be determined in different ways by every individual dependent upon time, culture,

gender, historical framework or the situation or context where the behaviour is placed.

Social norms with regards to get older or developmental norms determine and are subject to

conditions such as what is perceived as normal among children themselves but more so

amongst people and children, examples of this include that it's acceptable as an infant to be

breast fed but not as accepted as a kid at age 8. Another is a child wearing nappies

in comparability to a increased man putting on nappies whether it is in public or in his own


Cultural differences can range between what's accepted and not accepted in a single cultural

setting to another. For example many cultures follow different religions and may consist

of such values including the slaughter of pets or animals which for some can be a condemned

abnormal act of behavior and in others where intimacy before matrimony is acceptable to others

it can be equally as condemned and irregular.

Situation and context in relation to abnormal behaviour provides example for which type of

behaviour is accepted where so when and the reasons behind it, for example when a person

shoots another during a war or challenge and is representing his / her country, this sometimes appears as

normality, but if a person opens fire without the credited cause in a open public place and causes

death to some other person this type of behaviour is seen as excessive.

Gender is what's acceptable amongst guy and female and in line with cultural norms. For

example a women posing topless in a paper sometimes appears by most as complying within the

social guidelines but way too many if a guy performed the same and open his genitals in the same way

it could be condemned as not constricting for the social norms and may be

perceived abnormal in comparison to the women for exploiting themselves in exactly the

same way. Other Gender Tasks such as job choices or sexual personal preferences can also be

example within the gender types of public norms.

Abnormality as deviation from ideal mental health identifies characteristics and abilities

which people should posses to allow them to be considered normal. In later times

Jahonda (1958) discovered several ways that abnormality and normality can be

defined and in more recent times Rosenhan and Seligman (1989) proposed a list of seven

references that would show up as an abnormality and are contributors towards abnormal


Jahonda Suggested

. The absence of mental health

. The ability to introspect

. The capability for growth, development and self actualisation

. Integration of most persons functions and attributes

. The ability to cope with stress

. Autonomy

. Seeing the globe as it really is

. Environmental mastery

Rosenhan and Seligman suggest

. Suffering: Someone who is battling with anxiety, depression etc

. Maladaptiveness: To go after and fulfil accomplishments within their own lives, to conform adapt and adapt within interpersonal norms environmentally and socially.

. Vividness and unconventionally: A means a person behaves compared to how you would expect normal people to behave in a similar situation

. Unpredictability and lack of control: An unacceptable show of behaviour for a specific situation that may well not be expressed just as as a normal person

. Irrationally and incomprehensibility: No Apparent or valid Signs when a person displays Excessive behaviour

. Observer discomfort:

. Violation of moral and ideal criteria: Behaviour that is exhibited in spite of violating any moral or ideal expectations.

Whilst many of these referrals may be contributing factors to a people state of mental

health, it is unfair to suggest that a person who is explained and or showing symptoms of any of

the above as being abnormal, without tying in any communal or society backgrounds. An ideal

state of mental health is essentially a value judgement which demonstrates an ideal status of

being human.

Sally is aged 37 and very successful. She has a job in the city, a high of the number car and a

penthouse suite, which she keeps in immaculate condition. Sally is not married and has no

children. Recently Sally has began to avoid sociable situations proclaiming she will not feel

'quite right'. Whenever she does day friends, she insists that she will only drink

out of her 'own' cup.

In getting a Diagnoses and making reference to the DSM 1V Sally's excessive behaviour

is indicated from the avoidance and stress related sense about being in social

environments. These types of concerns classifies her in the clinical symptoms group of

Anxiety Disorders such as obsessive -compulsive disorder or interpersonal phobias. She may be

potentially battling with compulsive, troubling or intrusive thoughts which have

caused her stress and has manifested itself in a compulsion work that she can only drink

from her own goblet. This compulsion is conducted so that her stress may be reduced or


From this Sally reaches risk of adopting maladaptive characteristics and her connections with the

outside world could be become limited. Whist Sally does not show indicators of any medical

conditions in relation to her mental disorder, there are a variety of psychosocial and

environmental stressors which might contribute to her disorder, such as high work demands

and stress. However these do not constitute fully to a prognosis that she is suffering from a

full starting point of OCD as she can be seen as working well with mild symptoms.

Using a worldwide assessment of operating, Sally is at present showing average symptoms

of OCD as she shows modest difficulties in interpersonal circles and there is no indication that

her career has become affected.

Explanations regarding sally's prognosis can also help be identified from four

psychological models of abnormality

Biological Model- also called medical or medical looks at factors such as genetic,

infection such as micro microorganisms, biochemistry and neuroanatomy. Sally's high

demanding job can provide her stress which can cause an unnatural in-balance. There could

be too much cortisol in her system which causes her emotions of stress and anxiety and jittery or

shaky hands etc. Public Phobia symptoms have been produced from her underlying

anxiety which includes business lead to OCD and possible hereditary predisposition to stress and anxiety or stress.

Inconsistency with results regarding basal ganglia e. g. Aylward (1996) found no

difference between OCD and non-OCD victims. If one has suffered a brain or head

injury or have been identified as having a brain tumor before the OCD symptoms, there

has been sufficient proof that has been from the development of OCD.

Some examples such as major health related conditions have been associated with OCD

and therefore the biological model can be a useful guide as to the reasons a person has developed

OCD symptoms and can be cured accordingly. It offers found to be difficult to identify that

OCD is however connected genetically.

The Biological approach to the treatment of OCD is always to use drug remedy such as

anxiety pills that help increase the levels of neurotransmitter serotonin. Common drugs

such as clomipramine and fluoxetine both work effectively by increasing the levels of

serotonin and assisting the orbital frontal cortex to use at more normal activity levels.

The Cognitive model which indicate sally's prognosis through her thought process

would claim that sally's perception is distorted credited to her age group, job prospects and

focusing on the incorrect things. Irrational thoughts have manifested via obsession with

germs and being immaculate. Her public Phobias may be scheduled to her network of peers

which may make her feel inferior thus creating more stress and being channelled through


A Cognitive Model shows lack of evidence encouraging the view that OCD's are a result of

poor socialization. Sher et al (1983) Patients who obtained highly on the measure of

compulsive behavior also confirmed a storage area deficit for activities just lately performed.

Davison & Neale (1994) Suggest that OCD patients are unable to distinguish between

reality and imagination.

Cognitive therapy is utilized by means of helping a person suppress that irrational thoughts

and distorted perceptions. The therapy can be utilized either to eliminate any obsessive thought

from the individual or help out with helping the person to process their thoughts in another and

more constructive way by way of a different kind of relationship. Through disengaging there

thought processes they'll then reduce their behavior through compulsion. An

additional technique known as habituation training(Franklin etal 2000) in which a person is

asked to take into account their obsessive thoughts as much as possible in order for them to

grasp the idea that if they deliberately think about their obsessions and can become less


Cognitive therapy is useful in helping people to become more aware of their obsessive

thought to be able to manage their compulsions effectively. Cognitive therapy can become

more successful if it's linked together with either behavioural therapy or biological


The behavioural Model where abnormality is seen therefore of learning from the

environment shows that sally has possibly been conditioned from her parents to be neat

and tidy and shoot for high achievement, it has been reinforced and has manifested as

an obsession with high requirements to the stage where no person can clean a cup like sally can.

Her behaviour is affected via becoming reclusive or cultural agoraphobia. These keeping up

of appearances may have induced her stress.

The behavioural method only focuses on a folks Compulsion and does not establish

where and when the obsessive thoughts took place, this can be an inaccurate method as

some people have obsessive thoughts no compulsive behavior.

There are behavioural treatments and remedies that will help to lessen sally's' stress and anxiety, a

most successful technique called coverage and response reduction. It could be used either

by flooding subjection where the anxiousness induced will be high or by systematic

desensitisation where exposure is kept gradual in order to keep the levels of panic low.

Patients will be exposed deliberately to objects or situations that will increase anxiety but

then must learn to withstand a compulsive act with methods or ways that are aided by the

therapist. ERP can be carried out either one to 1 or in group session and patients must try to

use these methods whilst away from remedy and practice for themselves whit in real life


Behavioral therapies are incredibly effective, Baxter et al (1992) and Schwartz et al (1996) both

found that behavioral treatments not only reduces the symptoms but also brings about

changes in biochemical activity.

The Psychodynamic Model which results from the unconscious conflict within the psyche

and identifies the three areas of personality to determine how you behave. Sally may be

feeling shameful or guilty and for that reason her superego is in control causing anxiety were at

the same time her ID is recommending that everything in her life must be immaculate. The

conflicts of the Identification and superego business lead to nervousness whilst the ego shields itself against

anxiety using defence mechanisms such as repression (Sigmund Freud)

The Psychodynamic way linked to OCD is difficult to specify as a successful model as

it make almost all of its references towards what is going on in unconscious head and

therefore relatively relates to a means of reducing anxiousness and compulsions. It is also

difficult to experimentally test the thought of the unconscious motivation

Psychodynamic treatment of OCD is used to uncover the unconscious issues that have

occurred through the anal and phallic psychosexual stages of development (Freud). Dream

Analysis is a technique used that will assist establish the root causes of the symptoms and

once conflicts have grown to be unconscious that can then be analysed for the OCD to

disappear. Adler (1930) disagrees with Freud and thinks OCD results from when

children are maintained from developing a sense of competence particularly if parents are too


In psychological conditions there are no real explanations of defining what's normal and what is

not this is due to every individuals uniqueness and exactly how differently population perceives what

is simple fact and what's not. However there are a few highly accessible and constructive

methods of building a person status of mental health with many appropriate approaches

to succession of rehabilitation.


Pennington, D & Mcloughlin, J. (2008) AQA(B) Psychology for AS. Londaon: Hodder education.

Eysenck, M. (2002) Simply Psychology. East Sussex: Mindset Press.

Gross, R. (2005) Mindset The Knowledge of head and behaviour Fifth Model. London: Hodder Arnold.

http://www. psychology. org/[Accessed 28th March 2010]

http://www. northern. ac. uk/learning/NCMaterial/Psychology/lifespan%20folder/AbnPsyc. htm[Accessed 27th March 2010]

http://books. yahoo. co. uk/literature?id=W_VtUdFY94wC&dq=mindset+abnormality&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=RKyNS_3yNpj00gS08_nJCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=12&ved=0CDMQ6AEwCw#v=onepage&q=psychology%20abnormality&f=false[Accessed 25th march 2010]

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