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Psychological Approaches

Psychological theories of abnormality focus on the individual's psychological processes, including thought patterns, belief systems, and experiences in early life. The main theories that make up psychological approaches to abnormality include psychodynamic theories, behavioural theories, cognitive theories, and humanistic and existential theories.

Psychodynamic theories focus primarily on the idea the unconscious processes are the driving force behind all behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and that abnormality in any of these areas is the cause of these unconscious processes. Sigmund Freud can be considered the founding father of psychodynamic theories with his psychoanalysis concept.


Theories related to behaviourism describe behaviour as being the result of learning after reinforcements and punishments. Some methods of this learning develop through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, modelling, and observational learning, with theorists such as Ivan Pavlov and E. L. Thorndike the main proponents involved.

Cognitive theories of abnormality consist of how individuals interpret and give meaning to their experiences. These mainly consist of causal attributions, control beliefs, and dysfunctional assumptions. For instance, if an individual sees something bad happening to them as a result of them being a horrible person (causal attribution), then they may be more prone to depression.

Lastly, humanistic and existential theories involve the individual within society. The ways in which society constrains and burdens people with stress is seen as the driving force behind mental illness due to the fact that it's hypothesized that people will be overwhelmed with their inability to fulfill their desires.

Categories within Psychological Approaches

Psychodynamic Theories of Abnormality

Postings: 36

Psychodynamic theories focus primarily on the idea the unconscious processes are the driving force behind all behaviour, thoughts, and emotions.

Organizational Developmental Psychology

Business organizations have evolved in response to changes in the economy, from Industrial era manufacturing to Internet-era service and marketing. Those who want to study and guide organizations have also evolved. One result is the emergence of Organizational Psychology and Development, a discipline that draws from Industrial/O

Case Study: Crystal Witt

Client Crystal Witt is a security guard working part time. She go to school part time. She has no social life her friends are always busy when she is not. She has 2 boys and 2 step daughters and 1 grandson. It seems as if her step daughters are her children as well. Her kids are ages 25 and 28. They both still stay with her and

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Margarita's Case

I need help in applying one of these theories cognitive, CBT, and REBT—feminist, multicultural, family systems, or a postmodern approach) to describe, analyze, and then apply the theory to the case study of Margarita (attached). Topics that need help with include: Theoretical Analysis 1.Brief description of the theory's o

Crisis Intervention Case Disussion

Using legal mandates and ethical guidelines—what action to take that both preserves the therapeutic relationship while optimizing the safety and security of a client, and perhaps others. One challenge that you might encounter as you intervene in the case study, " Crisis Intervention," that would be difficult for you to addr

Scientific Thinking

Critical thinking involves a set of skills that will help you distinguish arguments based on solidly grounded evidence from those that do not. Here are eight guidelines that should be followed to ensure critical and scientific thinking in psychology. 1) Ask Questions; Be willing to Wonder 2) Define your terms 3) Examin

Psychological Disorders and Nonconformity

Need some evidence/documentation to back up my statement. It seems to me that Individuals who have psychological disorders seem to be more dangerous if placed in a situation of nonconformity. Thoughts or opinions or examples welcome.

Aspect of Psychology

I need help answering the following questions on the three perspectives of psychology: Cognitive psychology, behaviorism, and pyschodynamic psychology. 1. A short description of each perspective. 2. An example representing each perspective. 3. A comparison of the three perspectives - outline their similarities and differences

Mental Health Issues in Our Daily Lives

What are your thoughts on the content of this discussion below as it relates to how mental health issues affect us directly or indirectly in our lives. Do you agree or disagree? Why A person's mental health is very important to not ignore. If there was a person showing signs of violence and/or giving threats then someone who

Character Analysis of Frodo Baggins

Using the fictional character Frodo Baggins (from the movie Lord of the Rings), describe his character/personality using Carl Roger's Humanistic Theory, and again using B.F. Skinner's Behaviorist Theory.

Counseling Psychology - which therapy is better and why?

Counselling psychology is predicated in large part on a belief in the possibilities for change through learning. And so learning theory and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which is founded on learning, are much emphasized. Which theoretical perspective(s) do you particularly gravitate toward & why?