Different Approaches to Mental Disorders in Psychology

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Given the amount of different mental disorders, the search to understand what causes them all seems vast. This essay will aim to present the assumptions that different models make about the origins and treatment of psychological disorders. Although there are a number of paradigms in the area of abnormal psychology, the biological, psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive are the four major models which place distinct interpretations. Each of the different approaches is considered to the degree that it is of value in practical terms, to the patient, and to the development of the theory. A significant point that will be made is that even though psychologists do not agree on what causes abnormality and how it can best be treated, they will…show more content…
Some disturbed behaviours may be explained by negligent upbringing, upsetting experiences, too much stress or inaccurate social perceptions. In contrast with the medical model, the psychological theories attribute disturbed behaviour patterns, not to biological malfunction but to psychological processes as a result of the person’s interaction with the environment (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2003).
In the psychodynamic model, mental disorders are the sign of psychological conflicts that originate in our childhood experiences and affect our functioning as adults (Gleitman, 2004). An emotional past is thought to produce unconscious conflicts resulting in their symptoms. Although its precursors can be traced back to Mesmer and the work of Breuer, psychodynamic approaches to abnormal behaviour truly began with Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his free association theory. The psychodynamic approach was the first psychological approach to gain acceptance, and its aim is to produce a change in client’s behaviour. With his free association hypothesis as his most important technique for treatment, Freud allowed clients to drift back in time and slowly bring into consciousness the repressed feelings, enabling them to deal with them in a rational way (Holmes, 1998).
Freud divided the mind into

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