Normality and Pathology
The first factor that a Christian therapist needs to consider is the demarcation between what is considered a sinful action and psychopathology, or normal and abnormal behavior. However, some authors believe abnormal behavior cannot be so concisely defined (Bennett, 2011), because assessment of abnormal behavior is affected by numerous factors, including social and cultural norms and biases. All cultures have their own formal and informal rules for behavior. These rules delineate the laws governing socially acceptable behavior and moral standards, usually within clear boundaries. When a particular social or moral behavior exceeds the norms of a specific culture, that behavior is viewed as abnormal (Butcher, 2007).…show more content… The third factor in defining normal and abnormal behavior is the ambiguity of the breakpoint. There is no clear center point for the division between normal and abnormal. Butcher (2009) argued that there is no universal agreement with regard to when a behavior crosses a line from normal to abnormal, and irrespective of any definition there is always some kind of flaw present. He continued that the more a person demonstrates difficulties in particular areas of his/her life, the greater the likelihood of abnormality.
Nevertheless, the term “mental disorder” is applied to a set of categories and classifications of abnormal human functioning. Millon (1969) grouped perspectives on mental disorders into four different categories. First, there are biophysical theories, which assume that physiological processes are the primary determining factors of psychopathology. Second, there are intrapsychic theories which assume that psychological factors determine abnormal psychological behavior. Third, there is phenomenological theory which talks about the unique experience and perception of each individual, and how that perception is lived out. Lastly, behavioral theories assume that the process of learning through reinforcement shapes pathology in the individual. In the end, the categorization of mental disorder is inadequate because it does not do justice to the complexity of cognitive, emotional, spiritual, behavioral and relational factors that are at work in the development