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Define abnormality 1

Deviation from social norms. This is when abnormal behaviour is seen as a deviation from implicit and explicit rules about how one ought to behave. Implicit rules are conventions, e.g. sitting quietly during performance, and explicit are laws, such as driving on the correct side of the road. Anything that violates these rules is considered abnormal.


Define abnormality 2

Statistical infrequency is when a persons trait or behaviour is classified as abnormal if it rare or statistically unusual. For e.g if a person has an IQ of below 70, they are classed as abnormal and suffering from a mental disorder.


Define abnormality 3

Deviation from ideal mental health thought of by Jahoda- looks At the absence of 6 categories of healthy behaviours: SPPEAR. Self actualisation of ones potential, Positive attitudes towards the self, Personal autonomy, Environmental mastery, Accurate perception of reality, Resistance to stress. Someone would be defined abnormal if they do not achieve all the categories.


Personal autonomy

Ability to make decisions based on own needs rather than to satisfy others


Env. Mastery

To be able to love, have relationships, socialise whole also being adaptable


Accurate perception of reality

Includes body image, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions


Define abnormality 4

Failure to function adequately refers to abnormality that prevent the person from carrying out the range of behaviours that society would expect from them e.g. going to work
Rosenhan + Seligman (1989) suggest 7 features typical of FFA and personal dysfunction. The more they have the more they r classified as abnormal.


7 features of personal dysfunction

1. Personal distress- anxiety
2. Maladaptive behaviour- can’t achieve life goals
3. Unpredictability - loss of control
4. Irrationality - can’t be logically explained
5. Observer discomfort
6. Violation of moral standards = explicit
7. Unconventionality - deviate from social norms= implicit



An overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation or feeling or animal. A group of mental disorders characterised by high levels of anxiety which interferes with normal living. It is an exaggerated and unrealistic of fear of danger.


Behavioural characteristics of phobia

Avoidance : reinforces the fear, causing your phobia to be maintained.
freeze: when the stimulus is presented in front of the person, they might not be able to move or stop moving. this action is evolutionary.
changing social activities: phobia interferes with normal living, e.g. not being able to go to work because of agoraphobia.


Cognitive characteristics of phobias

Irrational beliefs: the fear has no logical reason behind it.
Recognition of irrationality: individual knows that their fear is excessive and unreasonable
Resistance to rational argument: although they recognise their fear is excessive, they won’t acknowledge or take action to re think their fear over.


Emotional characteristics of phobia

Fear : this is exaggerated and is out of proportion to the stimulus
Panic : uncontrollable feeling of great fear and anxiety.
Anxiety : feeling of great distress, nervousness and unease.


Behavioural characteristics of depression.

Change in sleep patterns: could be sleeping excessively more hypersomnia, or excessively less: insomnia
Weight changes : caused by eating too much or eating too less.
Loss of energy: energy levels are lower than usual or average- lethargy


Cognitive chatactertics to depression

Guilt: feeling that everything is your fault and taking the blame for everything.
Thoughts of death: suicidal thoughts, don’t want to be alive
Reduced concentration : diminished ability to focus on tasks which others can do fine


Emotional characteristics of depression

Depressed mood : excessive sadness
Feelings of worthlessness: you feel you have no purpose to anyone or to your self so you feel unimportant and useless.
Feelings of hopelessness: state of despair, lacking motivation to do anything as you have no desire to do it


Behavioural approach to explaining phobias

Beliefs all behaviours are a result of nurture. More specifically as a result of classical and operant conditioning.
Classical : learning through associations between stimuli
Operant : learning through punishment


The 2 process model stage 1

Mowrer 1947
Acquisition through classical condition : associate something we initially do not fear (NS) with something that already triggers a fear response (UCS).
E,g, little Albert case study Watson and roger
UCS Loud Noise
UCR Fear
NS Rat
CS Rat
CR Fear


The 2 process model stage 2

Maintenance through operant conditioning: through negative reinforcement. When someone is confronted with their fear they usually avoid the object. Then this anxiety is reduced. But by avoiding the object the avoidance behaviour is negativelyreinforced and so the phobia is maintained.
E.g. throwing up at a party and being humiliated. Associate humiliation with parties. Confronted with future parties, they avoid. This means phobias is maintained.


Limitation of behaviourist explanation of phobias

Reductionist as it ignores other explanations, as not everyone with a fear has had bad experiences which caused it. Alternative explanation : evolutionary theory
Ethical issues with research : purposefully causing them stress like little Albert. But this has allowed development of treatment for phobias.


Strength of behaviourist explanation

Logical and simple explanation. The theory of Occan’s razor states the simplest explanation is often the right one.
Real life Case study by Bagby (1922) : 7 yr old trapped foot between rocks and was in pain and scared. Heard waterfall nearby and was classically conditioned to associate running water with being painfully trapped, which evoked an extreme fear response. She couldn’t take a bath or look out of the window if their was a stream.


Behavioural approach to treating phobias 1

Systematic desensitisation: a form of behavioural therapy used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders. A client is gradually exposed to or imagines the threat under relaxed conditions until anxiety is extinguished.


Behaviorual papprach to treating phobias 2

Flooding : a form of behavioural therapy used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders. A client is exposed straight away to or imagines the threat under relaxed conditions until anxiety is extinguished.



By Wolpe
1. Relaxation techniques taught by patient e.g. mindfulness or visualisation
2. Desensitisation hierarchy. Gradually introducing person to feared situation one step at a time. At each stage patient practises relaxation so anxiety diminishes. In vivo or in vitro.
3. Counter-conditioning. Patient taught new association that run counter to original association. Taught to associate new response with phobic stimulus, patient being desensitised to phobic stimulus. Reciprocal inhibition- relaxation inhibits anxiety.


Flooding process

Occurs in 1 long session. Patient experiences phobia at its worst whilst at the same time practising relaxation. Session continues until they’re fully relaxed because persons fear response has a time limit so it can only be sustained for a max period of time. In vivo or in vitro. 2-3 hrs. As adrenaline naturally decreases, a new stimulus response can be learned between feared stimulus and relaxation


Strength of SD

McGrath et al (1990)
75% of pettiness with phobias respond to SD. Suggests can be used to help majority of people with phobias. Positive impact.


Limitation of SD

Flooding may be more effective. Choy et al said both methods were effective but flooding is better cuz its effective and quick. So not the best approach. However another review concluded they they were treating phobias


Flooding limitation

It’s traumataic so not suitable for children who don’t understand what the treatment consists of. So it’s unethical.


SD limitation 2

Relaxtation may be unnecessary
The expectation of being able to cope with the phobia may be why these treatments are successful. Klein et al 1983 compared SD with supportive psychotherapy, they found no difference in effectiveness. So active ingredient may simply be the expectation that they phobia can be overcome.


SD and flooding overall limitation

Alternative therapies more appropriate where cause remains unconscious. E.g. According to psychodynamic approach, phobias develop cuz of projection like Little Hans’s phobia of horses which was actually a projection of his envy of his father. So behavioural approach may not always be suitable.


Cognitive approach to explaining depression

Emphasis on how thinking shapes our behaviour.
Depression involved negative patterns of thinking and other cognitive processes like schemas. According to Ellis, vast majority want to be happy but our goal of being happy is thwarted by sling and arrows of outrageous fortune. Ellis proposed that the cause of depression lay in irrational beliefs, shown by the ABC model which states that an outcome is dependent on ones belief as opposed to the event.


Examples of cognitive bias that may be used by people with depression = minimisation and maximisation

Minimisation - bias towards minimising success in life
Maximisation - bias towards maximising importance of even trivial failures


Cognitive bias = selective obstruction

A bias towards focusing on negative aspects of life and ignoring wider picture


Cognitive bias =All or nothing thinking

A tendency to see life in terms of black and white


Beck’s cognitive theory of depression

Negative view of the self , - view of future, - view of the world


Strength of cognitive approach to explaining depression- treatment

Led to development of cognitive behavioural therapy. Components of Beck’s negative tried can be easily identified and challenged in CBT.


Limitation of cog. Approach to explaining depression. Depressive realism.

Irrational beliefs may be realistic. Alloy and Abrahmson suggest depressive realists tend to see things for what they r, with normal people tending to have overly positive view of the world. Found that depressed people gave more accurate estimates of likelihood of a disaster. Therefore these qualities may be desirable


Limitation of cog. Approach to explaining depression. There r alternative explanations.

It’s reductionist. Biological approach states depression is caused by low levels of serotonin. Cognitive approach dismisses all biological influences as it states depression caused by illogical and negative thoughts


Limitation of cog. Approach to explaining depression. Ellis mode, is only partial explanation

Some cases of depression following activating events . However there is also another type that arises without an obvious cause. So Ellis only applies to some kinds of depression


Limitation of cog. Approach to explaining depression. Places blame on patient

So fill deterministic approach. This can lead to unhelpful approach cuz its not always possible for patient to take control of their situation. But this has led to development of effective therapy


Cognitive behavioural therapy

A combination of cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. Cognitive therapy is a way of changing maladaptive thoughts and beliefs. Behavioural therapy is a way of changing behaviour in response to these thoughts and beliefs.


Rational emotive behaviour therapy

Ellis’s form of CBT
The aim is to turn irrational thoughts into rational thoughts.
Focuses on resolving emotional problems.
ABC D = Dispute, E= effects, F=feelings


Irrational thoughts

Irrational thinking is unrealistic and rigid, lacks internal consistency. Rational thinking is flexible and realistic. Beliefs are based on fact and logic


D of REBt

Dispute- Treatment= logical:does it make sense, empirical: where is the evidence, pragmatic: is it helpful


Homework tasks

Puts therapy into practise in real world. confronting the fear. Testing effectiveness of disputing. E.g. applying for a job or asking people opinions


Behavioural activation

Reactivation of behaviours that clients used to enjoy.
Some activities like exercise can result in endorphins. May encourage socialisation and increase self-esteem.


Unconditional positive regard

Added in 1990s. Therapists should be non judgemental


Strength of CBT -

Ellis research 1957 showed 90% success rate
March et al (2007) found after 36 weeks, greatest success rate of reducing depression was in the group with both CBT and antidepressants- 86% of group significantly improved. So CBT should be 1st choice of treatment in public health care. Cuz its cheapest as well


Limitation of CBT - alternative treatment

E.g. psychoanayalysis or anti depressants = SSRI’s. Biological approach suggests that genes are neurotransmitters may cause depression. research supports the role of the levels of serotonin in depressed people. Also the success of drug therapies for treating depression suggests neurotransmitters play an important role. So CBT is reductionist


Strength of CBT holistic

Combines cognitive and behaviourist - ABCDEF and Behavioural activation.


Limitation of CBT blames patients

Suggests that the client is responsible for their disorder. Leads to situational factors being overlooked. So doesn’t consider how client might change other aspects of their life, contributes to high relapse rates for CBT


CBT limitation not suitable for extreme cases

In some cases depression can be so severe that patients can’t motivate themselves to take on hard cognitive work required for CBT. In this case antidepressant and medication can be used and continue CBT after they are alert and motivated. This means CBT can’t be used as the sole treatment.


Strength of CBT - less side effects

Antidepressants often come with side-effects which may affect the patient for life and not useful to them. But CBT doesn’t have any side-effects


OCD what is it

Anxiety disorder where anxiety arises from both obsessions and compulsions. Compulsions are a response to obsessions an person believes anxiety will be reduced by the compulsion


Behavioural characteristics of OCD

Compulsions: repetitive acts either mental or physical to reduce anxiety created by the obsession.
Hinder everyday functioning : rituals and compulsions interrupt everyday life
Social impairment : interrupt social life as the may be ridiculed, and if they hide them, they will feel more stress


Cognitive chacracteristcs of OCD

Intrusive thoughts : obsessions dominate their thinking. Persistent and recurrent thoughts, images, beliefs enter mind, uninvited and unremovable.
Recognise that thoughts are a product of their own mind, they know it’s caused by themselves
Realisation of inappropriateness - excessive unreasonable


Emotional characteristics of OCD

Anxiety - extreme distress, worry and nervousness
Shame- painful feeling of humiliation and distress caused by consciousness of their behaviour of compulsions is wrong or foolish
Disgust - feeling of strong disapproval or repulsion towards their recurrent thoughts