Abnormal Psychology: Its Concepts and Theories

Abnormal Psychology: Its Concepts and Theories

Abnormal Psychology: Its Concepts and Theories

Abnormal Psychology: Its Concepts and Theories

Excerpt

The phenomena of mental abnormality are both varied and complex. Interest in this field is shared by numerous groups of workers. Proficiency in it requires expertness in several branches of learning not yet adequately organized into any program or curriculum, and skill acquired only through experience.

Educators, hygienists, and all those charged with the care of the young, are deeply concerned with mental abnormalities, from the point of view of avoiding or preventing them. Clergymen and priests, and all who minister to the spiritual life and ethical behavior of mankind have from historic times had a similar interest. The "types" and "characters" of the novel, drama, and short story have also been in close topical contact with this field. Interests such as these may, in general, be called "practical," or "everyday" interests.

Another group of interests is more technical or technological. To physiologist, neurologist, and physician, mental abnormality presents both a professional challenge and a scientific problem. Mental and bodily health are intimately related, to say the least. In many instances, the medical man can, through the medium of the body, "minister to a mind diseased." Medical specialists now adopt some such term as "psychiatry" or "neuro-psychiatry" to designate this province. A slovenly use of the former term extends it indiscriminately to any concern with problems of individual adjustment, such as those of the personnel manager, the parent, social worker, teacher, prison warden, and detective.

Another professional group, approaching the problems from the point of view of development and habit formation, empha-

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