AP Psychology: Treatment of Abnormal Behavior Notes

Key Takeaways: Treatment of Abnormal Behavior

  1. Psychological treatment is provided by mental health professionals in a variety of settings. The two most common types of treatment are psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment.
  2. Psychotherapies come in a variety of theoretical orientations and formats. The most common treatment orientations are psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, cognitive, biomedical, and integrated. The four main formats of psychotherapy are individual, group, couples, and family.
  3. Research suggests that psychotherapy generally helps patients to make positive changes in their lives, but some types of treatment are more effective for particular conditions than others.
  4. Culture influences a variety of factors important to treatment. Decreased access, racism, and Eurocentrism contribute to unequal outcomes for patients from marginalized groups, but measures such as multicultural competence may help to alleviate these inequalities.
  5. Effective prevention programs reduce environmental risk factors for mental illness and build up strengths. Prevention efforts might focus on promoting health, increasing competence, or building resilience.

Key Terms: Treatment of Abnormal Behavior

What is Psychological Treatment?

  • Mental health professionals: Psychologists, medical doctors and nurses, social workers, and licensed counselors who provide psychological treatment.
  • Psychotherapy: An ongoing relationship between a patient and a therapist, in which the two discuss the patient’s experiences and symptoms.
  • Pharmacological treatment: When a mental health professional prescribes a drug for a patient to alleviate psychological distress.

Treatment Orientations and Formats

  • Theoretical orientation: A therapist’s belief system about the cause and nature of psychological distress and the appropriate treatment, which influences the therapist’s choice of techniques and treatment goals.
  • Dream interpretation: A psychodynamic therapy technique that analyzes the meaning of symbols from dreams to help access the unconscious.
  • Free association: A psychodynamic therapy technique in which the patient is instructed to “think out loud” to help access the unconscious.
  • Transference: A term from psychodynamic therapy to describe when feelings directed at one person become redirected to another person, often the therapist.
  • Self-actualization: A term from humanistic therapy that refers to an individual’s ability to live up to his or her full human potential.
  • Client-centered therapy: The most popular humanistic therapy, which views patients as “clients” and focuses on authenticity and healthy self-concept; created by Carl Rogers.
  • Unconditional positive regard: A client-centered technique in which the therapist communicates positive feelings and acceptance to the client, regardless of what the client says or does.
  • Active listening: A client-centered technique in which the therapist verbally and non-verbally communicates interest in what the client is saying in order to encourage openness.
  • Gestalt therapy: A humanistic therapy that maintains that psychological distress occurs when patients focus on what could be, rather than on the present moment; developed by Fritz Perls.
  • Existential therapy: A humanistic therapy based on the theory that psychological distress occurs when life lacks meaning; popularized by Irving Yalom.
  • Learned helplessness: A phenomenon described by behaviorists in which an individual, frustrated by failed attempts to escape an adverse situation, gives up all efforts to escape it.
  • Applied behavioral analysis (ABA): A behavioral therapy technique used to identify factors in the environment that are reinforcing or punishing certain behaviors.
  • Token economies: A technique used in behavioral therapy to reinforce positive behaviors with tokens, which can be exchanged for other rewards.
  • Systematic desensitization: A behavioral therapy used to treat phobias by gradually associating feared stimuli with relaxing stimuli; created by Joseph Wolpe.
  • Aversion therapy: A behavioral therapy used to decrease the frequency of a habitual behavior by pairing it with an aversive stimulus.

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