Phenomenological Psychology

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Entries from June 2009

Theories of Personality – Maslow, Fromm, Rogers, May, Bandura, Skinner, Rotter, Mischel – Questions and Answers

June 18th, 2009 · No Comments

QUESTION: Tony, a 56 year old male, has come to see you for therapy. He is depressed about his marriage. He has made an effort to be open, understanding and loving towards his wife, but he wants to experience more from life. “My wife just wants to play it safe,” he says. “She never wants […]

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How Do Biological and Psychological Factors Interact in the Development and Maintenance of Psychotic Disorders?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

DSM-IV characterizes psychotic disorders as those that feature delusions or prominent hallucinations, possibly without individual insight into their pathological nature, possibly accompanied by other positive symptoms (e.g. disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior). DSM-IV emphasizes it groups psychotic disorders together “for convenience” even though they may not share a common etiology. I previously have […]

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How Do Biological and Psychological Factors Interact in the Development and Maintenance of Addiction Disorders?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Addiction disorders are substance-related disorders. DSM-IV divides them into two groups: substance use disorders and substance-induced disorders. The former comprises substance dependence and substance abuse; the latter, a wide variety of pathologies clustered symptomatically around substance intoxication and withdrawal. The biological basis of personality disorders is difficult to disentangle. With substance-related disorders on the other […]

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How Do Biological and Psychological Factors Interact in the Development and Maintenance of Personality Disorders?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

According to DSM-IV personality traits are “enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to and thinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts.” They become personality disorders (“PD”) when they become “inflexible and maladaptive and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress.” The essential feature of a […]

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What Are the Primary Causes of Mental Illness?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

In assessing the causes of mental illness biological factors may be broadly juxtaposed against psychological ones. “Biological factors” include: genetics (heredity); brain damage (whether present at birth or caused by subsequent trauma); neurotransmitter activity; and other factors such as substance abuse, poor nutrition or exposure to environmental toxins. Conceptually “psychological factors” divide into two sub-groups. […]

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What Are Some Areas of Continued Debate in the Understanding of the Origin and Maintenance of Schizophrenia?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

The modern history of schizophrenia began with Kraepelin in 1887 who developed the concept of dementia praecox or mental weakness. He identified its most important distinguishing features as disconnection from reality, disordered thought and inability to develop relationships with others. Lacking even basic coping skills schizophrenics live in their own private world. They are inclined […]

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What Are the Principal Psychotic Disorders, and How Are They Different from Other DSM-IV Diagnoses?

June 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Psychotic disorders are qualitatively distinct from other forms of mental illness in that they result in severe psychological distress and impairment in social functioning that grossly interfere with the capacity to meet the ordinary demands of life. In this essay I will explore several of the reasons for these differences using schizophrenia as the paradigm […]

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How Can DSM-IV Be Improved as It Transitions to DSM-V?

June 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Problems with DSM-IV are well known and now are becoming subjects of considerable interest as various committees attempt to update it to DSM-V. Some of the more salient issues are: excessive co-occurrence among disorders; extreme heterogeneity among patients receiving the same diagnosis; arbitrary diagnostic thresholds for boundaries between pathological and normal functioning; and inadequate coverage […]

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What Is the Difference between Delirium and Dementia?

June 15th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Both delirium and dementia refer to a state of fundamental mental bewilderment or confusion. There is considerable overlap of symptoms. They primarily involve cognitive dysfunction and include confusion, memory loss, disorganized thinking, spatio-temporal disorientation, flat affect, reduced attention span and loss of motor skills. Patients also tend to have the same types of behavioral problems […]

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What Are the Principal Neurodegenerative Diseases?

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

DSM-IV defines the principal neurodegenerative diseases as delirium, dementia, amnestic disorders and cognitive disorder NOS. It classifies them as “cognitive disorders,” which is somewhat of a misnomer as many other DSM pathologies also involve cognitive dysfunction. They previously were classified as “organic mental disorders,” which also was unsatisfactory as many other DSM pathologies also have […]

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