Psychopathology Understanding of Psychopathology Psychopathology Has Had Essay

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  • Subject: Psychology
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Understanding of psychopathology

Psychopathology has had differentiated opinions from variant psychologists. Warner's opinion of relabeling people's process and Prouty's therapy that offers a mentally unwell person are both discussed in depth for better understanding. Also, the effects of language barrier to collaborating psychologists and psychiatrists in dealing with person-centered therapies have been reviewed in this article. Communication enhancement is fundamental for the relaying of information between the different medical practitioners is what will help in the scientific research on matters dealing with brain functionality, and the enhancement of methods to counter the dysfunctional elements in human ability. This paper aims at examining closely the person-centered approach, and its efficiency in dealing with the brain disorders and other physical impairments.

Psychopathology is a study that deals with behaviors, human feelings and thoughts that either causes depression or anxiety (distress), forces one to indulge in dangerous activities, which can be against the individual or others, the individual can be rebellious, and work in mannerisms that are incoherent with the expected. Psychopathology also involves the study of dysfunctional traits of individuals, who have hard time in functioning, in real life situations; a combination of all these aspects is also possible. In the ancient perspective, psychopathology was linked to demonic powers, punishment from the gods and other supernatural powers. It always attracted pity and fear among those affected. However, several paradigms are currently used to understand psychopathology. These include the socio-cultural models, the transpersonal, biomedical, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive models (Winstead & Maddux, 2005, pg 20).

Medical model of mental health

Mental healthiness is a title that has proven to be of many perspectives, ranging from the symptoms of incapacitation, spiritual wellness and ethic related feelings and the expected or normal psychological functioning of an individual. Nevertheless, the important aspect of cultural background helps in determining the difference of how people understand mental health. For instance, in most African and Asian countries, and also parts of America, altered state of mind was not stressed on much and in fact it was normality in some of the tribal cultures. This is contrary to the western culture, where such experiences of mental disorder were regarded as abnormal, and were treated as illnesses (Lemma, 1996, pg 3).

The medical model, usually relies on the biological functioning and explains the meaning of disease as the poor functioning of the body organs, the cells (basic units of life), and other body systems, including the circulatory and urinary systems. When using the medical model, there is possibility to measure the health of a population, through the use of vital statistics, which focus on the morbidity (amount of illness) in relation mortality rates. The model does not emphasize on social issues affecting individual's health, but considers only the behavior and mental integration factors. According to this model, one is perceived to have regained health, when cure of a certain disease is realized, or the functioning of a particular affected body organ restored. The model is however limited, because of its assumption on the social and psychological factors (Edlin & Golanty, 2009, Pg 6).


Neurobiology is the branch in science, which specializes in the study of human psychology, anatomy and lastly the pathology of the body's nervous system. In this essay, though, the focus will be on three major functions of the brain, which is the neuroanatomical function, the neurochemical and the circadian rhythms functions.

The neuroanatomical function

Before analyzing this function more critically, there is need to understand the meaning of a neuron. Just like the cell is a basic functional unit of the body, the neuron can also be defined as the basic functioning unit in the nervous system. Apart from the neurons, the brain contains other numerous cells, which supportive of the neurons, including the vascular supply and the glial cells. Neurons are a network of cells that are linked together by dendrites, responsible for the receiving of impulses. These impulses also originate from other neurons. Neurons also contain an axon, which transmits data to the rest of the neurons. When there is a group of the axons, it is referred to as the nerve, also known as the tract. This nerves link the brainstem (spinal cord) to the muscles and the skin. An important part, that is responsible for the speed of impulse transfer and specificity transfer in the nerve, is known as myelin sheath. Anatomy has proved that synapses do occur only between the dendrite and axon. Neurotransmitters, such as the dopamine, are responsible for the transfer of impulses in the synapses that combine the axon and dendrites. Neurotransmitters therefore act in the local area, meaning they have an influence only on the dendrites around where they are realized. This is unlike the peptides, which transmit neural information to further areas from where they are released (Gibson & Petersen, 2010, pg 13).

The neurochemical function

Many of the brain functions are done through the pathways, which are in most cases diffused, known as the neurochemical processes. The pathways include the dendrites and axons which are evenly spread through the brain. In an urge to detect functional abilities of neurons, psychoactive or rather the neurotransmitter drugs can be used, whose function is to cause effect to the neuron activities. This could be accomplished in two major ways. However, in both the ways, the ligand has to link with the suitable receptor which is usually located on the membrane of the cells. The cell will however respond according to the physical structure of its receptor. The mechanism of the receptor, which is the most usual, always acts fast and is in most cases direct. When transmitters are joined with the neurotransmitters, for instance the glutamate, it leads to modification of the permeability of the cell membrane. This will lead to cell absorption of ions like chloride which ends up in the neurons. This ion element is what brings about triggered neural activities, of course according to the neurotransmitter's properties. The other mechanism is slower in action, and takes between second to minutes. The receptor can only be seen with neurotransmitters that are modulators to the neurons (Dopamine and others). The modulators affect the neurons indirectly, using intracellular systematic processes. Once the neuron is bounded by the neuromodulator, there is response to expose its physiological and also chemical factors. These modulators play a big role in the cognitive neuroimaging processes (Frackowiak, 2004, pg 304).

Circadian rhythms

The circadian rhythms are the ones responsible for the drastic changing of the sensory stimulation processes. The circadian rhythms have been frequently demonstrated in the lab animals, such as rats. However, humans and also some of the invertebrates also undergo the process. Though the other animals hardly show the day and night circles, they tend to show the rhythms in many other ways, such as their locomotive behaviors. In specific animals that are usually nocturnal, like the owls, the process of circadian cycles is usually more active in darkness. Other animals like humans will portray the circadian rhythms when there is sunlight. Most of the process is usually programmed, so that it becomes routine. For example humans have entrained with the clock system of 24-hour cycle. In fact the cycle of the circadian rhythms is effected by 'clock genes', which have been successfully studied in insects. Some humans have also been found with the genes too. In most cases, the protein products access their cells and control their records. Because the feedback involves the availability of light, there is obvious need to appreciate visual inputs, in maintaining the rhythms. Nevertheless, it is not all information gotten from viewing that affects the rhythm, but just the normal receiving of light to the retina (Webster, 2001, pg 478).

The Person-Centered Approach

The person-centered approach is not new to psychology, and it was an approach that was initiated as early as 1951, by one successful and reputable psychologist, Carl Rogers. However, Carl did not specialize or concentrate on optimal functioning (Counseling). Different from the other theories, person-centered theory was not interested in ensuring cure for any dysfunctionality and never encouraged the diagnostic option like in the medical theory, which appreciated the therapist as being the expert (Joseph, 2006, pg 47).

This approach dealt with the people who were distressed and those who had functional disabilities, but the focus of the approach was to the patient/client's self-determination, and the approach advocated for allowing the client to go closer towards optical functionality. The theory believed that engaging with individuals, communities and even the smaller groups was the best strategy as it recognized the client as experts of themselves. Roger's meta-theory advised that human perspective aimed at development, and functional growth. However these were not to be actualized automatically, but that individuals are to be exposed to the best environment. A good environment, according to Rogers was one that made a client feel at ease, valued and appreciated by society. Such environment was supposed to ensure clients realized their self-actualization by their tendency which was to end…

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