Deviation from ideal mental health

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Outline; deviation from ideal mental health

Jahoda (58) – the more features you have, the more ‘normal’ you are. Autonomy, Personal growth, Environmental mastery, Perception of reality, Integration, Self-attitudes.

According to Jahoda (1958) it is more useful to define abnormality in terms of understanding what is normal behaviour rather than abnormal. Jahoda listed 6 characteristics of ideal mental health, and not possessing these would be seen as abnormal according to this definition.

  • Being in touch with one's own identity and feelings.
  • Resistance to stress.
  • Focused on the future and self-actualisation.
  • Function as an autonomous individual and recognise their own needs.
  • Have an accurate perception of reality, and be neither overly pessimistic nor overly optimistic.
  • Be able to master the environment and adapt to change.
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Evaluate; deviation from ideal mental health

Positive approach to abnormality – focuses on normal; takes positive view towards defining abnormality, highlights areas that are considered ‘normal’.  Prevents ‘blanket’ approach to defining abnormality.

Could provide measure for therapeutic aims; definition outlines what is considered to be normal, could be used to form basis for aims of treatments, goals therapist aiming to achieve in their patients.

Over-demanding criteria; difficult to apply consistently, could be considered ideals. Implication is that we are all abnormal at least some of the time if we apply this definition.

Changes over time; criteria outlined by Jahoda suggesting what is ‘normal’ will change over time and so cannot be consistently, universally applied.

Subjective; Application likely to be subjective, questions reliability of the definition, opinions vary from one person to another.

Cultural changes; criteria outlined  hard to define as they are ideals related to our particular culture. These can be specific to particular cultures, and are also likely to change over time.

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