Treatments of Abnormality - AQA A AS Psychology

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These are the treatments associated with each of the approaches to abnormality.

I have set these cards out so that these points can be easily constructed into an essay answer (8/12markers). AO1 points are on one card and AO2 on the next.

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Psychoanalysis- Psychodynamic Approach

AO1

  • Based on the idea that the individuals are unaware of the factors that cause their behaviour, emotions and health.
  • During psychoanalysis the therapist aims to trace unconcious conflicts and bring them to the conscious mind.
  • One technique is free association; The client expresses their thoughts exactly how they happen even if they seem irrelevant, then the therapist will interpret these thoughts.
  • Freud beleived that this lowered the defence of the ego allowing unconscious thoughts to to be brought to the surface.
  • Another technique is dream analysis; Freud thought that dreams removed the barriers to the unconscious allowing memories and impulses to come into the conscious.
  • These dreams have symbols which the therapist then interprets.
  • Clients usually meet with their therapist five times a week for a period of five years.
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Psychoanalysis- Psychodynamic Approach

AO2

  • + This is an effective treatment for mental disorders, Bergin (1971) analysed data from 10,000 patient histories and found that 80% of people benefitted from this treatment.
  • - It is time consuming and expensive therefore only available to certain people- those who can afford it and those who have a lot of time on their hands.
  • - Peoples memories are subject to change, sometimes people recall things they beleive happened when actually that thing didn't happen.
  • - There is little evidence that childhood memories can be accessed in these ways, instead the therapist could have actually implanted memories into peoples brains, because once the unconscious is accessed people minds become very vunerable.
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ECT- Biological Approach

AO1

  • Electro-convulsive therapy.
  • Originally used to treat schizophrenia but now more effectively treats depression.
  • An electrode is placed on the non dominant side of the temple and another is placed in the middle of the forehead (so that the patient doesn't contract and cause fractures).
  • A current is passed through the head of 0.6 amps, this lasts a few seconds but causes a seizure which lasts up to a minute.
  • A short acting barbiturate is given (a pain killer which numbs the pain).
  • A patient would recieve ECT three to fifteen times to treat their illness.
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ECT- Biological Approach

AO2

  • + Effective and can be life saving particularly when severe depression can lead to suicide- because of this overall side effects outweigh the benefits.
  • - These side effects could include impaired memory and severe headaches among others.
  • - Comer (2002) found that 60-70% of ECT patients improve after treatment but Sackheim (2000) found that 84% relapsed within six months suggesting it is not an effective treatment in the long run.
  • +ECT shows quicker results than anti-depressant drugs.
  • +Some studies compared real ECT with 'sham' ECT where patients recieved the same procedure just without the electric shock, patients who had real ECT were much more likely to recover and quicker than 'sham' ECT. 
  • - DOH report (1999) found that 30% of patients reported that ECT resulted in permanent fear and anxiety.
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Drugs- Biological Approach

AO1

  • Drug therapy assumes that chemical imbalances in the brain (abnormal levels of neurotransmitters) are the cause of psychopathology.
  • Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia, these drugs work by reducing levels of dopamine in the brain for example chlorpromazine binds to dopamine receptors thereby limiting how much dopamine can reach the neuron.
  • Antidepressants are use to treat depression as the name suggests, they reduce the rate of serotonin reabsorption by blocking the enzyme which breaks serotonin down. SSRI's block the transport mechanism which re-absorbs serotonin therefore more is left in the synapse.
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Drugs- Biological Approach

AO2

  • + WHO (2001) reported a 55% relapse rate after one year with placebos, they found only a 2-23% relapse rate after taking chlorpromazine with family intervention suggesting that drugs and support from friends and family is most effective.
  • + Requires little effort and is cost effective compared to other treatments.
  • - But Kirsh et al (2002) found that patients fared just as well with placebos.
  • - Drugs offer temporary alleviation of symptoms rather than treating the actual problem.
  • - There are side effects such as insomnia ans nausea with SSRI's.
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Systematic desensitisation- Behavioural Approach

AO1

  • Counter conditioning procedure aiming to extinguish undesirable behaviour and replacing it with desirable behaviour.
  • First the patient is taught deep muscle relaxation techniques which include breathing techniques and muscle conditioning.
  • Then a heirarchy of fear is created where they create stages with the therapist, to overcome their fear, once they have successfully completed a stage and are comfortable they move onto the next stage, so for example if someone had a fear of snakes the first stage could be to look at a photo of a snake then the next stage could be to look at a real snake then touch it..ect
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Systematic desensitisation- Behavioural Approach

AO2

  • - Considered ethical because the client has control over what they do and can take things slowly, the therapist never pushes them to quickly get past a stage.
  • + Less stressful than flooding (this technique involves getting to the point straight away for example the fifth and final step in desensitisation could be to hold the snake but in flooding the client would hold the snake straight away).
  • - Stressful, time consuming and expensive.
  • Doesn't work for all phobias especially social phobias like shyness.
  • + There is research it works, McGrath studied a girl called Lucy her fear of loud noises was rid of after having systematic desensitisation for four weeks.
    AO2- McGrath
    + High in ecological validity, Lucy had the fear already it wasn't installed into her for the purpose of the experiment. 
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy- Cognitive Approach

AO1

  • Involves identifying negative thoughts and changing these to positive ones and being able to apply this to other situations.
  • Rational emotive therapy involves engaging with the client to discuss their problems.
  • Applying Ellis' ABC model is involved in this (for example instead of the consequence to failing a mock exam being 'i'm going to fail everything' the therapist tries to change these thoughts into 'I have failed so now i know what to do for next time)- Changing the negative to the positive.
  • Setting goals to reach for other negative thoughts in the future.
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CBT- Cognitive Approach

AO2

  • + Highly effective in treating people with many disorder at once.
  • + Short amounts of CBT can be helpful.
  • + There are significant long term benefits.
  • - Can be expensive and time consuming depending on your level of commitment and how many negative thought processes you have.
  • - Clients can sometimes become too dependant on their therapists.
  • - Doesn't work on schizophrenic's.
  • - Requires motivation and being able to talk about your problems unlike somethig like ECT or Drug therapy.
  • - Ethical issues- involves manipulating peoples thoughts sometimes peoples thoughts can be manipulating so people feel worse after speaking to their therapist.
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