Psychology - Rosenhan (1973) - Aims and Context

  • Created by: jkav
  • Created on: 03-05-15 22:16

Aims and Context

  • In the 1960's, psychiatrists such as Michel Foucault, Ronnie Laing and Thomas Szasz launched the 'anti-psychiatry' movement, challenging the fundamental claims and practises of mainstream psychiatry, i.e the medical model.
  • Foucault (1961) described the development of the concept of mental illness in the 17th and 18th centuries, when 'unreasonable' members of the population were locked away, institutionalised and subjected to some quite inhuman treatments, such as using freezing showers and straight jackets.
  • Foucault argued that the concepts of sanity and insanity were in fact social constraints, i.e they are not 'real' but, instead, constructions made by a particular society.
  • A key feature of the medical model of abnormality is that mental illnesses are diagnosal - the doctor (psychiatrist) identifies a set of symptoms in the patient and uses these to identify the disorder.
  • The doctor helped by a set of diagnostic


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