Prior to beginning work on this interactive assignment, review your instructor’s initial forum post, and watch The Nature of the Mind–Part One: The Roots of Psychological Disorder. (Links to an external site.) Please note that the video selected for this week is dense and may be difficult to understand upon first viewing. You are encouraged to watch the video more than once over the course of several days to better understand the conversation in more depth.
As a scholarly member of the psychological community, you will be expected to engage in philosophical conversations on the nature of psychopathology and changes in the mind. This interactive assignment is an opportunity to have a philosophical conversation with your instructor and classmates on positive psychology and the nature of psychological suffering.
**Here is the professor’s post below***
This is the start of our discussion thread for the final week of our course. We are turning our attention away from the focus for most of the past 5 weeks: the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. As scholars, we often need to take a step back from our involvements and stop to look at all sides of an issue.
As you moved through the materials each week, I wonder how many of you questioned the information or assumptions presented to you. One of those assumptions is: Mental illness is a disease process that needs to be diagnosed and treated so that the person can return to a fully functioning human being. We can start by deconstructing some of the terms we might generally accept. Take the term mental illness–it could be said that there is no such thing. Mental illness could just be a creation of some early psychiatrists and psychologists who had decided to label behavior that did not fit the rigid rules of society as an illness, or a disease. The diagnostic manuals were created by the same mindset to justify labeling certain behavior as deviant or out of the norm for being a person in society.
What if, as a society, we could somehow disentangle ourselves from this view of mental health. What if we could broaden our acceptance of what is considered normal behavior and feelings? Instead of hospitalization, institutionalization, psychotropic medication, electroconvulsive therapy, CBT, DBT, and other “evidenced based” treatments we simply accept whatever a person is feeling and experiencing and provide any support that is needed. Many years ago I was visiting friends in Norway. They were planning a trip to Greece to get away from the long winter nights. They were concerned about one of their friends who had been feeling particularly depressed due to some health and relationship issues and knew that some time away, in the sun, would be the best “medicine.” Unlike the others, he did not have money to go on the trip. He went to our equivalent of the state social services office and explained his situation. They agreed that the best way to address his psychological issues was to go with his friends to Greece, and they provided him with a stipend to make the trip. I know the amount that he was given would equal about two days of hospitalization in a psychiatric ward–the treatment he would have received in the U.S.
Many believe in homeostasis, or “how a person under conflicting stresses and motivations can maintain a stable psychological condition” (Rodolfo, n.d.). Perhaps individuals experiencing what we call “mental illness”, simply need to be provided with safety (the second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) until their bodies and mind can return to homeostasis. What do you think?
Maslow, A. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York, NY: The Viking Press.
Rodolfo, K. (n.d.) What is homeostasis? Scientific American, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-homeostasis/