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History of Abnormal Psychology

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Normalcy is one difficult term to come up with clear-cut definition of what it really is. What seems like normal behavior to someone may be extreme abnormality to another person and again this may be as a result of various internal and external factors determining what can be explained as normal or not. Variations in defining normalcy happen based on various factors such as religious background, geographical location, time of the action, education and various personal characteristics. One of the biggest contributors towards the ambiguity in definition of normalcy is time. Abnormal behavior has had varying definitions over time as outlined by psychologists (Weckowicz & Liebel-Weckowicz, 1990).

Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that analyses what is perceived as deviating from what is popularly agreeable to be normal. This has been changing with time due the variation in perception of what can be said to be normal. There has been three major factors attributed to determination of a person’s normalcy and they have been receiving different opinions on their applicability in history of psychology (Kring et al, 2009).  

Abnormal behavior was initially associated to supernatural powers that were believed to be the main course abnormal behavior. This is dated to as far as the history of mankind is known. It still carries weight up to the present times and especially in most of the African countries where superstition is still existent. It is believed that abnormal behaviors are caused by demons, the spirits and external forces beyond the control of mankind (Sharpsteen et al, 2005). However, with time there has come the biological view of the abnormal behavior as viewed from the 20th century.

Abnormal behavior is associated with improper mental development or its impairment later in life and this were treated medically such the schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis. In recent times, there has been a relatively comprehensive address of abnormal behavior with a psycho-social as well as medical approach which is dated back to mid 20th century to present. This approach acknowledges that abnormal behavior may be as a result of mental disorders or sociological factors or a combination of the two and so it gives a more comprehensive approach in its treatment (Howells & Osborn, 1984).

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