Running Head: History of Abnormal Psychology
Throughout history a significant amount of time has been spent studying the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for mentally disturbed individuals. The beginnings of the study of mental illness trace clear back to the Stone Age and include everything from astrology, to demons and spirits, to witches. Over time, new ideas have come about that shape how we now view abnormal psychology. A brief history of abnormal psychology and its merger with science will be discussed, along with its ties to modern theory of abnormal psychology.
There is evidence of interest in abnormal Psychology dating back to the Stone Age. Trephining, a barbaric practice in which parts of the skull where chipped away in order to release evil spirits was used in early mental health treatment. “In some cases, trephined skulls of primitive people show healing around the opening, indicating that the patient survived the operation and lived for many years afterward (Alloy, 2004).” Some of the next recorded evidence of mental health came from Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew and Chinese civilizations. They attributed odd behavior to evil spirits and deamons that were believed to have taken over an individual. Behaviors of this sort were treated with exorcism or casting the evil spirit or demon out of the body. “These techniques varied but typically included magic, prayer, incantation, noisemaking, and the use of horrible-tasting concoctions made from sheep’s dung and wine (Alloy, 2004).” Paracelsus, a Swiss physician in the 15th and 16th centuries disputed the idea of demonic possession, by offering an alternative, albeit paranormal explanation for abnormal behavior. He believed that abnormal behavior was a result of planetary movements, the position of the moon and the stars themselves (Fabrega, 1990).
The next major movement in Abnormal psychology came with Hippocrates. Many at this time believed that people’s behavior...