History of Psychology


Mental illness can be viewed as the abnormal behavior and depictionof extreme and unreasonable emotions which are more often than notinconsistent with the norms of the society. Additionally, it is vitalto mention that behaviors which lead to harming either the individualor other people are considered as being signs of mental illness.Delusions and hallucination are also considered as being signs ofmental illness (Hergenhahn &amp Henley, 2013). These are behaviorswhere a person depicts unrealistic beliefs and perceptions such asbelieving in a bountiful harvest, whereas the reality is that thereis no such a harvest. It is abundantly clear from this definitionthat behavior has been used as the criteria to define mental illness.

Throughout history, different approaches have been used to defineand assess the aspect of mental illness. Throughout history, peoplehave used the biological, psychological and the supernatural approachto explain mental illness. The biological aspect of explanationasserts that medical approach is the only way that can be used toexplain mental illness (Hergenhahn &amp Henley, 2013). This is thecriteria where it is assumed that malfunctioning of the bodyincluding the brains leads to illness. The biological approachtowards the explanation of mental illness also asserts that there areevents such as ingestion of poison, injury, disease and physicalstress that can affect the function of the body.

The psychological approach to the explanation of mental illnessasserts that psychological events are responsible for mental illness.The criteria states that people are stressed from living in a societythat is organized. The approach focuses mostly on the psychologicalexperiences such as grief, disappointment, fear, anxiety andfrustrations as some of the aspects that lead to mental illness(Hergenhahn &amp Henley, 2013). These are experiences that exist inan organized society. It is useful to note that the psychologicalexplanation to mental illness is said to be older than the medical orthe biological approach. However, this remains a debatable topic withmany people arguing that the two approaches happened simultaneouslywith each one of them relying on the other.

The last approach which is the supernatural approach towards theexplanation of mental illness is indeed the oldest. This is anapproach which existed during the primitive times of human kind or inthe middle age period. According to this approach, mental illness andother ailments are not caused by aspects such as injury ordrunkenness, but they are caused by a mysterious supernatural being(Hergenhahn &amp Henley, 2013). Research has indicated that thesebeliefs existed until the coming of the great Greek physicians suchas Hippocrates who invested heavily in the role of medicine. However,the fall of the Roman Empire triggered people to go back to thesupernatural approach to the explanation of illness.


Hergenhahn. B. &amp Henley, T. (2013). Early considerations ofmental illness. An Introduction to the .New York: Cengage learning.