chapter  5
The Nature of Abnormal Behaviour
Pages 22

In the course of their work, doctors, social workers, police, and probation officers often have to deal with individuals whose behaviour challenges the accepted social norm. They (or the distressed individual themselves) may decide that the scale or persistence of the aberrant behaviour is sufficiently “ abnormal” to warrant the attention of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists or other “ mental health” professionals. Unfortunately, even for these professionals, assessing the intensity or potential harmfulness of abnormal behaviour is not always an easy or reliable procedure. Nevertheless, these judgments must be made since they have considerable conse­ quences for the subsequent medical or legal treatment which the individual may receive.