The Nature of Psychopathology
In this chapter we will not be describing the types and kinds of abnormal behavior, as is done in most psychology texts. Rather, we will try to address several important and overarching issues pertaining to psychological problems that are of importance to research and practice in clinical psychology. These issues reflect the processes by which behavior is considered to be maladaptive or abnormal. In other words, we address the question as to how clinical psychologists determine whether certain behaviors or constellations of behavior are in need of assessment and treatment and should, thus, be the focus of research. Second, we will discuss issues involving the kinds of behaviors that constitute abnormal behavior (also known as psychopathology). Third, we will discuss issues involving the current classification systems that are in use that help the clinical psychologist make determinations about people’s psychological problems and provide a snapshot of the kinds of disorders that exist today.