When psychology is mentioned, the most common mental image that forms in the minds of many individuals is that of a profession that entails working in a clinic or hospital. This image describes the role of one particular type of a psychologist known as the clinical psychologist. There are many other types of psychologists given the diverse nature of psychology.
Psychology covers a large number of areas because psychologists perform numerous different functions ranging from research to providing psychological services to individuals, businesses or schools. Psychologists are usually identified with one particular specialty or subfield within psychology which may include experimental, clinical developmental, social psychology and educational psychology.
While some individuals may think of psychology as a course that is only important to students, therapists or everyone else that is interested in the field of psychology, knowledge in psychology is actually helpful to everyone in relation to improving the quality of everyday life.
Despite the fact that the most of the materials available for studying psychology can be very challenging to read through for the average individual, there are experiments that have revealed that psychology can go a long way in helping individuals handle some of the numerous challenges experienced in life. This essay shall explore three such materials that explore how psychology can be helpful in treatment of psychological disorders.
Of the numerous materials that explore the field of psychology is a video featuring Martin Seligman that illustrates the benefits of positive psychology.
Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, is singled out as the individuals who ignited the recent explosion of interest in positive psychology, perhaps driven by the need to make people utilize psychology to improve the quality of their lives. In his video about positive psychology, Seligman explores the field of psychology as it is studied and examined and how it applied by patient and practitioners.
As one watches this video, it comes out rather obvious that Seligman is stating that psychology is concerned with more than just treating psychological disorders and that it can be applied to several other fields including improving quality of life. Even though Seligman’s talk in this video does little to back up the claims stated with scientifically researched data, it explores several experimental methods that have been used to illustrate the positive effects that arise from various practices.
Seligman also briefly talks about the length of time that these positive effects have been known to last. One of the notable statements included in this video is that happiness is more than just the state of nonexistence of a disorder but an expression that is felt by individuals upon applying their signature strengths.
This statement is followed by an exploration of numerous rigorously tested measures that not only help in increasing the level of happiness but also in decreasing the level of depression among the individuals. Dr. Seligman also attributes some of the ideas included in his talk to some researchers who explored the field of positive psychology before him and even mentions some of the ideas he borrowed from their findings.
Generally, Dr. Seligman illustrated the importance of psychology and how much fun one can derive from applying psychological techniques in helping individuals live a life that is happier, more engaging, and meaningful. Any individual who watches this video is likely to be drawn by the mind opening conversations included in this video and may even experience some eagerness to apply the numerous innovative ideas explored by Dr. Seligman to his or her everyday life.
The other video that explores the field of psychology is the one titled “how to do a self hypnosis.” In this video, Andy Silver who is a performance coach who normally uses Neuro-Linguistic Programming and hypnosis, demonstrates how to perform hypnosis on a patient who in this video is called Joyce.
This video is a good example of how psychological can be used to help people who may not necessarily be suffering from mental illnesses. Hypnosis has the positive psychological effect of altering perception. As has been demonstrated in this video, hypnosis can not only be useful in curing mental conditions but also in improving an individual’s way of thinking.
In this case, Silver is utilizing hypnosis to help the patient improve her performance by focusing her thoughts on the things she wants and where she wants to be instead of thinking of the things she does not want. By helping the patient develop positive thinking through hypnosis, Silver is actually helping Joyce increase her self confidence levels and success rates.
The other video that illustrates how the science of psychology can be helpful in understanding human behaviors and habits is Terry Gross’ “Fresh Air” interview of David Linden which explored the reasons behind the good feelings that accompany some common actions in almost everyone. In the interview that centered on his recently published book titled “The compass of pleasure,” Linden explains that the brain’s lack of ability to feel pleasure is what can be used to scientifically define addiction.
He further states in the interview that while most individuals can attain certain amounts of pleasure without overindulging in the activities that cause them pleasure, there are those individuals, particularly those with dopamine systems that are blunted, who are most likely to over indulge in pleasurable activities to attain the same level of pleasure that other individuals achieve with ease.
He gives an example of this by pointing out that while some individuals achieve pleasure after just two bottles of beer, there are those individuals who have to consume six bottles of beer to get to the same level of pleasure.
As the talk continues, Linden states that it is through the understanding of the science behind the brain’s perception of pleasure that can enable us to be in a better position to administer the proper treatment to those suffering from addictions.
The talk gets more interesting when Linden points out that most people who find themselves addicted to certain activities are driven by more than just the desire to engage in those actions. Rather, the need to satisfy a certain need also significantly contributes to turning a pleasurable activity into an addiction.
Dr Jill Bolte’s talk is yet another video that demonstrates the usefulness of having knowledge in psychology. In this video, Dr. Jill tells a story of how she experienced and recovered from a massive stroke and goes ahead to explain to her audience about what she learnt in relation to the meaning of life from this scary experience.
Not all patients who have experienced a massive brain stoke can have the ability to describe their experiences during the stroke and recovery period as lucidly as Dr. Jill does. Being Neuro-Anatomist who mostly deals with the human brain, Dr. Jill utilizes the knowledge she has gained over the years during her profession together with her experience to paint a clear picture of the functioning of the human brain after a massive stroke.
From the way Dr Jill explains how she felt during the stroke and the eight year recovery period, one gets to understand what individuals who have gone through a stroke feel like. It is from understanding such individuals and what they are going through that we can be able to help them deal with their situations.
She then encourages her audience to live a full life everyday and not to wait for a near death experience such as the one she faced to teach force then into consciousness. The talk is generally about the functioning of the human brain and how a stroke can interfere with the normal functioning of one’s brain.
Dr. Jill’s story is an authoritative talk that explores how the functioning of the human brain helps humans to connect with not only one another, but with the world as well. The information contained in this video can prove every helpful and insightful to an individual recovering from a stroke and to anyone who is helping such an individual recover.
Apart from videos, there are also numerous other materials that are readily available to individuals interested in enhancing their knowledge about psychology. One commonly read material that is related to psychology is the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
The DSM-IV and the editions that predeceased it are published by the American Psychological Association for the main purpose of providing clinicians with a well defined classification system that is based on objective and measurable criteria to make it easier to make reliable diagnoses of psychological disorders.
The DSM-IV describes mental disorders and barely attempts to account for how these disturbances come about. Specified diagnostic criteria are presented for each disorder and include a list of features that must be present for the diagnosis to be made.
The DSM-IV also systematically discusses each disorder in terms of its associated descriptors such as age, gender, prevalence, incidence and risk factors. The DSM-IV is basically intended for the purposes of classification and diagnosis and does not suggest therapies of treatment for the various forms of psychological conditions.
The DSM-IV utilizes a five-axis system that evaluates patients along several dimensions. The first and second axes make up the entire classification of mental disorders. Before a diagnosis is made, the patient should be subjected to the entire five-axis criteria for diagnosis.
The first axis of diagnosis is made up of conditions that fall under the category of clinical disorders and these include major depression and schizophrenia. The second axis is made up of personality and developmental disorders. Conditions such as mental retardation and autism are examples of those classified under developmental disorders paranoia and anti-social behaviors are classified as personality disorders.
The third axis is made up of physical disorders and other general medicinal conditions. The fourth axis is used to code psychosocial problems that contribute to a patient’s psychiatric problem. The data about these stressors are especially helpful during the development of patent treatment plans. Finally, the fifth axis is helpful in developing a global assessment of functioning (GAF) which is based on a continuum of health and illness, using a 100-point scale on which 100 the highest level of functioning.
Psychology is not only used to treat patients suffering from mental conditions but also in improving the quality of life of healthy individuals.
This essay has explored two videos illustrating different ways of applying psychology and an article that explores several steps that are taken in the diagnosis of a mental condition. The information in this essay illustrates the importance of possessing knowledge in psychology.
“Compass of pleasure: why some things feel so good.” Fresh Air 23 June 2011. Digital file.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).15 May, 2004. Web. 25 July 2011. < http://allpsych.com/disorders/dsm.html>
Seligman, Martin.”Martin Seligman on positive psychology.” Ted, July 2008. Digital file.
Silver, Andy. “How to do self-hypnosis.” e-how health. Digital file.
Taylor, Jill Bolte. “How it feels to have a stroke.” 13 March, 2008. You tube video