1.2 Discussion. What Is Psychopathology
Getting Started
When we encounter a physical illness, such as an infection or a diagnosis of cancer, we have blood tests, scans, and other means to actually see the presence of something that is wrong. And we can measure the treatments (antibiotics or chemotherapy, among others) that we employ to see if these treatments are correcting or eradicating the problem. But mental health is concerned with less-tangible parts of daily living, such as disturbances of feeling and thought that manifest in problem behaviors. It’s easier to visualize the removal of a tumor than banish depression.
This invisible line between what is normal and abnormal has always been challenging for mental health professionals to determine. Take, for example, a person who feels depressed a year after the loss of a loved one. Is this length of time for grieving considered abnormal behavior or just a longer-than-average grieving process?
And what if we define  normal as the degree to which a person conforms to societal norms? Does that mean artists, inventors, songwriters, novelists, poets, entrepreneurs, or other nonconventional innovators would be considered abnormal because they choose to push against established societal norms to stretch the limits of imagination? When we diagnose someone with a mental disorder, we need to make sure we are not just saying they are different. We need to be much clearer about what characterizes mental illness than simply pointing out idiosyncratic behavior.
The history of mental health in America, even as recently as the first half of the twentieth century, is full of horror stories of mentally ill people being treated in unacceptable ways. Though we’ve come a long way since that time, there is still enormous stigma attached to those labeled mentally ill. The stigma is often reinforced by people who know little about mental health or have had bad experiences in the mental health system.
In this discussion, you will have the opportunity to wrestle with these issues of what constitutes normal versus abnormal behavior, how the stigma continues to live on in our culture, and how we might be able to push against this bias.
Upon successful completion of the course material, you will be able to:
· Discuss the concept of psychopathology and how it relates to stigma for those with mental health issues.

· Textbook:  Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal
· File: How to Write an Engaging Online Discussion Post
· Audio/Transcript: Speaking of Psychology: Fighting the stigma of mental illness, with Patrick Corrigan, PsyD
· Video & Transcript: Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness

Background Information
You should read Chapter 1 from the textbook and watch the videos “Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness” and “The Stigma of Mental Illness” before they begin the discussion. These resources will provide a solid base to jump-start some critical thinking for the discussion.

1. Read Chapter 1, “Classification in Historical Pastoral Care,” in your textbook.
2. Review the following videos (if you are not logged in to the Jackson Library site, you will be asked to do so):
a. Toward a New Understanding of Mental Illness  (13:00 minutes)
i. Transcript of the “Toward a New…” video .
b. Speaking of Psychology: Fighting the stigma of mental illness, with Patrick Corrigan, PsyD
i. A transcript is available on the website.
3. Review the file,  How to Write an Engaging Online Discussion Post .
a. Apply these guidelines to your weekly discussion posts.
4. Navigate to the Discussion page and respond to the following prompts:
a. How would you define the idea of mental illness in your own words?
b. What characteristics or behaviors distinguish a person who has a mental illness from someone who is simply struggling with issues that are considered normal?
c. Do you think there is a significant stigma in modern culture toward people who seek help for mental health issues?
i. Give an example to support your perspective.
d. In your experience, is the stigma about mental illness and getting psychological help stronger in churches, or is there more understanding and support in the church for this population? Explain.
5. Your initial post:
a. Should be between 400 to 500 words.
b. Is due by the end of the fourth day of the workshop.
6. Read and respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings, as well as instructor follow-up questions directed to you, by the end of the workshop.
7. Your postings should also:
a. Be well developed by providing clear answers with evidence of critical thinking.
b. Add greater depth to the discussion by introducing new ideas.





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