January 17, 2010
Chapter Three Reflection
The ambiguity between various mental disorders is just as ambiguous as the line between abnormal and normal behavior. Since the names and classification of these disorders are man made, we can make them as specific or hazy as we want. If the patient is experiencing this but not this, it becomes a different disorder, and that sort of thing. The only problem is that thinking at a somewhat unconscious level can occur- the therapist may be asking questions that make the patient think they do have it, or suggest something that could have happened, sometimes even causing the patient to believe they have had that experience, even if it didn’t happen. I just keep going back to the original idea that the lines between what is right/wrong, a disorder/normal mental patterns, and other such pairs can be incredibly blurry.
Applying this idea specifically to the chapter, even a well-designed classification system can be vague, especially if the therapist doesn’t have a complete sample of behavior to work with. In the MMPI-2, the various scales are divided clearly, but the criteria within the scales can bleed into others. In addition to some of the more concrete classification systems, one must also consider all the types of tests that are used in determining abnormal behavior. Rorschach’s inkblot test is the first that comes to my mind (partially because I am a Watchmen fan, and partially because it is a well-known test), but I’d say it’s not necessarily a good choice for determining abnormal thought processes. “Projection” and those kind of pseudo-science terms don’t lend much validity to the tests. Personally, the survey tests that are spoken by the therapist (in order to watch the reaction time/reaction/etc of the patient) and answered by the patient seem the most rational and reliable.