Psychopathology is a field of psychology that concerns with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. In the United States, psychopathologists accept the standard for defining various types of mental disorder; that is American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most important thing to keep in mind when one diagnoses a patient is that no one element of abnormality is sufficient in and of itself to define abnormality. In other words, if a patient shows more symptoms shown in the DSM, the patient is more likely to be diagnosed as the disorder. Thus, it is necessary to update/edit the DSM since new psychological disorders have been discovering every year.
Then, we may possibly ask these questions: who determines who has mental disorders? Who makes the standard in the DSM?
For the last couple of decades, it has been an issue who would define the standard in the DSM and determine one’s mental status. As illustrated in this example, giving a meaning to a phenomena shown in one’s daily life can even define the person’s life. For example, homosexuality was defined as a psychological disorder in DSM-I (first edition). The homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973. During 1970’s, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began and eventually shouted down and ridiculed psychologists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. This protest resulted in removal of homosexuality in the DSM-III (third edition).
Logotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that is proposed by a psychologist Victor Frankl. Unlike all other psychodynamic theories at that period, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. Some basic principles of logotherapy are as follow:
- Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
- Our main motivating for living is our will to find meaning in life.
- We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.
Frankl suggested that it may be psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. Religion let us give a meaning to our life and to all disorders that we have. The power that we get from our prayer allows us to see our life in a different perspective. We, Christians, discover this meaning in life through the Bible. We mustn’t live our lives by the power of our knowledge, but by GOD’s words.
Luke 6:28 — Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Abnormal Psychology, 14th edition
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV).