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Definitions of



Statistical infrequency: top / bottom 2% is abnormal e.g. IQ

Deviation from social norms; culture and time bound

Failure to function adequately; cannot cope with demands of living, observer discomfort 

Deviation from Ideal Mental Health: Jahoda (1958) positive criteria, e.g. self actualisation


- Lack of cultural relativism 

+/- Real world application

+/- Distinguishes between helpful and unhelpful behaviour?

+/- Subjectivity v objectivity

Behavioural approach to treating phobias


Systematic desensitisation

Gradual exposure

Based on reciprocal inhibition

Anxiety hierarchy with therapist

Relaxation until CS-CR link replaced - counter conditioning


Immediate exposure

Cannot avoid - quick learning through extinction


+ SD is effective (Gilroy 2003) 42 ppt with spider phobia

+ SD suitable for diverse ppt

+ Flooding is cost effective - NHS

- High attrition rates flooding

Biological approach to explaining OCD



Inherit a genetic predisposition

Polygenic, 230 candidate genes (Taylor, 2013) aetiologically heterogenous

COMT gene - low COMT enzyme -high dopamine (obsessions)

SERT gene - high protein - low serotonin (anxiety)


Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters - high dopamine = compulsion / low serotonin = anxiety 

Worry circuit - OFC sends worry messages to thalamus. Damaged caudate nucleus does not suppress the messages


+ Nedstadt (2010) concordance rates of 68% MZ / 31% DZ

- Cromer (2007) 1/2 of OCD ppts experienced trauma

+ SSRIs are effective at reducing symptoms (link to serotonin)

+ Menzies (2007) brain scans of OCD and family members - both had reduced grey matter

+ Biologically deterministic

Phobias, depression & OCD

AO1 only


Behavioural: Panic and avoidance

Emotional: Anxiety and fear

Cognitive: Irrational beliefs and cognitive distortions


Behavioural: Reduced activity, changes to eating/ sleeping

Emotional: Low mood, anger, low self esteem

Cognitive: Poor concentration, negative biases


Behavioural: External compulsions and avoidance

Emotional: Anxiety and distress

Cognitive: Internal obsessions, aware of irrationality

Cognitive approach to explaining depression


Dysfunctional thinking leads to depression

Beck - Faulty thinking e.g. black-white thinking, negative triad: negative schemas of self, world and future

Ellis - ABC Model: irrational beliefs around events - Activating event, Belief, Consequence

Mustabatory thinking - ''I must''


+ Grazzioli & Terry (2007) - 65 pregnant women

+ Real life application to CBT / REBT

- Reductionist - ignores biology

- Blames the client and ignores situation

- Ellis' model can only explain reactive depression

Biological approach to treating OCD


SSRIs: Prevents reuptake of serotonin as blocks the transporter & increases serotonin in synapse

e.g. Prozac - Fluoxetine - 20mg - 3 months to impact

Can be used with CBT

SNRIs: Works as above but on serotonin and noradrenaline and more side effects

Anti-anxiety drugs: Targets GABA (inhibitory) by increasing the activity

e.g. Benzodiazepines Valium

Can be addictive so given in small quantities


+ Soomro (2009) - 17 studies SSRIs - 70% effective

+ Cost effective and non disruptive

- Side effects e.g. vision, sex drive

- Publication bias due to funding from pharmaceuticals

Behavioural approach to explaining phobias


Two process model (Mowrer, 1960)

Acquisition by CC

NS is paired with UCS which creates a CS-CR link

Little Albert - generalisation

Maintenance by OC

Negative reinforcement - avoidance is rewarded with no fear


+ Real world application - treatments of phobias

- Does not consider cognitions e.g. social phobias

- Ignores evolutionary factors (Bounton, 2007)

Cognitive approach to treating depression


Identify and challenge irrational thoughts, involves homework e.g. thought diaries, client as scientist

Beck: Identify and challenge neg thoughts about self, world and future

Ellis: Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy adds Dispute, Effective new belief to ABC Model

Logical, empirical, pragmatic disputing


+/- March (2007) 81% CBT, 86% CBT and drug therapy

- Relies on being motivation but symptom is avolition

- Too focused on thinking and not clients environment

- Not suitable if deep rooted childhood trauma


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