Term Paper: Development of Abnormal Disorder

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From a psychoanalytic perspective, Lamanda is suffering from ego identity confusion (Erikson, 1968) that is manifesting itself in symptoms of depression, marked by a lack of interest, anxiety and social isolation. Her ego identity confusion is primary rooted in her biracial status (half African-American and half Caucasian) and also slightly by her experimentation with bisexuality and her transition from being unattractive to attractive.

In its clinical sense, ego psychology is most often associated with Sigmund Freud, who developed the theory of the id, the ego and the superego. Repression also plays a major role in psychoanalytic theory (Goldstein, 1995). Lamanda may be repressing the anger she has about being teased in school for being biracial, about a much older authority figure making sexual advances toward her, and resentment towards her parents for subjecting her to the difficulties of being an interracial child. Repressed anger can manifest itself in the types of symptoms of depression that Lamanda is exhibiting.


In the vein of behavioral theories, Lamanda's depression is part of a stimulus-response process that can be redirected by altering her reactions to stimuli (Taylor, 2005). For example, by altering her behavior and applying for jobs that she is worthy of and will enjoy, Lamanda will be taking steps towards eliminating the anxiety associated with her waitress job. From a behavioral perspective, there is no need to analyze why Lamanda has chosen destructive behaviors; she simply needs to change those behaviors in order for her life and well-being to improve (Taylor, 2005).

Additionally, through classical conditioning, a concept developed by Ivan Pavlov, Lamanda's behaviors can be changed by providing a stimulus that is associated with positive behaviors. For example, if she rewards herself with a day off of her waitress job for every five "better" jobs she applies for, she will be more likely to apply for more jobs and eventually obtain one.


Cognitive theories make a distinction between practical problems and emotional problems (Kohlberg, 1971). From a cognitive perspective, it is the thought process and the decision-making process that explain Lamanda's behaviors. For example, Lamanda has come to associate social interaction with anxiety. Therefore it is her thought process (i.e. The formation of this association) that shapes her behaviors (i.e. her lack of social interaction). By altering her thought process, Lamanda will, from a cognitive standpoint, then be able to then alter her behaviors.

Cognitive and behavioral theories are often combined into cognitive-behavioral theories, which form a basis for developmental theories such as Jean Piaget's (1963). From this perspective, as Lamanda's thought processes begin to mature and progress through the various stages of development, her ability to process and apply information in a helpful manner will improve. She will learn, for example, that choosing romantic relationships with males who are unable to commit has become a pattern in her life. Once she has reached this cognitive level of awareness,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Development of Abnormal Disorder.  (2010, July 11).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/development-abnormal-disorder/847547

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