The multidimensional approach we learned in one of the first few chapters is, in my opinion, one of the biggest, most critical concepts that we used in this course and a concept that really applies to the field of psychology as a whole. I wrote about it in my first learning assessment and still feel that it is a critical piece of the ‘take home message’ for this class. When thinking about the causes, diagnosis and treatment for an individual, the multidimensional approach is the answer! Looking at multiple factors that could have contributed to the development of the disorder and recognizing that it is probably going to have many factors involved is important because different causes may need different treatments and it is also extremely helpful when searching for ways to prevent the disorder. Also, this concept is really the foundation for other concepts like the diathesis-stress model and reciprocal-gene model which recognize that there are multiple causes for disorders and explain how those factors working together can lead to the symptoms of a disorder.
Some things from the current unit that really shocked me and I feel are worthy of ‘most influential’ were 1.) that an individual with a ‘mental illness’ is only just as likely to be violent as a ‘normal’ person, not more likely, and 2.) that the insanity defense is only successful less than 1% of the time. Both of these things are not adequately portrayed in the media.
In horror films, the person that is committing all of the violent acts is often also implied as having a mental dysfunction of some kind. Usually, the disorder isn’t specifically stated but it is usually clear that they are psychologically impaired. Some films that come to mind are Halloween, Psycho and The Butterfly Effect. It’s really easy to see why people would believe that people with a mental illness would be more likely to commit a crime or ‘go crazy’ than a ‘normal’ person because like others, I had assumed that individuals with mental illness were more likely to commit violent crimes because of the movies that I’ve seen and because I had never questioned the matter or been told otherwise.
The insanity defense was something that really surprised me because I witnessed several negative conversations about it prior to this course especially among my family and family friends in my hometown. Most of the time the conversation would come up after a breaking news story about someone who was pleading insane. Now that I know this information, I can inform others about the misconception they’ve fallen prey to. Overall, these two things have further emphasized that I shouldn’t make assumptions but should question and research to find out if the stereotypical ideas and information that I’ve always accepted to be true really is. I believe that this don’t only apply to abnormal behavior but applies to many other things in life as well. It’s something that I need to constantly keep in the back of my mind to pull out when I see or hear something and I’m not necessarily sure the evidence behind it.
My biggest piece of advice to future students is DON’T take it for granted if you do well on the first exam or any exam for that matter. I did well on the first exam and thought that future exams were going to be as easy and require the same amount of studying as that one. Because of that, I started making the readings my last priority and ended up doing poorly on the following exam. PLEASE do not do that! It will hurt your understanding of the material and your grade.
Second, be sure to read the entire syllabus! I didn’t read the part in the syllabus that said we were tested over the current two chapters AND the previous two chapters until the third exam which really hurt me when I took the second one because I had forgotten some of the material that we covered in the first unit.
Last, go to class! It only meets twice a week and during the meeting times you will discuss concepts that are likely to be on exam. I didn’t miss and I feel that if I had it would have hurt my understanding of the material that we were covering and I could have potentially missed a quiz or an in class assignment which are both worth points and are both unannounced.