Guest Lecture: What is abnormal?
Do you think you know what is abnormal? Well, hopefully by the end of this talk you won't!
In this our final connection, I taped a lecture on culture and mental health for Prof. Felmban's Cross Cultural Psychology class.
1. What Criteria Should We use? I first discussed the various criteria that have been put forth to understand abnormality, best conceptualized as the 4 Ds (eg deviancy, distressing, dysfunctional and dangeriousness), and discuss the shortcomings of each criteria.
2. Is distress, and the way that it is expressed, universal (etic) or culturally specific (etic?) Next, I tried to help students understand distress using emic and etic approaches by further analyzing the cultural idiom of distress known as ataques de nervios.
3. Analysis of Culturally Specific Form of Distress. Then I discussed the 4Ds in relation to ataques
4. What type of help should I give? And finally discussed various ways to treat this form of distress that use etic (eg use of behavioral and cognitive techniques to lower arousal) and emic (eg use of rubbing alcohol) to help lower emotional arousal.
The hope is that students come away with a more nuanced idea of distress that does not simply reduce illness to purely biological dysfunction.
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