To successfully complete this discussion,REQUIRED ARTICLE A…

To successfully complete this discussion, REQUIRED ARTICLE  AND VIDEO: IS “ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY” REALLY ALL THAT ABNORMAL? How mental illness changed human history – for the better: David Whitley at TEDxManhattanBeach MUST USE RESOURCES PROVIDED! PLUS TEXTBOOK AND ANOTHER ARTICLE THAT ARE ATTACHED!

Title: Is “Abnormal Psychology” Truly Abnormal?

The field of abnormal psychology explores psychopathology and mental disorders. It aims to understand the causes, manifestations, and treatment of mental illnesses. However, an interesting argument arises when considering whether abnormal psychology is genuinely abnormal. This essay will critically examine the article “Is ‘Abnormal Psychology’ Really All That Abnormal?” by Scott Lilienfeld and the TEDx talk by David Whitley titled “How Mental Illness Changed Human History – for the Better.” Additionally, it will incorporate relevant information from the provided textbook and another attached article to present a comprehensive analysis of abnormal psychology.

Scott Lilienfeld’s arguments:
Lilienfeld’s article challenges the assumption that abnormal psychology is indeed abnormal. He contends that many of the characteristics attributed to mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are prevalent within the general population. The author emphasizes that the degree to which these traits are categorized as abnormal depends on cultural, historical, and social factors. These factors determine the line between normalcy and abnormality. Lilienfeld’s argument highlights the subjectivity inherent in the concept of abnormal psychology.

Insight from David Whitley’s TEDx talk:
Whitley’s TEDx talk explores the idea that society benefits from the presence of mental illness. He argues that mental illnesses drive creativity, innovation, and contribute to societal development. Whitley presents historical examples of renowned figures who faced mental health challenges while making significant contributions to art, science, and literature. He suggests that the abnormal traits associated with mental disorders allow individuals to view the world through different perspectives, thereby fostering unique thinking and advancements.

Integration of textbook and additional article:

1. Textbook insight:
In the textbook, “Principles of Abnormal Psychology,” Barlow and Durand delve into the understanding and classification of abnormal behavior. They discuss the historical evolution of how mental disorders were conceptualized and categorized. Barlow and Durand reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a framework for classifying mental disorders, acknowledging the subjectivity involved in determining what constitutes as abnormal within various cultural contexts.

2. Additional article:
The additional attached article prompts further reflection on the relationship between abnormal psychology and cultural factors. Within this article, the concept of cultural relativism is explored. It argues that definitions of abnormal behavior vary across cultures and societies, suggesting that what is considered abnormal in one culture may be normal in another. The article emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity when diagnosing and treating mental disorders, emphasizing a need to consider cultural influences that shape individuals’ experiences of distress and functioning.


Lilienfeld’s argument that abnormal psychology is not truly abnormal is supported by the prevalence of certain traits associated with mental disorders within the general population. However, this argument raises questions about the cutoff between normalcy and abnormality. While it is true that certain factors, such as anxiety and depression, are common experiences, a diagnosis of a mental disorder often rests on the severity and impairment caused by these experiences. Additionally, cultural, historical, and social factors undoubtedly influence the categorization and interpretation of abnormal behavior.

Whitley’s TEDx talk introduces a thought-provoking perspective by suggesting that mental illnesses have contributed positively to society. He argues that some abnormal characteristics, when harnessed, can foster innovation and creativity. While his examples offer valuable insights, it is essential to consider the potential downside of mental illness, as it can significantly impact individuals’ quality of life and functioning. Not all individuals with mental disorders are able to channel their difficulties into positive outcomes, and many require support and treatment to alleviate their suffering.

The textbook highlights how the understanding and classification of abnormal behavior have evolved over time. The DSM provides a framework for identifying and diagnosing mental disorders. However, cultural contexts must be considered to reduce bias in diagnosis and ensure cultural sensitivity in treatment practices. This acknowledgment highlights the influence of cultural relativism on the perception and identification of abnormal behavior.

The additional article reinforces the importance of cultural factors in understanding abnormal behavior. By challenging the universalization of abnormality, it emphasizes the need for cross-cultural perspectives in mental health diagnosis and treatment. It illuminates the diverse interpretations and expressions of distress and functioning across cultures, emphasizing the role of cultural sensitivity in providing effective mental healthcare.

In conclusion, the arguments presented by Lilienfeld, Whitley, the textbook, and the additional article demonstrate that abnormal psychology is a nuanced and multifaceted field. While Lilienfeld challenges the perception of abnormal psychology as “abnormal,” Whitley considers the potential benefits of mental illness in society. It becomes apparent that cultural factors play a significant role in diagnosing and interpreting abnormal behavior. Reflecting on these perspectives fosters a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding the field of abnormal psychology.