Essay on Identify 3 Models of Psychopathology. Critically Examine Their Application in Clinical Practice

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 891

Psychopathology is the study of unusual mental conditions, behaviors, and experiences that are mostly known to be abnormal. The study examines the functioning of the mental and cognitive state of an individual using a variety of models. During psychopathology studies, there are examinations of several behavioral conditions of a person; these include concentration problems, mood changes, and other health problems. The models of psychopathology include the biological model, cognitive model, psychodynamic model, among others.

Biological Model

To begin with, the biological model is an approach for psychopathology for identification of the physical and organic causes of the disorder. This mostly focuses on genetics, neurological factors, physiological, and other biological description of the causes of the disorder. The model is used by identifying the physical damage related to the brain of the patient, the identification of a physical injury on the brain will be searched and detected, and this will help in the treatment of the psychopathology (Fowles, 1993). This model is mostly used by medical physicians and psychiatrists compared to psychologists. The model offers a way of identifying the outward signal of the abnormal behavior of the patient. The health professional mostly interviews the patient for assessment which includes questions and examining the patient to check for physical signs, the psychiatrist is then able to identify physical signs during diagnosis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) specified some ways to diagnose a psychopathological condition; these include clinical interview, observing the behavior, mood, among other conditions of the patients carefully, the use of medical record and psychometric testing of the patient and prescribing treatment drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, or psychosurgery. Treatment using drugs are mostly used by psychiatrists over the years (McLeod, 2018).

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Behavioral Learning Model

More so, the behavioral model of psychopathology is the relationship between the patient’s behavior and the modeled abnormal behavior. This model identifies the tendency to exhibit abnormal behavior by learning from another person. The disorder of the patient is compared between the model and the patients to identify the similarity between them (Maximino & van der Staay, 2019). The examination is vertical and horizontal, thus, the horizontal analysis provides the similarities and differences between the model and the patient. Vertical relation provides the direct cause of the exhibited abnormal behavior. The behavior model uses behavioral therapies or modifications using the classical or operant conditioning theories. This is mostly done by psychologists, there is a pairing of a good stimulus with learned behavior, over time, the patients will be able to cultivate good behavior and the pairing of bad behavior with a painful stimulus will be able to reduce or remove the patient bad behavior. Also, the punishment of bad behavior and rewarding of good behavior will be able to help the patient acquire the right behavior. The psychologist or psychiatrist can use aversion therapy to make the patient adjust to good behavior (McLeod, 2019). The model is used with limited ethical problems which can be seen in the biological model. This model is mostly centered on the behavior of the patient and the cultural background of the patient, and when the behavior does not bring about any problem to people, it is not seen as a disorder. The model does not focus on the causes of the abnormal behavior but mostly focuses on the symptom of the behavior (McLeod, 2017).

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Cognitive model

The cognitive model of psychopathology relates to the mental or cognitive malfunctioning that is experienced by a patient, this mostly brings about poor thinking, planning, and mental processes of the individual. The model is able to assess the relationship between one’s cognition and the psychopathological problems exhibited by the patient. McLeod, (2018) the way a person thinks can be a major determinant of a psychological disorder. The cognitive model is able to relate and examine the mental state of a patient of psychopathology ranging from the perception, comprehension, attention, problem-solving, and other mental skills of the patient. This model enables psychologists to explain how a disorder occurred and the relationship or comparison between the brain and cognition of patients of psychopathology. This is helpful mostly for making a well-developed therapy session for the patient. The cognitive model is able to help patients think differently and help them get a positive mindset. A common treatment in the cognitive model is the RET also known as rational-emotive therapy (McLeod, 2018). This therapy is done by changing the abnormal thought of the patient by providing an emotional condition to elicit the patient’s cognitive state and change abnormal thoughts and disorder.


Fowles, D. C. (1993). Biological Variables in Psychopathology. Psychopathology Handbook, 57-59. Retrieved from SpringerLink.

Maximino, C., & van der Staay, F. J. (2019, March 01). Behavioral models in psychopathology: epistemic and semantic considerations. Retrieved from BMC: Behavioral and Brain Functions:

McLeod, S. A. (2017, Febuary 05). Behaviorist Approach. Retrieved from Simple Psychology:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, Febuary 05). Cognitive Dissonancce. Retrieved from Simply Psychology:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, August 05). The Medical Model. Retrieved from Simply Psychology:

McLeod, S. A. (2019, Jan 03). Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from Simple Psychology:

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