How might culture contribute to the definition of pathology and mental illness? We generally define

How might culture contribute to the definition of pathology and mental illness?

We generally define abnormal behavior by three criteria. First, we look to see if the behavior deviates significantly from what is considered normal. Second, we look to see if the behavior is causing trouble in the person’s interpersonal or professional world, or if it has legal consequences. Lastly, we assess the level of distress the behavior is causing the individual. The person’s culture would be a very important consideration for assessing whether or not a behavior is deviant. What may be considered normal in one culture may be considered abnormal in another. Our personal beliefs can also affect how we as practitioners view certain issues surrounding mental illness. For example, if a client states that they have seen an angel that has spoken to them, has that client had a profoundly religious experience, or has the client had visual and auditory hallucinations associated with some sort of psychosis? How you answer that question may be greatly affected by your own personal beliefs.

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