Saturday, April 13, 2013

Psychosis and Neurosis

If you like reading Psychology literatures, you've probably already encountered the terms psychosis and neurosis. Both imply an unhealthy psychology. But do you know what they exactly mean?

When you say psychosis, it refers to a mental state where a person experiences hallucination and delusion

Hallucination may involve any of the senses, such as vision and hearing. A hallucinating person sees, hears, smells, touches, or tastes objects that aren't really existing. Hallucination often occurs when a person is under the influence of drugs. That is why there are often cases when psychosis is induced by substance abuse. But hallucination also occurs due to other mental conditions that aren't substance-related.

On the other hand, delusion is an experience when an existing object is perceived differently. In other words, there is a distortion of reality. Besides the distortion of objects, a delusion may also refer to a distortion of thoughts, perception, and judgment. There are many types of delusions. Examples include delusion of grandeur, where one believes he or she has special powers, talents, or abilities, and delusion of persecution, where one believes he/she is being harmed by someone.

Having these symptoms make a person with psychosis dysfunctional. As being out of touch in reality makes it impossible for the person to function normally in society. 

Going on to neurosis, it is a cluster of behaviors that is manifested due to an emotional distress. Unlike psychosis, neurosis is experienced by everyone, with or without a mental illness, and may still be socially acceptable. There are many forms of neurosis, but all forms exist in response to stress or anxiety a person encounters. Examples include depression, aggression, low self-esteem, and phobia. Neurosis may also involve physical symptoms, such as excessive trembling and vomiting. The main difference of neurosis from psychosis is that the person experiencing neurosis is still in touch with reality.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Maybe you're a believer of prophecies. Or maybe you're one of the people who thinks prophecies are based on superstitions. But there is one psychological phenomenon that makes the prophecies real. It is called self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course, this does not include the acts of nature such as typhoons, earthquakes or floods. Self-fulfilling prophecy refers to your predictions about certain events around you. The expectation or belief you have leads you to act subconsiously toward fulfilling that prophecy.

For example, you may predict that today is a very unlucky day. Because of this, you tend to notice all the unlucky events that are happening to you, such as forgetting to bring enough money or getting caught in the traffic. You tend to feel negative already about your day and every little thing that doesn't go your way would make you believe more about that notion. Since you are already convinced that your day is indeed unlucky, you will tend to deal with your problems inefficiently, thus fulfilling the prophecy. On the other hand, believing that today is a great day would make you act positively toward events. As you go about your daily routine, even if you encounter some minor problems, you will tend to be proactive and address the problems effectively. Your positive attitude will also help you deal with people more effectively.

Yes, in other words, our attitudes in life play a very important role in the events to come. Many events are uncontrollable, but a big part of our fate depends on how we face it. So, don't forget to always wear a smile, and always think positively. Your mind is powerful enough to change your fate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Slips of the Tongue

There are moments when we blurt out words that we didn't really mean to express. Some of these blunders may be quite embarassing. These mistakes are often caused by our unconscious thoughts. A phenomenon often observed by Freud in his patients - thus the term Freudium slip, also called Parapraxis or Slip of the Tongue.

In pscyhoanalysis, slips of the tongue uncover your hidden wants, desires, and thoughts. Yes, sometimes, the tongue could betray the owner and divulge his/her darkest secrets. An example would be a female patient of Freud, relating her thoughts about a man: "I really never had anything against him. I never gave him the chance to cuptivate my acquaintance." Later on, Freud found out that she was romantically involved with the man, and her slip of the tongue "cuptivate" was accidentally expressed instead of the intended word "cultivate."

It's indeed an interesting way to learn about a person's real thoughts through slip of the tongue. But perhaps, a mistake is just a mistake. Not every slip of the tongue has deep psychoanalytical roots. For instance, when a female asked a man what would he like for breakfast. If he said "bed and butter" instead of "bread and butter," it may have a psychoanalytical explanation relating to the hidden urges of the man, or simply an honest grammatical error. Maybe the man was used to eating his bread while lying on bed? So when you hear a person blurt out the wrong words, it's best to not jump to conclusions too quickly. Asking further would help you learn more about the person's mind.

Do you have a memorable slip of the tongue experience? Share it by posting in the comment box below.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Defense Mechanism #4: Reaction Formation

What people show you may not be exactly what they feel. It is a common behavior for people to show the opposite of how they feel because of the fear of getting criticized. We are very complex creatures. We don't just hide what we feel. We show the opposite in order to make sure our feelings our safely concealed. This behavior is a defense mechanism called reaction formation.

We are very aware of this human nature and this could be clearly seen by the adage: "The more you hate, the more you love." Do you have a coworker who is extremely kind to you and treats you as a very special person for unknown reasons? Or perhaps you know someone who wants to pick a fight with you constantly? Maybe these unknown reasons are due to their defense mechanism.

Reaction formation could also be seen among media, political, or religious personalities showing an extreme stance on a certain issue. One example would be a person showing extreme hatred toward homosexuals, but is secretly a homosexual himself.

Reaction formation in an extreme form is unhealthy. It could be either a conscious or unconscious effort. A psychotic behavior could in fact be rooted by a reaction formation and thus should be addressed by the professional.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Organization Skills and Personality

In my earlier blog post, I have written about the different dimensions of personality based on Myers-Briggs Personality Types. One of these dimensions refer to a person's way to organize his/her environment: Judging and Perceiving.

To summarize, a Judger is highly organized and makes decisions quickly. A Perceiver is spontaneous, disorganized, and always keep options open, making him/her appear to be somewhat indecisive.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Difficult Situations for the Shy Child, and What You Could do as a Mentor

© Helen Shorey |
Being a shy girl myself has made me extra sensitive to those who are also shy. I have a very soft spot for the shy children, knowing that being shy in an extrovert-dominating community is a tough experience. Shy people have their own strengths as well that needed to be recognized. Doing many things that are easy for most people are quite difficult from the shy child's perspective, especially when there is a social aspect in the task.

If you are a parent or teacher, always be supportive of the shy child. They are very sensitive. Any kind of ridicule would force them to shut themselves. Doing things for the first time makes the child feel anxious, that's why a little gentle nudge plus words of encouragements are the ingredients to help the child develop into a healthy and confident person. Take note, don't attempt to take away shyness completely. It is a quality, not an abnormality. Embrace the child for who he/she is, yet help him/her reach out and develop self-confidence. That should be your goal as the child's mentor.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hindsight Bias: The I-Knew-It-Along Phenomenon

Psychology is a study of human behavior. People often think that it is all common sense. After all, who would have the best knowledge about human behavior other than human beings themselves? When I read online articles about psychological researches or studies, I always see comments of readers stating that those are a waste of time, and that the results are very obvious. Well, although I sometimes feel that way too, but psychology isn't about common sense. It is about understanding people the scientific approach. For instance, if a study reveals that people tend to marry those who are opposite to their personalities, confirming the cliche "opposites attract." People would think, "Ah! I knew it all along. It was very obvious." What if the study reveals otherwise, instead it proves that people tend to marry same-minded partners, confirming the saying about "birds of the same feather flock together?" Then people would jump to this belief, stating that it was what they knew all along.

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