Free Essay Example: Psychological Theory and Practice

Published: 2022-03-24 07:57:21
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Psychological evaluation is a vital part of psychology. It is carried out through the use of different assessment tools that are used in measuring and observing a person's behavior in a bid to make a diagnosis and create a treatment guide. People may have different issues, and the underlying cause is not always apparent. Therefore, it is essential for psychologists to carry out psychological evaluations on them for them to comprehend the nature of their problems and consequently determine the best way of dealing with the issues. Psychological assessment is vital in problem identification (Haynes, 1998). In this case, Max's problem is not readily identifiable because it is secondary so there is a need to carry out psychological tests and assessments to identify the issues.

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Psychological tests and assessments are two different things that psychologists use. Psychological testing involves using formal tests to identify the cause of various problems. Incidentally, psychologists use checklists and questionnaires which they provide to the patients in the evaluation process. These are referred to as norm-referenced tests. These tests are customarily standardized to ensure that all the people who take these tests are evaluated in the same way regardless of who administers the tests and where they are administered (Haynes, 1998). These tests have been developed and seen to be effective by researchers for the measurement of different disorders or traits in patients.

Conversely, a psychological assessment is made up of different components. The components include interviews, medical records, informal surveys, and tests, as well as observational data and medical information (Weiner, Schinka & Velicer, 2003). Psychological assessment is vital because it determines whether a patient should be treated or not, the factors that affect a person's behavior problems, whether people need to be hospitalized or not, and the best strategy to address a client's issues.

In this case, the psychologist should conduct a clinical interview with Max. This will aid in showing the way that he thinks, how he interacts with other people, and how he reasons. The psychologist can ask him what concerns he has about alien police officers. The patient will hence provide information about what he sees or hears and how he thinks it is going to impact him and the society. Once the psychologist has received this information, it should be stored for future reference and to determine whether Max's data will be consistent with future assessments.

Clinical interviews can take place either orally or through the use of computers. These interviews are mainly aimed at getting the patient's demographic information. However, they can also contain structured diagnostic interview questions that aid in giving the psychologist the first diagnostic impression. I would conduct a clinical interview with Max in a bid to form my clinical impressions. I would hence carry out a direct conversation with him to observe his reactions and attitude when answering the different questions.

The psychologist should also interview other people close to Max. For instance, both his parents should be questioned separately to ensure that they provide their honest opinions that are unbiased. Before the interviews are conducted there should be written consent from the patient but since Max is a minor, his parents can make this decision on his behalf.

I would then carry out a personality assessment with Max to better comprehend his personality. Personality refers to many different factors that have developed throughout a person's life. These traits mainly develop in childhood and early adulthood. A single factor does not shape people's personalities, but they are influenced by social, environmental, and generic components. Personality tests thus take this complexity into account.

There are two main types of personality tests. These are the objective and the projective tests. I would use objective criteria when dealing with Max. The test that I would use is the MMP1-2 which is a true or false test that aids in measuring dysfunction in a person's personality. This personality test was designed to aid in finding a psychiatric diagnostic label that suited an individual best. It is hence not a measure of positive or healthy traits (Weiner, Schinka & Velicer, 2003). The reason why I would use this specific personality test on Max is that his thoughts and behavior are harmful and unhealthy and this caused him to end up hurting two police officers.

The MMPI-2 is used to measure different personality traits such as psychopathology, social introversion, hypomania, and paranoia among others. The test works by connecting the answers that a person provides with many questions that are distributed throughout the test that correlate either positively or negatively with a particular characteristic. This type of test is difficult to fake since the questions are not related to the trait they are correlated to in a direct manner (Weiner, Schinka & Velicer, 2003). Max would administer this test by himself using a computer. This test would thus aid in determining Max's mental status and therefore determine if he has suicidal, homicidal, or psychotic tendencies.

Finally, I would conduct a behavioral assessment on Max. This is the process whereby I would observe his actual behavior and measure it in a bid to comprehend the response and the thoughts behind it. This will enable me to identify possible triggers for specific actions (Fernandez-Ballesteros, 2001). Through this process, Max's behavior can be tracked and consequently changed in the future. When observing his response, I would take notes throughout the process to ensure that all the information is well recorded concerning the positive and negative reactions Max depicts and the causes of the different actions. This will give me a good idea of what needs to change for a new, better, and healthier behavior to be observed.

Thus, it is evident that psychological assessment uses different types of tests, techniques, and procedures that aid in enabling the psychologist to comprehend a person better. After I complete this process, I would take some time to carry out data analysis and interpretation, and then compile Max's assessment report. In case the report is inconclusive, additional tests should be conducted to ensure that the results obtained are correct.

Part B

The DSM-5 provides different criteria that can be used in determining whether people have various issues. An avoidant Personality disorder is depicted by the presence of pathological traits and the impairments in interpersonal and self-functioning. The criteria that must be met in the diagnosis of personality disorder include the presence of pathological characteristics and significant impairments in interpersonal traits and self-identity. Additionally, one is said to have a personality disorder if their personality functionality changes in a way that is not considered to be normal based on the person's stage of development and their socio-cultural environment. Max has a personality disorder because his interpersonal behavior changed because he started being withdrawn in high school yet he was very friendly and outgoing in elementary and middle school. Moreover, he stopped interacting with his fellow students in high school which is the stage of life where people make friends and create relationships with other students.

Max also depicted antisocial personality disorder. According to the DSM-5 criteria, the criteria that must be met to diagnose this disorder include lack of concern for other people and an inability to have mutually intimate relationships with other people. He shot at two police officers and seriously injured them. Additionally, Max depicted different pathological personality traits in different domains. Disinhibition is characterized by people who show different characteristics such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, and risk-taking (American Psychiatric Association, 2012). Max was irresponsible when he went to the police station carrying a firearm. He was also impulsive when he began shooting at police in the station. Finally, he took a risk by walking into the station with a gun and when he started shooting. This shows that he has the trait of disinhibition. He also depicted characteristics of antagonism. The DSM-5 provides four criteria that together display this trait. These include hostility, callousness, deceitfulness, and manipulation (American Psychiatric Association, 2012). Max's actions exhibit all these traits which means that he is antagonistic. Thus, it is clear that Max had an antisocial personality disorder.

He also showed traits of avoidant personality disorder. This is demonstrated by pathological personality traits in detachment. Max was withdrawn. He avoided social contact and avoided social activity. He was also characterized by intimacy avoidance due to his withdrawal. Finally, he had the trait of anhedonia. This is the situation whereby he fails to enjoy life's experiences. Finally, he had a narcissistic personality disorder. He had traits such as self-direction. This is the behavioral trait where he sets goals and is unaware of his motivations. He does not entirely understand what makes him carry out the activities that he does. He also lacks empathy for his actions. This is shown where he goes to the police station and begins shooting at the police officers without caring about how this will affect the officers themselves, their families or the society. He also depicts signs of grandiosity where he feels entitled to correct the situation by harming the police officers. Finally, he shows the trait of attention-seeking where he seeks admiration and thus attempts to be the focus of attention by shooting police officers (American Psychiatric Association, 2012).

Legal Theory and Application

Part A

Psychology is seen in all aspects of life. Different aspects of life can explain Max's behavior. It can be described using learning, biological and social theories. One biological theory that can explain Max's action is a psychodynamic approach to personality. This combines different theories in human functioning to explain motives behind the various human behavior. According to Sigmund Fred, all behavior comes from either internal or external motivation (Michaelsen, 2016). Max's reaction where he shoots down a police station came from his inner conviction that police were non-human, and they were trying to take over the world and seize all human beings.

One learning theory that Max followed to some extent is the Operant Conditioning theory. According to this theory, learning happens when different behaviors are accompanied either by punishment or reinforcement. The approach also asserts that the consequences of any action must follow it quickly (Vargas, 2014). Max believed that the police officers were going to kill very many innocents and all government leaders. Thus he took it upon himself to punish the policemen soon after he had these thoughts.

The third theory, which is a social theory, is the attribution theory. This theory concerns the manner in which people make use of information to come up with causal explanations for different events. The attribution theory evaluates existing data and combines it to create a judgment (Malle, 2011). This theory hence asserts that people always use cause and effect relationships even in cases where they do not exist. In this case, Max saw the cause as the alien police being placed on earth. He viewed the effect as the death of millions of people as well as all politicians. To prevent this cause and effect relationship, he took it upon himself to stop the cycle by going into the police station and firing his father's magnum .357 and ended up se...

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