The guidelines and standards that we follow in our professional activities are not set in stone. Change is a big part of life and new research or novel new theories can impact the way mental health professionals view problems. Although many of the ideas and diagnostic concepts in the field of abnormal psychology have persisted for hundreds of years, changes in thinking do occur. And, at some point there are events that occur that force a rethinking of some issues. Most recently in abnormal psychology, the publication of the DSM-5, after years of development and considerable controversy, is one of those momentous changes. Reflecting this, we have revised this new edition of Abnormal Psychology to reflect the most up-to-date information about diagnostic categories, classifications, and criteria.
Every time we work on a revision of Abnormal Psychology we are reminded of how dynamic and vibrant our field is. Developments in areas such as genetics, brain imaging, behavioral observation, and classification, as well changes in social and government policy and in legal decisions, add to our knowledge base and stimulate new treatments for those whose lives are touched by mental disorders. This is exciting. But the rapid progress of our field also presents its own challenges. One of the most important is how best to provide students with an integrated perspective— one that respects new ideas and discoveries and places them into the existing body of knowledge in a way that emphasizes multiple perspectives, provokes thought, and increases awareness.
We use a biopsychosocial approach to provide a sophisticated appreciation of the total context in which abnormalities of behavior occur. For ease of understanding we also present material on each disorder in a logical and consistent way. More specifically, we focus on three significant aspects: (1) the clinical picture, where we describe the symptoms of the disorder and its associated features; (2) factors involved in the development of the disorder; and (3) treatment approaches. In each case, we examine the evidence for biological, psychosocial (i.e., psychological and interpersonal), and sociocultural (the broader social environment of culture and subculture) influences. Because we wish never to lose sight of the person, we try to integrate as much case material as we can into each chapter. An additional feature of this book is a focus on treatment. Although treatment is discussed in every chapter in the context of specific disorders, we also include a separate chapter that addresses issues in treatment more broadly. This provides students with increased understanding of a wide range of treatment approaches and permits more in-depth coverage than is possible in specific disorder–based chapters.
The Butcher–Hooley–Mineka author team is in a unique position to provide students with an integrated and comprehensive understanding of abnormal psychology. Each author is a noted researcher, an experienced teacher, and a licensed clinician. Each brings different areas of expertise and diverse research interests to the textbook. Importantly, these different perspectives come together in a systematically integrated text that is accessible to a broad audience. The depth and breadth of the author team provides students with learning experiences that can take them to new levels of understanding. Our approach emphasizes the importance of research as well as the need to translate research findings into informed and effective clinical care for all who suffer from mental disorders.
Abnormal Psychology has a long and distinguished tradition as an undergraduate text. Ever since James Coleman wrote the first edition many years ago, this textbook has been considered the most comprehensive in the field. Along the way there have been many changes. However, the commitment to excellence in this now-classic textbook has remained ever constant. In this new edition, we seek to open up the fascinating world of abnormal psychology, providing students with comprehensive and up-todate knowledge in an accessible and engaging way. We hope that this newest edition conveys some of the passion and enthusiasm for the topic that we still experience every day.