Previously published in examier
Mental health issues are often different from legal issues and are analyzed and judged differently as well.
Is a killer born or made? Is a thug born or made? These are the basic questions that personality theorists try to answer. Certain personality types tend to act in a certain way.
This concept will become clearer as the series progresses. However for now, suffice to say, generally speaking, the function of a mental health professional is not to judge and hand out a punishment the way the court system deals with offenders. Instead the purpose of a mental health professional is to offer support, therapy, education, coping skills and tools to create self awareness for the people who need this kind of help.
Nurture versus nature debate of the past
According to nature theorists, we inherited our personalities from our parents, thus if a parent was a murderer a child would be one too. There was no room for thinking that the child could possibly turn out differently Psychobiologists purported that our DNA was responsible for personality. Social psychologists
who believed the opposite in the great psychology debate of nurture versus nature said that our genes had very little to do with our personalities. It was our environment that played a key roll in fashioning our personalities.
Both these camps raised important issues on personality development and subsequently how the mentally ill could be treated. The implications of nature suggested that are personalities were predestined and there was no room for change.
The camp that favoured nurture, proposed that personalities could be molded and children from even the worst families could grow up be good people if they were given the right education, family environment and tools to grow up as mental stable individuals. The issue of change became extremely important to the psychologists known as client centered psychologists and humanists. This meant that even a bad person could become good, even a mentally ill person could be cured and an uneducated person could learn with a proper education.
No one saw that there were elements of truth within both paradigms. No one seemed to see the necessity of both components for personality development. Today that issue is dead; most psychologists will say that both factors are key to personality development.
to be continued