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Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health

4. Historical Views on Mental Health

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In this lecture, we explore the history of views on mental health, focusing in particular on: (i) contextualising these into three key models – the supernatural, the medical/biological, and the psychological; (ii) the supernatural model, outlining its historical association with spirits and demons, as well as violent treatments; (iii) the medical model, starting with its use of asylums to house those deemed mental ill, or simply socially deviant; (iv) two important milestones in the progress of the medical model during the 20th century: the use of electroconvulsive therapies and the development of antipsychotic, antianxiety and antidepressant medications; (v) three key psychological models: Freud’s psychoanalytical perspective, Rogers’ humanistic model and Beck’s cognitive behavioural model.


In this course, Dr Jude Stevenson (University of Glasgow) explores concepts of mental health. In the first lecture, we look at what abnormality means. In the second lecture, we approach the practice of diagnostic labelling, discussing both the positives and negatives of doing this, as well as walking through two key databases used to do it officially. Next, we take a deep dive into Rosenhan’s 1973 paper ‘On Being Sane in Insane Places’ which investigated the legitimacy of psychiatric diagnoses, with some concerning results. In the fourth and final lecture, we take a walk through the history of understanding mental ill health, contextualising the timeline into three primary models – the supernatural model, the medical model, and the cognitive behavioural model.


Dr Jude Stevenson is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Glasgow, with a primary focus on mental health and well-being. Dr Stevenson’s research centres around body focused repetitive behaviours and is a UK ambassador for the TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours. Some of Dr Stevenson’s recent publications include 'Social media peer support groups for obsessive-compulsive and related disorders: understanding the predictors of negative experiences' (2021) and 'Pathogen disgust predicts stigmatization of individuals with mental health conditions' (2020).

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APA style

Stevenson, J. (2021, November 30). Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health - Historical Views on Mental Health [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stevenson, J. "Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health – Historical Views on Mental Health." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021,

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