Personality/Clinical/ DSM IV

Personality and Clinical Psychology



  • Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us
  • While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone
  • Personality research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain personality traits develop.
  • Definition:
    • Personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique.
    •  In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life
  • Consistency : There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors.
    •  Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.
  • Psychological and physiological  : Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs
  • The Psychologists who study personality believe that personality  makes up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique.
  • Again it is beloved that personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life ( as discussed earlier)
  • It impacts behaviors and actions : Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways
  • Multiple expressions  : Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in our thoughts, feelings, close relationships and other social interactions
  • A number of different theories have emerged to explain different aspects of personality.
  • Some theories focus on explaining how personality develops while others are concerned with individual differences in personality

Gordon Allport

  • Often called one of the founding fathers of personality psychology
  • Best known for : Trait Theory (suggests that individual personalities are composed broad dispositions) and the Big 5
    • Question how would you characterize your friend if I asked about them?

 Maybe Funny, Outgoing, Spontaneous…..

Trait Theory

  • This approach to personality is focused on the differences between individuals.
  • The combination and interaction of various traits forms a personality that is unique to each individual.
  • Trait theory is focused on identifying and measuring these individual personality characteristics.

The Big 5

  • Extraversion: This trait includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness.

  • Agreeableness: This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, kindness, affection, and other pro-social behaviors.
  • Conscientiousness: Common features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details.

  • Neuroticism: Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.

  • Openness: This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests.

Back to Freud

  • Psychosexual Development:
    • Personality is mostly established by the age of five
    • Freud believed that personality develops through a series of childhood stages during which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas
    • This psychosexual energy, or libido, was described as the driving force behind behavior
    • Stages of Childhood: Oral, Anal, Phallic…..


  • Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction
    • Which was from who’s idea?????
  • Ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others
    • If stages are not gone through and “ conflict” doesn’t occur then a child will become “ stuck”. Often left with a feeling of inadequacy

Karen Horney

  • Known for her Theory of Neurotic Need, which she believed that neurosis resulted from basic anxiety caused by interpersonal relationships
  • Her theory proposes that strategies used to cope with anxiety can be overused, causing them to take on the appearance of needs

List of Neurotic Needs

  • The Neurotic Need for Affection and Approval : needs include the desires to be liked, to please other people, and meet the expectations of others
  • The Neurotic Need for a Partner Who Will Take Over One’s Life: People with this need suffer extreme fear of being abandoned by their partner
  • The Neurotic Need to Restrict One’s Life Within Narrow Borders : Individuals with this need prefer to remain inconspicuous and unnoticed
  • The Neurotic Need for Power : They usually praise strength, despise weakness, and will exploit or dominate other people
  • The Neurotic Need for Prestige : Material possessions, personality characteristics, professional accomplishments, and loved ones are evaluated based upon prestige value
    • Ex: Hoarders
  • The Neurotic Need for Personal Admiration: They want to be admired based on this imagined self-view, not upon how they really are.
  • The Neurotic Need for Personal Achievement : These individuals fear failure and feel a constant need to accomplish more than other people and to top even their own earlier successes
    • EX : Donald Trump
  • The Neurotic Need for Self-Sufficiency and Independence: exhibit a “loner” mentality, distancing themselves from others in order to avoid being tied down or dependent upon other people
  • The Neurotic Need for Perfection and Unassailability :A common feature of this neurotic need is searching for personal flaws in order to quickly change or cover up these perceived imperfections

Abraham Maslow

  • Known for his Hierarchy of Needs
  • This hierarchy is most often displayed as a pyramid.
  • The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid
  • Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth.
  • Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

5 levals of need

  • Physiological Needs : most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food, and sleep
  • Security Needs: Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs
    • Examples : steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods, and shelter
  • Social Needs : include needs for belonging, love, and affection
  • Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community, or religious groups.
  • Esteem Needs : include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.
  • Self-actualizing Needs : self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential

Personalty Disorders

  • These where discussed in an earlier session and can include:
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD)
    • Agoraphobia
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Mood Disorders
    • Personality Disorders
    • Sexual Disorders
    • Multiple Personality

Clinical Psychology

  • Well class question?
    • How does that make you feel??
  • Integrates science, theory, and practice to understand, predict, and alleviate maladjustment, disability, and discomfort as well as to promote human adaptation, adjustment, and personal development.
  •  Clinical Psychology focuses on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human functioning across the life span, in varying cultures, and at all socioeconomic levels
  • Educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge and skills so as to further psychological science, the professional practice of psychology, and human welfare.
  • Clinical Psychologists are involved in research, teaching and supervision, program development and evaluation, consultation, public policy, professional practice, and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups, and organizations
  • Practitioners of Clinical Psychology work directly with individuals at all developmental levels (infants to older adults), as well as groups (families, patients of similar psychopathology, and organizations), using a wide range of assessment and intervention methods to promote mental health and to alleviate discomfort and maladjustment.
  • Clinical Psychologists work throughout the United States in a variety of settings including individual practice, mental health service units, managed healthcare organizations, hospitals, schools, universities, industries, legal systems, medical systems, counseling centers, governmental agencies, and military services
  • An earned doctorate from a Clinical Psychology program represents the basic entry level for the provision of Clinical Psychology services
  • The American Psychological Association sets the standards for Clinical Psychology graduate programs and recognizes programs meeting these standards through an accreditation process.
  • All states require a license to practice Clinical Psychology.
  • On average with a PHD : licensed clinical psychologist was $87,015
  • Private practice with five years of experience, the average salary in 2009 was $54,000.
  •  For those with 10 to 14 years of experience, the average wage was nearly $100,000.

PHD vs Psy D

  • PsyD  - rationale was that the PhD is a research degree, yet many students seek a doctoral degree in psychology to practice and do not plan to conduct research.
  •  The PsyD is intended to prepare graduates for careers as practicing psychologists.
  • The PsyD offers a great deal of training in therapeutic techniques and many supervised experiences; however, there is less of an emphasis on research than in PhD programsoctor of Psychology) :
  • PHD  (Doctoral Degree): PhD programs are designed to create psychologists who can not only understand and apply research, but conduct it.
  • PhD graduates are trained to be creators of research-based knowledge.
  • PhD programs range in the emphasis they place on research and practice
  • Depends on the individual as well as what profession in psychology one wants to study.
  • It is stated however that those within the Psychology field tend to look down on those with PsyD’s. However, no degree is better than the other.
    • Note: the PsyD takes less time to compete than a PhD

Intro to the DSM IV

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) : used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses
  • The DSM-IV was originally published in 1994 and listed more than 250 mental disorders.
  • An updated version, called the DSM-IV TR, was published in 2000 and contains minor text revision in the descriptions of each disorder
  • The DSM-IV TR is based on five different dimensions.
  • This multiaxial approach allows clinicians and psychiatrists to make a more comprehensive evaluation of a client's level of functioning, because mental illnesses often impact many different life areas.
  • Axis I: Clinical Syndromes
    This axis describes clinical symptoms that cause significant impairment. Disorders are grouped into different categories, including adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders
  • Axis II: Personality and Mental Retardation
    This axis describes long-term problems that are overlooked in the presence of Axis I disorders. Personality disorders cause significant problems in how a patient relates to the world and include antisocial personality disorder .
  • Mental retardation is characterized by intellectual impairment and deficits in other areas such as self-care and interpersonal skills Axis III: Medical Conditions
    These include physical and medical conditions that may influence or worsen Axis 1 and Axis II disorders.
  • Some examples may include HIV/AIDS and brain injuries
  • Axis IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Problems
    Any social or environmental problems that may impact Axis I or Axis II disorders are accounted for in this assessment.
  •  These may include such things as unemployment, relocation, divorce, or the death of a loved one
  • Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning
    This axis allows the clinician to rate the client's overall level of functioning.
  • Based on this assessment, clinicians can better understand how the other four axes are interacting and the effect on the individual's life