Four Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy II: The World of Spiritual Aberrations

Four Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy II: The World of Spiritual Aberrations

As we turn specifically to the four worlds of psychopathy in this essay and the next three, I begin by offering two basic premises. First: the assumptions being made about the causes and origins (the etiology) of psychopathology profoundly inform the way(s) in which psychopathology is identified, diagnosed, classified and treated (or not treated). These assumptions are paradigmatic and relate directly to left and right branching.

I borrow the second premise from the domain of psychoanalysis and other psychodynamic theories of personality: we need to know something about the deep, underlying sources of our world view. Superficial histories that concentrate only on the recently observed are inadequate. We must turn to early influences and often unacknowledged contributing factors. I am governed by my own paradigm and that of the psychoanalytic community: look for the original source (wellspring) of all behavior.

With these two basic premises in place, the stage is set for our identification of four powerful assumptive worlds operating in the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. They are:
• Psychopathology as a Spiritual Aberration
• Psychopathology as an Inappropriate Distribution of Bodily Energy Fluids or Functions
• Psychopathology as a Social Deviation
• Psychopathology as a Mental Illness

In this second essay, I identify how assumptions about psychopathology are derived in the first of these four worlds. I suggest ways in which specific social constructions (concerning spiritual aberrations) influence the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. In identifying and examining the social constructions in this first world and the other three, I make use of the different perspectives offered in the first essay (content and structure, articulated theories and theories in use, and paradigms, models and practices).

At an even more fundamental level, I will repeatedly suggest that we need shared and reinforced social constructions in order to make meaning in our lives and navigate in a specific social system—such as a system that must address the challenges of psychopathy. I will also be focusing on two major societal dynamics: the management of anxiety and the management of power.


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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