Questioning the standard of normality: Steps to a more effective understanding of mental health

Abstract

Psychological normality has remained one of the last as well as one of the most central unexamined presuppositions of current psychiatry and clinical psychology. With few exceptions in the literature, psychological normality has served as an unquestioned standard of mental health while the same standard has been used to equate deviations from normality with mental illness. This paper reviews some of the most compelling reasons to question this understanding both of mental health and of the psychological problems that many people experience, and outlines an alternative theoretical and therapeutic framework that offers promise.

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