Discuss the factors that might lead to a diagnosis of personality disorder and the potential impact of such a diagnosis on service users/survivors.

This essay will begin by looking at the various meanings of ‘personality’. Personality to me would mean one’s way of seeing and understanding things around them; it is who someone is and how they relate to other people. But how can personality be really defined?

It implies one’s uniqueness, what makes them different from other people. Personality can be regarded as a complex and unique pattern of psychological characteristics. These characteristics are so embedded that they appear as a reliable, consistent feature. Personalities can also be similar, and a general type of personality can be recognized thereby making people of perhaps a particular region to act similar. For example, people in Africa might consider marrying your cousin to be wrong while someone else in Europe might believe it is okay to do so; personality is shaped and influenced by a mixture of biological, genetic, environmental and interpersonal factors.

Two disciplines that seek to explain and understand personalities are psychology and psychiatry:

Within psychology, debates and theories on personality are complex and far ranging. Personality theories seek to explain how people behave now, and predict how they will behave in future, it seeks to explain how personality is formed, emphasizing different factors that determine or shape its development. All personality theories seek to explain personality as qualities or characteristics which represent the person as an individual (unit 8, section 2, pp.32). This essay will now look at these explanations as four broad approaches; let us look at these approaches from a holistic model point of view and we will see that the different theories emphasise different dimensions of the person who of course is at the center of the holistic model:

  • Biological: The biological approach takes into account the psychological dimension of the holistic model. Biological theories emphasise how personality is inherited, the roles of genes and the influence of physiological processes.
  • Psychodynamic: The psychodynamic approach takes into account the spiritual dimension of a holistic model. Psychodynamic theories see personality as the inner relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind, formed from experiences with significant others, especially in childhood.
  • Cognitive: theories that emphasise how personality characteristics are learned. Learning processes are shaped and influenced by the relationships surrounding the child and the environment. The cognitive approach can be linked to the emotional dimension of the holistic model.
  • Interpersonal or social: theories that view personality as produced through social interactions with others.The interpersonal approach also takes into account the ‘helicopter view’ to explore how a person interacts with others and the environment and this can strongly be linked to a social dimension of the holistic model. (unit 8, section 2, pp.33).
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 All personality theories suggest that certain personal qualities, in varying degrees, can be found in each of us, and that these qualities remain consistent across time and place. It is this consistency that forms a person’s uniqueness. So, personality theories generally seek to describe how patterns of characteristics can predict behaviours. They also aim to explain, predict and influence behaviour. This is also the principle aim of personality tests.

Personality tests are used in many areas. They can be formally produced and administered by psychologists and practitioners recognized by the British psychological society .

Personality tests reveal information about people’s ...

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