In this chapter we will not be describing types and kinds of abnormal behavior, as is done in most abnormal psychology texts. Rather, we will try to address several important and overarching issues pertaining to psychological problems that are of importance to research and practice in clinical psychology. These issues reflect the processes by which behavior is considered to be maladaptive or abnormal. The learning objectives for this chapter are:

An appreciation of diverse types of problems that clinical psychologists face, the actual work being done, and the expertise needed to do this work competently.

An understanding of how clinical psychologists determine whether certain behaviors or constellations of behavior are in need of assessment and treatment and should, thus, be the focus of research.

An appreciation of the kinds of behaviors that constitute abnormal behavior (also known as psychopathology).

An appreciation of issues involving the current classification systems that are in use.

Appreciation of how the clinical psychologist makes determinations about peoples’ psychological problems and the kinds of disorders that exist today.