Sociopathy and Psychopathy vs. Mental Illness and Mental Disorders
Edmund Kemper, at age 15, shot and killed his grandparents in North Fork, California. After 9 years of institutionalization and treatment at Atascadero State Hospital, Kemper was released with a requirement that he continue his therapy. During one of his outpatient therapy sessions, the therapist commented to Kemper that he had come a long way in his treatment and that the therapist was very pleased with his progress.Kemper appeared happy to hear this and noted that he could now live a normal life, get married, attend school and have a career. During this particular interview, sitting outside the therapist’s office in the trunk of Ed Kemper’s car, was the head of a college student. Kemper had been killing female college students and having sex with their corpses. He killed several college students, slept with the corpses, and cannibalized them. Kemper eventually went on to kill his mother and her best friend and had them for dinner. A few days later on his way to Reno, Nevada, Kemper called police from a phone booth and told them what he had done. He waited at the phone booth until police arrived and arrested him. He was found to be competent and subsequently convicted and sent to prison (Hickey, 2015).
Andrea Yates called her husband at work to inform him that she had just killed all five of their young children.She had drowned each one, individually, in a bathtub. She was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The verdict was overturned on appeal and in a retrial, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a Texas state hospital for treatment (Hickey, 2015). This week you will be exploring mental illness and mental disorders and how they differ from sociopathy and psychopathy. What do you think influenced Ed Kemper to kill? Andrea Yates? As you read the materials for this week consider the dangers of dichotomies: either a person is mentally ill or is not mentally ill or a person is a psychopath or is not a psychopath.
Determine where a subject lies on the spectrum of psychopathy
Differentiate between mental illness and mental disorders
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