The term “chunking psychology” refers to the way that we organize and store data. In cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, a patient suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is asked to repeatedly answer questions about past events. The therapist will monitor the patient's responses and provide feedback as to whether she is getting the right answers or if she is getting this response over. If she is getting these responses over, she is said to be suffering from “chunking.” Likewise, when the same person is given multiple questions about unrelated subjects, her responses tend to be chunking them as well.
From a basic level, it can be seen as a system of classification and abstraction. Data is segmented into groups and chunks. Each group and chunk are based on previous input, with each piece of information being given only once. Eventually, the entire data set is formed into a meaningful whole, with each piece of information being used in some context, and each contributing a small amount to its overall meaning. When data chunks are unconnected and there is no direct relationship between them, they are said to be “disconnected.”
As described by the American Psychological Association (APA), chunking occurs when two or more psychological data sets are organized in this manner. For instance, a death toll report might be classified into chunks of data depending on who was responsible for the death, when the incident occurred, how many people were involved, etc. This classification and organization process occurs throughout many domains of psychological study. For instance, the process of trauma recovery involves identifying fragments of trauma in patients and then reassembling them into a meaningful whole. Likewise, researchers studying child behavior need to break down large data sets like those of books, surveys, etc., and identify relationships among the pieces of data.
Chunking psychology can be applied to many domains of mental health care. For instance, when a psychiatrist examines a patient's data, he/she will have chunks of information that come from several sources. However, once the psychiatrist connects the pieces of the puzzle and makes sense of the patient's mental health data, the patient is then classified into one of the categories the psychiatrist determined. The resulting mental health file will have the needed information to determine the patient's future medications and treatments.
Chunking psychology is also used in the process of completing mental health assessments. An experienced psychologist will collect a lot of data but without making sure that it can be linked in an easy-to-follow fashion. After completing the assessments, the psychologist will create a master document that contains all of the information that has been collected. In this master document, the psychologist will organize the data, group the information into categories, and use descriptive phrases to describe each category. The purpose is to create a comprehensive snapshot of the mental health of the patient in the hope of helping the psychologist develop an accurate diagnosis.
Sometimes, doctors make mistakes when applying standard mental health tests. Although it is very common, doctors may make wrong assumptions or draw incorrect conclusions. In order to . . . . . . avoid making mistakes in patient evaluation and treatment, doctors should create their own mental case history. This type of documentation allows doctors to see how mental health data may be mixed with other data. It also allows doctors to see how well a patient interacts with co-workers, which is crucial for some medical conditions.