“Behaviourists Explain Maladaptive Behaviour in Terms of the Learning Principles That Sustain and Maintain It. Discuss This Statement and Show How a Behaviourist’s Approach to Therapy Is in Stark Contrast to a Psychoanalytic One”.

2459 WordsSep 7, 201210 Pages
“Behaviourists explain maladaptive behaviour in terms of the learning principles that sustain and maintain it. Discuss this statement and show how a behaviourist’s approach to therapy is in stark contrast to a psychoanalytic one”. The term ‘therapy’ has been defined as an activity which ‘involves the treatment of a disease or disorder, by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process’. Historically, there has been considerable development in the range and types of therapy that can be used to help a client overcome problems in a modern world, with some sharing similarities but also differences. The intent of this essay is to compare and contrast the behaviourist perspective with a psychoanalytical approach, drawing out their…show more content…
His investigation of Operant Conditioning on pigeons and rats uncovered, he believed, that many of the principles of Operant Conditioning could be applied to humans. An example in humans is the idea that if we are praised for showing polite behaviour in childhood we will learn that polite behaviour will bring rewards and so will behave politely without thinking. In parallel, Operant Conditioning has been used to explain the development of abnormal behaviour in humans. For examples, adolescents who are ridiculed for being overweight may stop eating to reduce their weight, going on to develop an eating disorder. It is considered that one of the main strengths of the behaviourist approach is that it focuses on behaviour that can be observed, manipulated and measured. The principles behind behaviourism have made it accessible to studying in a laboratory, focusing its testing upon animals and how that behaviour compares to human behaviour. Indeed, the use of behavioural therapy, currently in the NHS, has proved to be a popular, low cost method that medical practionners choose as treatment for a range of disorders or abnormal behaviours. The behavioural therapist focuses on the ‘here and now’ and avoids looking at an individual’s past history and past causes for maladaptive behaviour, believing that this is not always helpful and

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