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Compare and contrast two psychological approaches

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Compare and contrast two psychological approaches The purpose of this assignment is to compare and contrast the following psychological approaches Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis, in doing this we will unpack the key points of these two approaches, highlighting the differences and explaining them. One of the main psychologists in recent history is John B. Watson (1878 - 1958). Watson was responsible for creating Behaviourism by developing on theories discovered by earlier psychologist Pavlov (1849 - 1936). This phenomenon had a profound effect on how psychology developed. The general assumptions of the Behaviourist approach show that it relies on the study of objective and observable behaviours and does not take into consideration any internal thoughts or feelings. Basically, behaviourism is the study of the relationship between a person's environment and their behaviour whilst ignoring the internal thoughts and feelings of the individual. The Psychodynamic approach is a stark contrast. This approach was developed by Freud (1856 - 1939) in the 1890s in Vienna and looks at the internal conflicts within a subject's unconscious mind to create theories on the subject's personality development. It also allows treatment for psychological disorders based on these theories. In effect, Behaviourism and Psychodynamic approaches are polar opposites of each other in the techniques that they use to draw their conclusions. However, they do have one main similarity in the fact that they both draw on past experiences of the subject to define how they are as an adult, but they do this in very different ways. ...read more.


One of Freud's most famous experiments was 'Little Hans'. This was about a five year old boy who was afraid of horses, and was jealous of the birth of his sister. It was thought that Hans' anxiety culminated from his inner desire to be his mother's mate. Freud used Hans in order to help develop another of his theories - the 'Oedipus Complex' which is a small boy's inner jealousy of his father and fear of punishment by castration by him. It must be stressed that the turmoil Freud discovered is very much in the subconscious. There is also the Electra complex which is a small girl's inner belief that she has already been castrated and experiences 'penis envy'. This was a very complicated conclusion to derive from equinophobia, and has had a number of criticisms such as the discovery that just before the experiment took place, Hans witnessed an accident with a horse which resulted in a man losing his life. Behaviourists would argue that this would have been the root of Hans's problems and his inner turmoil could be relieved by using techniques to reintegrate the boy with horses. Both Psychoanalysis and Behaviourism have view on how we develop our gender roles. Freud based his theory on the case studies on five middle class Jewish women, and because of these limited methods Freud's theory has been highly criticised for not being representative, for being too over generalised and also as he ...read more.


Its scientific approach is very methodical and it is able to explain and correct undesirable behaviour by leaving a lasting impression upon the subject. This is especially felt in today's society with doctors and psychologists dealing with children with minor attention disorders. From psychoanalysis, psychotherapy grew. Psychotherapy is a way of treating psychological or emotional problems, through talking both about the issue and about other issues. The main focus is to talk the patient through their experience hoping to discover the personal feelings, relationships, and events that have created their vegetative behaviour. Freud first used this therapy whilst living in Austria where he was a practicing physician specializing in neurological disorders. When Freud could find no physical cause for an illness, he would experiment with this new therapy and in this way he found it extremely useful. It is now used widely across the world and is even a recommended treatment in the NHS and is also commonly known as counselling. To conclude this assignment, it is fair to say that neither theory can be deemed as the correct way to help a subject, as both have major areas of disadvantage as well as elements that are useful and effective within today's society. Psychologists will never be able to come up with a single tried and tested method to treat people due to the fact that every person is an individual with unique needs, so these theories will continue to be expanded and critiqued for many years to come. ...read more.

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This is a well written essay and the writer seems to have a clear understanding of the two different theories.

The writer compares and contrasts the approaches well and has written the essay in their own words

The writing could be slightly improved by taking on board the comments made to achieve full marks.

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Marked by teacher Linda Penn 14/10/2013

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