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Using two different psychological approaches explain one aspect of human behaviour

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Introduction

Using two different psychological approaches explain one aspect of human behaviour The six main approaches for human behaviour are Psychodynamic, Behaviourist, Physiological, Humanistic, Cognitive and Social. All of the approaches have their place in explaining different types of human behaviour, but it is improbable that any single approach can be used to determine all characteristics of a type of behaviour. However, when undertaking research and experiments, researchers typically focus on a single approach. One aspect of human behaviour which can be explained using these approaches is mental illness. According to NIMH (2005) mental illness is defined as a health condition that changes a person's thinking, feelings, or behaviour (or all three) and causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning. Mental health illnesses are currently diagnosed using the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic assessment, which is an international Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders. However, It is important not to confuse mental illness with mental disorders as they are separate classifications, even though they are diagnosed via the same manual, as the latter is primarily associated with neurological diseases (WHO 2007). The Physiologists theory is that mental illness occurs as a result of a brain injury, a chemical imbalance or a genetic disorder. Due to the biological nature of this theory they primarily cure mental illness by prescribing drugs such as serotonin, to balance the chemicals within the brain, or in extreme cases brain surgery may be an option. ...read more.

Middle

hypothesis as he disputes that mental illnesses are biological diseases, but merely 'problems in living' and that disorders which have a biological cause should be identified as 'neurologically impaired' (Dwyer 1995, p.300). However, experiments such as this have provided researchers with valuable data and evidence, resulting in great advancements into treatments of mental illnesses. A negative aspect of this theory is that it is deterministic, since it predetermines a person's mental health without taking into account other factors. It is also reductionist as it rules out other influences or triggers in the deterioration of mental health. This can result in a patient not receiving the full treatment or therapy they require to completely recover. Conversely, determinism and reductionism can be useful when trying to find an underlying medical cause for a patient's condition and determining how to treat them with medication or surgery. It also rules out the possibility of any bias surrounding the diagnosis of a patient. Another explanation is the behaviourist approach which is, that all behaviour is learned via a process called conditioning. There are two types of conditioning, the first is classical conditioning which is learned by associating two stimuli (i.e. hearing a buzzing sound and being stung) and the second is operant conditioning which is negative or positive reinforcement (i.e. being punished for bad behaviour or rewarded for good behaviour). Behaviourists believe that mental illness occurs due to too much negative reinforcement or too little positive reinforcement (Rice et al 2002, p.164). ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite the limitations, this study was a valuable source of knowledge. However, the behaviourists approach does not explain why some people develop mental illnesses and others do not, therefore suggesting that other factors may be involved, for example Freud (Psychodynamic) would claim that the mental illness occurred as a result of unresolved conflicts developed in childhood (Dwyer 1995, p.301). This approach is also reductionist and deterministic as it absolves the person from any responsibility, for example they can blame their parents for bad parenting. This approach has been useful in attempting to understand how mental illnesses can occur, thus being an important influence in the development of therapies. All approaches have a valuable opinion on what causes or explains mental health, however it is evident that there is usually more than one approach at the root of the problem, as most of the approaches overlap or have a 'knock on effect'. There are still many questions unanswered regarding mental health, because the mental health of humans is too complicated to explain with one approach and it is difficult to measure and test, unless it is a biological cause. For this reason, when effectively treating mental illness it is more beneficial to the patient to take into account different approaches rather than being reductionist, as other possible causes can be ruled out or included. Ultimately, patients usually need various forms of treatment, such as a combination of drugs and/or different methods of therapy to regain their mental health. ...read more.

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