• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"What are the advantages and disadvantages of the behaviourist approach to mental disorder?"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction To Abnormal Psychology PS1110A Compulsory Coursework Essay Title Year 1 - Term 2 Hemis Number: 127844 Word Count: 1,571 "What are the advantages and disadvantages of the behaviourist approach to mental disorder?" The behavioural approach to psychology emphasises the effects that environmental stimuli can have on a person. Because of the importance of the environment, behavioural psychologists concentrate on the process of learning and any lasting change that occurs as a result of any experience. The origins of behaviourism can be traced back to a paper written by John Watson entitled, 'Psychology as the behaviourist views it' (Watson 1913). He emphasised the importance of the environment in our behaviour and there are three central ideas behind the theory. There is an emphasis on observable responses and environmental stimuli, a rejection to any concepts that are not evident from direct observation and a focus on experience and learning as the fundamental basis behind understanding behaviour. Behaviourists see people as biological organisms that are innately capable of responding to the environment in which they live. Humans like many other organisms are capable of performing a wide range of complex responses, however these are seen as combinations of simpler responses in behaviourism. Continuity is assumed between humans and all other animals, which means that they are all capable of making similar responses even if those of humans are more complex. ...read more.

Middle

Behavioural therapy takes a practical, problem solving approach and it is a logical extension of behaviourism as applied to psychopathology. The therapist has three main roles; the first is to identify maladaptive learning, then to facilitate the unlearning of maladaptive responses and finally to teach the person more adaptive learning strategies. Techniques, which have been developed from classical conditioning to treat mental disorders, include systematic desensitisation, flooding and aversion therapy. Systematic desensitisation was devised by Wolpe (1958) and aimed to treat, fears, phobias and anxieties. The therapist works with the client and the client is told to make a hierarchical list of feared situations starting with those that produce little fear and ending with those that are most frightening. Gradually over a number of sessions the client works their way up the list with graded exposure to all the situations having first been encouraged to relax. The idea behind this therapy is to replace the conditioned fear response with one of relaxation and it is therefore the pairing of relaxation with the feared stimulus that brings the desensitisation. This technique can either be used 'in vivo', which means the patient is actually exposed to the stimuli in real life, or 'in vitro' where images are used to create the fear response. Flooding which is also known as 'implosion' is quicker and may be more effective then systematic desensitisation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bandura (1969) however argues that if 'underlying' is defined as 'not immediately obvious' then behavior therapists do look for underlying causes. The task is for the therapist to work with the client to find the most significant causes. According to social learning theory, phobias can develop through observing fears in others and modeling behavior upon those observations. For example if a parent reacts badly to the presence of a spider the shild will mimic that behavior. Programmes of behavior modification like 'token economy', do not offer a cure for mental disorders; instead they enable patients to 'fit' better into their social world. For example, chronic psychiatric patients sometimes have no motivation to maintain personal hygiene and therefore tokens can be earned for washing and brushing hair for example. The intention is to give the person back some dignity. The natural rewards that will replace the tokens to reinforce the behavior are that others will be more sympathetic towards them. It has been suggested, however, that the so-called success of this therapy may have more to do with its need for closer interaction between the patient and the nurse, which suggests that the attention is therapeutic, not the technique. Behavioral methods have given the opportunity for nursing staff to become more involved in treatment, which may have increased their investment in helping the patient. Despite its scientific status, behaviorist methods are still susceptible to the problems of evaluation that all therapeutic approaches suffer. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Humanistic and Bahaviourist Approach To Free Will and Determinism

    Their results that people were more likely to choose the packet to the far right of the table, regardless of which one it was, since this was the last one they looked at. The participants gave many reasons for why they chose that packet, but denied that the positioning of the stockings was a factor, suggesting Valentines findings were inadequate.

  2. Explain and contrast the psychodynamic, humanistic and behaviourist approaches in psychology

    A more formalised version of this is the association test introduced by Carl Jung. Here the therapist uses a list of prepared words, maybe fifty or sixty, which are called out one by one to the patient who responds as quickly as possible with the first word that comes to mind.

  1. The Psychology Of Personality Development: Behaviourist, Biological and Psychodynamic Perspectives.

    The small child Albert initially demonstrated no fear of a tame white rat. Watson, though, paired the white rat with a loud bang. Albert became extremely scared of this and the white rat began to elicit a fear response. After a few times of being subjected to this conditioning similar objects, such as a fur coat, also elicited anxious responses.

  2. What is punishment, and does it really work?

    mother scolds him and spanks him each time he teases and scolds his sisters. Juan stops teasing and scolding his sisters at the moment he received a spanking from his mother but it did not stop him from hitting his sister in future.

  1. For this assignment I will produce a case study showing how psychological theories can ...

    Before carrying out my research observations I spoke with my supervisor about my assignment and the targets I needed to meet while I was on placement. As I have mentioned in my methodology the best way to explain the behaviour shown by the clients was to observe them.

  2. Developemental Behaviour

    Bandura argued that this study showed how a child takes up behaviours by imitating what it experiences. However Bandura recognised the possible impacts of other factors such as child's initial temperament and child's attitudes. These other factors mediated the level of imitation in the child therefore a simple cause/effect explanation does not fully explain the outcome.

  1. Critically assess the value of behaviourism as a psychological approach?

    Finally Pavlov rang out the tone and found that the dog would salivate once it heard the tone. Classical (or Pavolian) conditioning where by a stimulus (a bell), which would not normally produce, a particular response (salivation) eventually comes to do so by being paired with another stimulus (food)

  2. Psychological and Sociological Perspectives On Human Development and Behaviour.

    Approximately one-quarter of lone-parent families led by men were poor (25.4), while more than half of there female-led counterparts lived in poverty (57.3%). Over the page, I have attached these statistics of single-parent families affected by poverty. I have also attached a picture of a young black child affected by poverty.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work