Psychological Approaches in The Care Setting

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Rebecca Evans                                                                                      Thursday 11th February


Psychological Perspectives in Health and Social Care

Assignment 1: Psychological Approaches in

 The Care Setting

Learning Outcomes:-

  1. Understand psychological approaches to study.
  2. Be able to apply psychological approaches to Health and Social Care.

As part of this assignment, I aim to describe the application of behaviourist perspectives

in health and social care. I will then go on to describe the application of psychodynamic

perspectives in health and social care.        

Finally, I will analyse the contribution of different psychological perspectives to the

understanding and management of challenging behaviour.

Task 1


  •  Describe the principles of Operant Conditioning in health and social care and use these principles to explain why a child has persistent tantrums.

  This type of learning was first developed by Burrhus Frederic Skinner, an American

Psychologist who worked mainly with rats and pigeons discovering main key principles of

learning new behaviours using the now famous “Skinner box”, he was able to condition the

animal to adapt to behaviour patterns.

  The box contained a lever, which when pressed produced a food pellet into the box.

  Initially, when the rat for example, was released in the box, it would run around sniffing

various objects until it accidently presses the lever to release the food pellet.

  Gradually over a period of time, repeats this action and comes to learn that pressing the

lever will reward him with food. This is known as “reinforcing behaviour” and increases the

chance of the behaviour continuing.

    There are two forms of reinforcing, positive and negative:-

  •   Positive Reinforcement – Occurs when as the result of following a certain behaviour

pattern, a reward is given.

  •   Negative Reinforcement – Occurs when behaviour patterns result in removing

something unpleasant.

   For example:- to investigate negative reinforcement, Skinner installed a small electric

current onto the floor of the skinner box, by pressing the lever, the rat came to learn that the

current would be deactivated, thus proving negative reinforcement.

   Relating to the Operant Conditioning theory to a human’s perspective, we will look at a

child with persistent tantrums.

   A child’s behaviour is dictated primarily by the actions and teachings of their parents.

   Children as emotions develop psychologically seek attention. If parents are not strong

willed and abler to stand firm, they will often give treats in an attempt to stop the tantrums


   Over a short period of time however, this proves a positive reinforcement of the child’s

behaviour and they quickly learn that if they throw a tantrum they will be offered with a treat.

  In comparison, negative reinforcement, can be seen by parents who teach their children that

tantrums are wrong, they are not rewarded with treats, but after a while come to realise that

the increased emotion, anxiety and tears relating to the emotional state brought on by a

tantrum does not happen when their behaviour improves.

Task 2


  •  Describe the principles of Classical Conditioning and use these principles to explain why some patients are petrified of having injections.


           This theory of learning was developed by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. He was

working with dogs investing their digestive systems. Monitors attached to their stomachs and

mouths measured the rate at which saliva was produced.

           One day he noted that a dog has began to salivate as the assistant entered the room with a

bowl of food and before it had tasted the food. Before this time, salivation was thought to be

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a reflexive response of food touching the tongue.

           Pavlov thought the dog was salivating because it had learnt to associate the assistant with

food and as a result he developed the following theory.

           Food automatically led to the response of salivation and as salivation is an automatic, not

learnt response, he called this an “Unconditional response” and the food, an “Unconditional

stimulus” as it is naturally provoked a response from the dog.

           Pavlov then presented food as the time as ringing a bell to see if the dog would come to

associate the bell with food. The ...

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

This is a very good essay that includes excellent descriptions of some psychological theories. The behaviourist approach is described well as is Erikson's theory. The writer could extend the discussion of Freud and include far greater detail of the Humanistic approach. A very good attempt at application though. ****