Introduction ~ Deme
Science with all its marvels and wonders continues to press forward making extraordinary breakthroughs. Psychology plays a key role in many of sciences steps forward, each branch of psychology focusing on a specific techniques and theories. In the document the center of attention is surrounding the application of clinical psychology, this branch of psychology is unique as it all realms of an individual’s issue. Specifically speaking, anxiety is the psychological disorder that is under review through the processes of a clinical psychologist, thus concentrating on the biological, psychological and social factors of the disorder. Discussion of what routes of treatment is best for this particular disorder, what outside sources (friends, family , and co-workers) might be involved in the treatment plan, and how would this plan be presented to individual. All of these explorations and others will be answered as we journey into the application of a clinical psychologist such as the case of Little Albert.
Brief Overview of Little Albert ~ Patricia
The case of little Albert was an experiment that was conducted by behaviorist John B. Watson who carried one of the most influential psychology studies out in 1920, which is also known as the Father of Behaviorism. The Little Albert experiment was also conducted by a graduate student Rosalie Rayner, who accompanied John B. Watson during the demonstration, which took place around Little Albert ninth month of growth. During the case of Little Albert, Watson, and Rayner often expose the child to several series of various stimuli to see the reaction of the child. In the experiment, Watson and Rayner would bring out different objects toward Albert to see if he would have any anxiety toward a white rat (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Although, Watson, and Rayner were both interested in the study of Little Albert, they both were reward a grant to study reflexes, and instinct in infants. During Watson’s experiment, he exposed Little Albert to white lab rat to see if the child would react to the lab rat in fear.
The next time Albert was exposed to the rat, Watson made distressing loud noise while hitting a steal bar with a hammer creating how emotional response could be conditioned or learned. At first response the child seem to become frighten by the loud noise, however, at second response the child began to cry after repeatedly hearing the loud noise (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). While the experiment took place, Little Albert was soon introduced to a white rat combine with a series of other stimuli, which included a rabbit, burning news paper, and a mask. During this process of experimentation, every time Little Albert was shown the white rat pairing with the loud noise, he would begin to cry. The instant the rat was shown to Albert the second or third time, he would began to cry at the sight of the rat alone. Watson wanted to determine if Little Albert would become fearful as a loud sound of the hammer would create a distressing noise near the child that present how classical conditioning can be use to condition, and emotional response (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009).
However, Albert fear of the white rat was not the only conditioning, but he was introduce to a wide variety of similar objects as well, such as a white rabbit, Raynor’s furry white coat, and a mask that symbolize Santa’s white beard. Watson had conditioned a fear response in Little Albert during this process to see if the same response of fear would transfer to other objects. During his experiment, Watson discover that Little Albert f ear did in fact extend to other furry animals, and objects, however, before Watson could remove any of signs of phobia, Albert’s mother remove him from the hospital (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009).
Biological, Psychological, and Social Factors ~ Kimberly
According to most research that has been done on the case of Little Albert, it does not seem that there are many biological factors that affect the case. According to Web MD (2012), a mental illness caused by a biological factor includes an abnormal balance of special chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. It can also be genetics, brain defects, or even prenatal damage (2012). Little Albert seemed to be normal in that sense to most. However, evidence collected by several researchers say that Little Albert was not a healthy and normal infant as Watson had described (Beck, Fridlund, Goldie, Irons, 2012). Analysis of the film of little Albert suggests that Little Albert had substantial behavioral and neurological deficits (2012). It was suggested that in these films Little Albert’s unresponsive nature was like that of severely mentally challenged child (2012). So while some may think biological factors played no part, they actually may have.
Psychological factors play a huge role in the case of Little Albert. Psychological factors can include psychological trauma suffered as a child, such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse (WebMD, 2012). While Little Albert was not physically or sexually abused, he was in a sense emotionally abused. He was purposely conditioned to be scared of first a noise and then of a rat and the noise. Anytime he saw a rat or anything that resembled a furry object he was scared. He was taken away from the hospital before the conditioning could be reversed. This is something that was a trauma to him and therefore the reason why psychological factors play a huge role in his case.
Social factors also played a role in the case of Little Albert. The main social factor that sticks out in this case is that of family. Little Albert’s mother allowed him to be in the hospital and have these experiments to take place. With that being said, she is at fault for Little Albert having the phobia that he did. His mother also took him from the hospital before there was any chance to remove the phobia (Meyer, 2009).
Intervention of Little Albert~ Jeffery
Since there is no evidence of any biological factors that were evident in the case of Little Albert, then there is no way to implement any biological interventions for him. But we can see that psychological factors played a significant role in his anxiety and as such Cognitive –Behavioral Treatment could be effective in helping him overcome his disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) of various Anxiety disorders is based on the presumption that the disorder is a result of constant perceptions that there is a need to be afraid of a particular object or item, which then results in the an increase in maladaptive and habitual interactions among cognitive, behavioral, and physiological response systems. Maladaptive cognitive responses include a pre-attentive bias to threat cues (Mathews, 1990), negatively valenced images and worrisome thinking (Borkovec & Inz, 1990), and cognitive avoidance of some aspects of anxious experience (Borkovec, Shadick, & Hopkins, 1991). Maladaptive behavioral responses include subtle behavioral avoidance (Butler, Fennel, Robson, & Gelder, 1991) and slowed decision-making (Metzger et al., 1990).
In the case of Little Albert he was definitely conditioned to be afraid of rats and certain noises which then led to fear and anxiety over anything that reminded of these objects. In treating a person for anxiety the therapist would build a relationship with the patient thus instilling trust and alleviating a certain amount of fear and anxiety at the beginning. As this trust increases the therapist would teach the patient to the idea of self awareness, where the client begins to recognize subtle changes in their anxiety levels and recognize what is triggering this anxiety. Such things as poor thinking, external cues, physiological activity, and then as they recognize these cues implement newly learned intervention techniques to help lower their anxiety levels. This form of treatment then focuses on both the psychological and social factors that the individual must learn to deal with. Since it was the mother that was responsible for these tests being done on Little Albert and then pulling him out of treatment before any therapy to correct the anxiety was able to be performed, Family Systems intervention could also be beneficial to helping them deal with his anxieties.
This systems intervention approach is different than other approaches in that it includes the family unit in the counseling and treatment sessions. So in a case such as little Albert, both he and his mother would be in the treatment program. This treatment then helps the individual understand how their disorder is impacting others and helps the family understand what trigger points are and how to recognize them so they can help their loved overcome the disorder. As these sessions continue the past is explored as to what may be the cause of their anxiety and how they have impacted each section of the family and how each family can contribute to helping overcome the disorder. In the case of Little Albert the Therapist would help them to focus on the psychological causes and the social causes of this disorder and to learn new thought processes and support systems to correct his way of thinking.
In closing, our case study “Little Albert” who had been subjected to classical conditioning using a stimulus to promote a certain behavior – fear and anxiety. In the practice of clinical psychology is imperative to get all parties involved for successful treatment. The approach of intervention is sensitive and clinical psychologist makes every effort to move forward with hopes of the case study not relapsing. In the case of treating Little Albert and the treatment for his fears and anxiety through the application of clinical psychology, however, no real conclusion for this case study was ever provided; therefore, we can only suggest the steps of the clinical psychologist according to the specific structure for treating individuals.
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