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Applied Psychological Perspectives Essay

The psychodynamic approach was associated with a man called Sigmund Freud, this man believed that the brain was split into 3 parts, just like an ice-burg. At the tip of the ice burg where everybody can see, is the “Conscious” part of the brain, this holds thoughts and perceptions. The “Pre Conscious” level is where memories, feelings and past experiences are locked up in our mind but often let out, this holds memories and easily accessed knowledge.

The unconscious level is where everything is under the surface and you would never dare to tell anyone other than yourself, this holds unacceptable sexual desires, irrational fears, violent urges, irrational fears, selfish needs and immoral urges. Freud believed that throughout life all of these levels are shown, and sometimes when we say something that we might never thought we would say, that is our unconscious level showing. Freud also said that the early experiences in life were the ones that made you who you were as an adult.

If there is struggle throughout certain stages during your early life then this could result to an individual becoming stuck and could result in difficulties of personality traits which may explain some ones behaviour in later life. It is important to recognise that we may not be able to understand behaviours as the individual may not understand themselves what is causing their certain behaviour, the “psychodynamic therapy” helps to make a person examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past relationships and try to find the need and desire to be angry.

The therapy usually lasts around 2 years as the therapy is a goal to change an aspect or someone’s identity or personality to resolve when the person was “stuck” in their childhood stages of development. The advantages of the psychodynamic approach is that it focuses on the cause of the problem rather then just given medicine and treating the symptoms of the patient, it focuses on the real problem that the patient has.

It also builds a trusting relationship between a people, for example if someone had psychodynamic counselling the counsellor would make a trusting relationship with the person first, and this may make the person want to “open up” and discuss certain problems that they are having, this therefore is another advantage. The disadvantages of the approach is that the treatment for the approach can take many years to “fix” the problem and sometimes it may not possibly work.

Also some people may find it harder to “open up” then others so again it can be very time consuming and at times difficult to try and solve a problem when you don’t know what the problem is. The humanistic approach looks at human experience from the viewpoint of the individual, it focuses on the belief that we are all capable of making choices. Abraham Maslow came up with “hierarchy of needs” this is a pyramid that involves things that we need to because our “self actualisation” which is the best that we can be.

It starts with basic needs, then safety and security needs, love and emotion needs and then self esteem needs. We have self esteem which is how valuable we feel, the amount of esteem we provide ourselves with. Self-concept is the way in what we see ourselves, and self actualisation is being the best that we can be and achieving full potential. The humanistic approach would usually use treatments such as counselling but base it on something called “unconditional positive regard” this is to help an individual develop a more positive sense of self.

This way, the person over time sees themselves as worthy. This approach would be good for aggression and addiction as it is helping the person to realise that they are worth something and could potentially help stop aggression and addiction. An advantage of the humanistic approach is that it looks at the person as a whole to try and resolve their problem by looking at them as a whole. The humanistic approach provides the foundations and uses active listening and helps in forming a relationship between 2 people.

It in itself can enable self actualisation by using the core values (empathy, warmth, attentiveness, unconditional positive regard and genuineness) but other approaches such as CBT would speed up the process, therefore it in itself helps someone to have self esteem etc. The disadvantage of this approach is that there has not been that much evidence of success. Also, the humanistic approach says that each student has their own “learning style” and the teacher should use this learning style for each independent person, however these learning styles and their evaluations tend to be very unorganised and unwieldy.

The social learning approach believes that our behaviour is taught. According to the social learning theory, role models are very important. For example, if we watch someone that we love behaving in a particular way, we are more likely to feel that we have to act like the person is acting. Although this is just an example of what can change our behaviour, groups of people may also change our behaviour but also culture and society could change our behaviour, for example values, norms, language, customs and practices of groups.

Also the role that we are in may change our behaviour because of the people around us. This theory therefore is good as the treatment provides positive role models for people that may have got caught up in bad role models, which is why I have chosen it for aggression and addiction, as if you surround these people with good role models they may believe to start believing them selves and come off their addiction and stop being so angry.

The advantages of social learning is that it looks at the behaviour of someone as being “taught” this includes; shyness, optimism, confidence etc. The social learning approach looks at peoples behaviour in detail and this really helps us to understand why people act in the way that they do, so it is helpful as it explains why and where these behaviours have been learnt from (trace its origin).

The disadvantages are that it is quite time consuming and does not always cure certain behaviours or illnesses, it also tries to face certain things to overcome their certain behaviour, for example take a person addicted to alcohol, they would give someone alcohol but mix it with a drug which, when mixed with alcohol would lead to sickness, making the person not want to consume alcohol again – but it can be very stressful for that individual and it is also very dangerous.

Also not everyone copies someone else’s behaviour so having a good role model not might make a difference, and a person with anger may get angrier by having a happy, bubbly person around them all of the time. The biological approach says that a child is born with a set of genetic instructions passed down from its parents. Cognitive, physical and other development processes unfold over time. It is nothing to do with the environment that we live in.

I have particularly chosen the biological approach for “addiction” as I believe that a lot of people that have been addicted (mostly to drugs and alcohol) usually need medicine to just help them slowly come off of their addiction as well as having over therapies along side. For example, a person that is taking heroin would take the biological approach and be given “methadone” this is a drug that slowly is introduced to someone that is addicted to heroin and they slowly come off of the heroin and start to take the methadone on its own.

I think the biological approach is very helpful in some cases but along side with other approaches. An advantage of the biological approach is that is makes use of scientific and experimental procedures in its investigations and it also strongly supports the nature-nurture debate. The disadvantages is that it doesn’t look so much at how the environment and socialisation affects behaviour and life factors. It believes that everything is to do with the way our genes are and the environment etc will not affect this – we are who we are when we are born and this maps out how we are going to be for the future.


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