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Contrast between Psychodynamic and the behaviorist theory of personality Essay

Psychodynamic is a method used to help people find relief from emotional pain which could be as a result of unresolved conflicts of the past. It is usually done verbally. It’s based on the idea that a human being’s behavior is shaped by known and unknown influences. It aims at solving this past experiences that could have left lasting traces that could affect your self-esteem leading to maladaptive patterns of behaviors. It involves patient talking and the therapist interpreting the patient’s words and behaviors (Miller, Luborsky, Jacques and John, pp 23).

Psychodynamic is basically concerned about psychological processes, past experiences, existence of unknown motivation, ego, superego and defense mechanisms (Jackson and Beverly, pp 45). Behaviorist‘s theory also attempts to explain human behavior but its in conflict with psychodynamic theory in ways which human behavior is developed. The behaviorist believes that culture and subculture have a role to play in molding someone’s behavior and as a result has an effect on the personality.

Therapy in a behaviorist is based on the principles of learning using all the processes and methods such as training, reinforcing, desensitization, aversion therapy, modeling and replication (Chamorro-Premuzic, and Adrian, pp67). According to Miller, Nancy, Lester, Jacques and John (pp 89), this theory has little concern about any outside energy or force in determining behavior. To it, normal behavior comes as a result of acceptable conditioning, reinforcing and modeling while abnormal behavior comes as a result of defective conditioning, reinforcing and modeling.

It is not interested in the effect of developmental processes on the behavior. In treating the patient, the therapist has little regard to the patient’s feelings, thoughts, emotional experiences or imagination. It is believed that if one understands the environment and how to interact with it, he can basically understand himself and his behavior. The behaviorist believes that behavior is cultured and it can also be uncultured. Works Cited Jackson, Leslie C. , and Beverly Greene, eds. Psychotherapy with African American

Women: Innovations in Psychodynamic Perspectives and Practice. New York: Guilford Press, 2000. Lazarus, Richard S. Fifty Years of the Research and Theory of R. S. Lazarus: An Analysis Of Historical and Perennial Issues. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998. Miller, Nancy E. , Lester Luborsky, Jacques P. Barber, and John P. Docherty, eds. Psychodynamic Treatment Research: A Handbook for Clinical Practice. New York: Basic Books, 1993. Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas, and Adrian Furnham. Personality and Intellectual Competence. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005. .


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