Psychologists uses a range of perspectives and approaches when studying how individuals think, feel and behave. Some researchers may focus on one specific perspective, whilst other researchers study a more diverse approach that may incorporate multiple points of views. Each perspective aims to offer explanations for different aspects of human behaviour.
The behaviourist approach’s influence to health care
The behaviourist approach is based on the concept of explaining behaviour through observation and the belief in which our environment is what causes us to behave differently. The behavioural learning model learning is the result of conditioning. The foundation of conditioning is that a reward following a desirable response performs as a reinforcer and increases the possibility that the desirable response will be repeated. Reinforcement is said to be the core of the behaviourist approach. Furthermore, once a desired behaviour established, irregular reinforcement maintains the behaviour. The behaviourist theory approaches are frequently used in weight loss, smoking cessation, assertiveness training and anxiety-reduction programs. The significance of frequently and consistently rewarding desired behaviour immediately and not rewarding undesirable behaviour is crucial to the success of a behaviourist approach to learning.
The principles of classical conditioning have been applied in many therapies. As its name suggests, behavioural therapy is focused on human behaviour and looks to eliminate unwanted or abnormal behaviour. Typically this type of therapy is used for those with behavioural problems or mental health conditions that involve unwanted behaviour. Examples of this include: addictions, anxiety, and methodical desensitization for phobias, aversion therapy and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Practitioners of behavioural therapy believe that behaviour is learned and can therefore be un-learned through therapy. As well as the behaviour itself, behavioural therapists will look at thoughts and feelings that lead to the behaviour or occur as a result of the behaviour to comprehend the issue at a greater level.
Aversion therapy is a form of treatment that utilizes behavioural principles to eliminate unwanted behaviour – as it follows, if all behaviour is learned it can be unlearned. In this therapeutic method, the unwanted stimulus is repeatedly paired with discomfort. The objective of the conditioning process is to command that the individual associates the stimulus with unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations. There are many reasons why behaviour could perhaps be unlearned; this could be due to behaviour in which is destructive or undesirable. These undesirable behaviours come about as individuals associate them with pleasure; the brain learns that, such as, drinking may allow one to feel relaxed a lowers stress levels. This is somewhat fine, however if one becomes reliant on the substance and it begins to take a dominant part in one’s life then this has become an undesirable behaviour. It is one’s choice to unlearn that alcohol equals pleasure.
Aversion therapy goes about eliminating this behaviour by attempting to break the association between alcohol and pleasure. The therapy, in the case of alcoholism, involves the patient drinking while together having a negative stimulus directed. The negative stimulus could be an emetic drug (one that causes the patient to vomit when drinking alcohol) such as an emetic drug, one that encouraging vomiting when alcohol is consumed like disulfiram (a synthetic compound used in the treatment of alcoholics to make drinking alcohol produce unpleasant after-effects), or an electric shock administered whenever the patient drinks.
In short, then he patient is punished for drinking and, for the same reason a parent punishes a child, a successful outcome is to reduce or completely eliminate their undesirable behaviour.
The cognitive approach’s influence to health care
Cognitive therapy for depression has its roots in the cognitive theory of depression (Beck, 1967). It is an active, structured, problem-focused, and time-limited approach to treatment which is based on the premise that depression is maintained by negatively biased information processing and dysfunctional beliefs. Treatment is designed to help patients learn to think more adaptively and thereby experience improvements in affect, motivation, and behaviour. The effectiveness of cognitive therapy for depression has been demonstrated in over 30 clinical trials (Dobson, 1989).
The general approach in cognitive therapy for depression involves guiding patients through a number of structured learning experiences. Patients are taught to monitor and write down their negative thoughts and mental images to recognize the association between their thoughts, feelings, physiology, and behaviour. They learn to evaluate the validity and utility of these cognitions, test them out empirically, and change dysfunctional cognitions to reflect a more adaptive viewpoint.
As therapy progresses, patients learn to identify, evaluate, and modify underlying assumptions and dysfunctional beliefs that may have predisposed them to depressive reactions. The therapist also teaches (or reactivates) adaptive coping skills such as breaking down large problems into smaller, more manageable steps, and decision-making by cost-benefit analysis. Activity scheduling, self-monitoring of mastery and pleasure, and graded task assignments are commonly used early in therapy to help patients overcome inertia and expose themselves to potentially rewarding experiences.
Patients typically require approximately eight sessions to gain a reasonable level of mastery with the model and the skills involved. A significant reduction in symptoms often occurs during this initial stage of therapy. The remaining sessions are used to evaluate and modify dysfunctional beliefs that impair functioning and make the patient vulnerable to future depressive episodes, build relapse prevention skills, and discuss termination issues. According to my research, many patients show a remission of symptoms in 8-12 sessions. A full course of treatment is considered to be 14-16 sessions although severe cases can take longer. Maintenance of treatment gains is enhanced by occasional booster sessions during the first year after one’s termination.
The humanistic approach’s influence to health care
Humanist learning theorists view learning as a function of the whole person and believe that learning cannot take place unless both the cognitive and affective domains are involved. The individual’s capacity for self-determination is a vital segment of the humanist theory. For example, the humanist theory is used to help post myocardial infarction (a syndrome that involves the inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart); patients regain a sense of personal control over their health care management.
The focus of the humanistic perspective is on the self of one individual – which translates into you, and your perception of your individual experiences. This approach argues that one is free to choose his own behaviour, rather than responding to environmental stimuli and reinforcers. Issues dealing with one’s self-esteem, self-fulfilment, and requirements are seen as dominant. The key focus is to assist one’s personal development. Two major theorists associated with this view are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.
All patients grow with success and do better when achievements are recognized and reinforced. Respecting the whole person in a supportive environment can encourage learning. Learning is also fostered through structuring information appropriately and presenting it in meaningful segments with appropriate feedback.
There are a vast variety of conditions that should be encountered before an individual can develop on becoming self-actualized. According to the ‘needs hierarchy’ described by Abraham Maslow, individuals must first secure their basic “organismic” needs (including adequate food, clothing and shelter necessary to keep them alive). Having achieved the essentials, they next build up and work to achieve: a feeling of adequate safety, a sense of belonging (to one or more social groups and relationship), and a sense of self-respect and social respect. Self-actualization, the drive for one to do all that he desires to do with his life, is something that only occurs as a influence of behaviour after all the earlier needs are adequately satisfied and a state of contented happiness is achieved.
For instance, the media create unrealistic, and for most individuals unattainable ‘ideal’ image, especially for women and adolescent girls. The majority of models exposed publicly are greatly below the ‘normal’ weight for their age and height.
In the humanistic vision, human dysfunctions are caused by a faulty or interrupted development process; essentially human issues regarding to immaturity, or commonly of the social/emotional variety. The aim of humanistic therapy is to promote social or emotional maturity and growth. Through assisting service user’s to resume their disrupted developmental processes in healthy directions, patients are helped by professionals in order to grow up and out the of the immature mental and emotional states that contribute to the pain one may feel or cause pain upon others.
The psychodynamic approach to health care
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, extreme nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. The condition gives of an uncomfortable feeling of fear or an approaching disaster and could perhaps negatively reflects the thoughts and bodily reactions an individual may encounter when presented with a situation that is unable to be managed. When an individual experiences the feelings of anxiety, their thoughts may often actively assess the different situations without intentionally doing so; the individual may too develop predictions of how they will cope founded on past experiences. Despite the fact that some anxiety is a normal response to difficult and stressful circumstances, whereas the anxiety level is abnormally high an individual may lack the awareness of how to effectively control the issue.
Anxiety can take many forms, and several of these may consist of: An intense physical response due to the arousal of the nervous system leading to the physical symptoms (which may involve the racing of a heartbeat). A cognitive response referring to the thought about the issue and the individuals ability to manage with it. Those which encounter the condition of anxiety may often feel negative about most situations and think unenthusiastic thoughts. A behavioural response which could consist avoidance or unusual behaviour including aggression, restlessness or irrational behaviour. An emotion response reflecting the high level of distress the individual is confronted with.
There is just not one cause of anxiety, however there are a number of factors that could contribute to the development of anxious thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The many factors comprise of:
Hereditary – many research has suggested that those with a family history of anxiety are more likely to also develop anxiety.
Biochemical reasons – Research suggests that individuals who experience a high level of anxiety may have an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that regulate feelings and physical reactions.
Certain life experiences – Particular life experiences can allow individuals more vulnerable to anxiety. Events such as a family break-up, abuse, ongoing bullying, and/or workplace conflict can be stress factors that challenge a person’s coping resources and leave them in a vulnerable state to experiencing anxiety.
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