Introduction to psychology

Unlike in traditional psychology, none of these approaches could be said to be the most correct as each has both strengths and weaknesses. Behaviourist Approach Behaviourism has been noted to be unique from the other four approaches, studying observable and measurable human behaviour because of its objective measurability in terms of stimulus-response units. The goal of this approach is eliminating maladaptive responses and acquiring the adaptive responses. Experiments are the preferred methods of study. According to Kalat (2008), the behaviour of human beings according to this approach is shaped by environmental factors, entailing learned ways of responding to external stimuli. Learning occurs through classical conditioning or through operant conditioning. This approach assumes no stages of development, as different behaviours get reinforced selectively with age but the variation in an adult and child is just quantitative. Abnormal behaviour results from failure to learn adaptive responses or learning maladaptive responses. Treatment would be through behaviour therapy such as systematic desensitisation with no difference between such behaviour and symptoms. Psychodynamic Approach Unlike the behaviourist approach, this approach uses case study as the preferred method of study. It aims at uncovering unconscious conflicts so as to cause them to be conscious. It seeks to balance the unconscious mind made up of the id, ego and superego (Kalat 2008). While the id and superego would always be in conflict, the ego would try to resolve this discord, failure to which humans resolve to defence mechanisms. This psychoanalysis entails an aspect of psychosexual development where early experiences impact on adult personality with stimulation of the different body parts being important as children progress through the normal developmental stages. Abnormal behaviour arises from emotional disturbance due to unresolved conflict from one’s childhood. This abnormal behaviour is symptomatic, notably anxiety. Treatment involves insight-oriented psychotherapy such as psychoanalysis. Transference, dream interpretation and free association reveal unconscious. This non-scientific but circular theory suffers the limitation of biasness towards sexuality while under emphasizing the function of social relationships. Humanism Approach This emphasizes on studying a person as a whole, referred to as holism, so as to cause self-actualisation. Just like the psychodynamic approach, case study is the preferred method of study. Distinctly, the humanistic approach acknowledges the uniqueness of each person and the free will to change anytime. Satisfying lower level needs is a prerequisite to satisfying higher level needs. Psychological normality occurs when one accepts oneself, realises self potential and finds meaning in life. Abnormal behaviour results from the inability to accept and express the true self nature. Self denial results in anxiety, referred to as ontological insecurity or identity crisis (Kalat 2008). Therefore, client-centred therapy is the preferred treatment method through exploration of present experiences with the therapist. Cognitive Approach Adopting a divergent method of study, the cognitive approach uses experimental method, focusing on artificial and human intelligence. The aim is to correct unrealistic and irrational beliefs and ideas to make thinking an effective means of behavioural control. Therefore, to know what keeps people living, there would be need to understand the processes running in

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