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Psychological Perspectives And Behaviours Add in library

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Discuss how different approaches W:therapy might improve the lives of at least two of the people in the given scenario and evaluate the effectiven,$,S of these therapies for them.



Different approaches are present in modern psychology. An approach can also be termed as a point of view which includes certain beliefs regarding human behavior. Human behavior comprises the way human function, which feature is commendable of study and what analytical methods are suitable for carrying out the study (Wade and Tavris, 2000). Several diverse theories are present in an approach which may share common assumptions. In this case study the two selected characters of psychological analysis are Alice and Susannah.

Identification of key characteristics

Alice, who is a 25years old female, is suffering from bulimia and anorexia. She has a very low self-esteem although she co-owns a successful designer cloth shop with loyal and wealthy customers. Alice is unmarried and finds it difficult to maintain relationships with opposite gender. Her condition can be judged with the help of psychodynamic perspective.

Susannah, who is a 30years old female, was born prior to her mother’s marriage and stayed along with her grandmother. Her biological father never wanted to be in touch with Susannah and hence she has no contact with her natural father. Susannah is agoraphobic. Her husband is very sympathetic to her condition. Susannah never allows her husband for night outs and always wants him to stay with her at home. Her condition can be judged with the help of behaviorist perspective.


Psychodynamic perspective

The theories associated with Psychodynamics descended from the psychologist Sigmund Freud. It illustrated the significance of unconscious mental powers. Various expressions from the daily life originate from the theories of Freud regarding psychoanalysis. Few of these are: denial, anal personality, subconscious and so on (Roeckelein, 2006). According to him the events that occur in childhood can impact on the adults’ behavior. People have slight autonomy to opt for choices in their life. Behavior is determined by the childhood experiences and unconscious mind. Freud’s psychoanalysis is both a therapy and a theory. It explained that human mind is like an iceberg, very small amount is visible and the rest of the part submerges under the water. The visible portion is the observable behavior but the submerged and subconscious mind has the most motivating influence on the human behavior (Bornstein and Masling, 2002). Three main methods are involved to access the unconscious mind: dream analysis, slip of tongue and free association.  A feature of psychological analysis is Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. Different body stimulation is significant during the child development through important developmental periods (McCarver, 2012). In-excess of and inadequate stimulations, both can badly affect the body. This theory mostly illustrates the significance of sexuality and under states the function of societal associations.

Behaviorist perspective

Behaviorism is said to be the most important approaches as they analyze people as directed by their surroundings and people are the result of what they have learnt from their surroundings. Behaviorism is particularly concerned about how the environmental factors affect the human response (Holth, 2003). Behaviorism suggests two main procedures by which people gather knowledge from their surroundings. These are: operant conditioning and classical conditioning. Operant conditioning refers learning from outcomes of behavior and classical conditioning refers learning by involvement. Behaviorism does not support the idea of people having free will and states that the surroundings determine all behavior (L'Abate, 2013). So in a nutshell the basic idea behind behaviorism is that all behaviors are obtained through habituation. Conditioning takes place through environmental interaction. People’s responses to the circumstantial stimuli outline their behaviors.


Application of psychodynamic and behaviorist perspectives

The common characteristic of psychodynamic theories is said to be the idea that without dealing with and determining the fundamental reason for chaotic behaviors, these may get settled for a time being but can frequently return back (Buxton, 2013).  The work of Hilde Bruch made it apparent that application of behavioral modification technique helps people to lose weight and may achieve temporary improvement. Essential treatment associated with the recovery of bulimia or anorexia comprises treatment and understanding of the cause, purpose or the adaptive function that eating disorders serve.

In this regard it can be said that during human developmental phases when the requirements are not met, adaptive roles arise. These functions act as replacements for developmental discrepancies, which protect against resulting pain, frustration and anger. The complication is that the adaptive roles cannot be internalized and can never be completely replaced by what is actually required (Shiraev, 2011). Furthermore, these adaptive functions also have outcomes, which threaten enduring functioning and health. For instance: someone who have never obtained knowledge about self-sooth, he/she may use food as a way of comfort and as a result binge eat, when he/she feels upset. By doing such will never assist the person to internalize the capacity to soothe him/her. This will definitely lead to bad consequences for example: social withdrawal or weight gain.

The above mentioned explanation is quite relevant and goes along with the case of Alice. It is seen that Alice is suffering from eating disorders and have a very low self-esteem, which might have occurred from any hidden anger, frustration or pain (Coon and Mitterer, 2014). She co-owns a designer cloth shop yet she has developed a very low self esteem and also finds it hard to socialize and maintain relationships with opposite gender. Alice might have represented an indication of struggling inner self, which uses disordered eating behaviors as the way of expression of the basic issues in her life (Tasca and Balfour, 2014).

Problem may be present if this type of problem is only treated with psychodynamic approach. Many individuals who are in such state of depression or compulsivity, psychotherapy cannot efficiently occur (Abramson, 2013).  Hence compulsive binge eating, behavior abnormalities, purging should be addressed prior to initiation of the therapy. On the other hand, patients can use this therapy but still engage themselves in abnormal behaviors.

In Susannah’s case she has been brought up by her grandmother and she has no contact with her biological father. This condition might affect her to such an extent that when she has got married to Alex, she became over-possessive and never allowed him for night outs. She might have developed a feeling inside that Alex might leave her and go away. Treating her situations by applying behaviorist approach could be justified because it is a basic concern with noticeable behaviors, compared to internal occurrences, such as: thinking.  Behavior is considered as the result of motivation -response, which means all type of behaviors no matter how complicated the circumstance is and can be lessened to simple motivation –response characteristics. 

The areas of application for behaviorist perspective are development of gender role, phobias, behavior modification, relationships, language, aggression and moral development. From the case study it is pretty clear that Susannah is agoraphobic and it has reach to such an extent that she does not want to leave her home. Hence, this type of phobia can be well treated with behaviorist perspective.


Methods of data gathering

Case studies are considered as in depth evaluation of single group, community, event or a particular person. Normally data can be collected from various sources and by applying different methods, like: interviews and observations. Research associated with case studies are invented in   clinical medicine, for example: individual’s personal history (Schachter, 2005). Case study cannot be considered as research method. Researchers choose methods to collect data and evaluate, which will give rise to certain information appropriate for case studies, like: personal notes, official documents or qualitative techniques, which include participant observation and unstructured interviews. In this case study the data is gathered by lab studies. The author has structured survey questionnaire and based upon the answers an experiment has been set up. Thus by selecting two characters from a given case study, the author has applied appropriate psychological theories to evaluate and implement proper treatment.

Effectiveness of the psychological perspectives

While dealing with different psychological aspects and perspectives, talking about psychosocial theory is very much essential. This concept was derived by renowned psychologist Erik Erikson. He illustrated the societal and cultural role and conflicts, which can occur within ego itself. According to him, ego builds up as it productively determines crises, which are clearly social. These include setting up a feeling of trust in each other, setting up a feeling of identity within the society and assisting next generation to prepare for their future (McCarver, 2012). There are eight distinctive stages are involved in Erikson’s psychosocial development theory and based on these stages both the basic virtues of fidelity and love got hampered for both Alice and Susannah. Ego identity vs. role confusion is the psychological crisis identified mainly during adolescence (Hoare, 2002). This is the stage of transition from childhood to adult and is very important for each and every individual for successful personal, emotional and developmental growth. In this stage individuals become more independent and start to observe the future in terms of relationships, career, housing, families and so on. Individuals want to be a member of a society and also want to fit in. In Alice’s case, it is seen that she suffers from low self esteem, though she is a co-owner of a company and very much successful. She finds it difficult to maintain relationships with the opposite sex. In this regard it will be justified to mention that she has developed a poor identity and role confusion within herself. In adolescence stage individuals learn the roles and how he/she will take up as a mature individual (Fitzgerald, Zucker and Freeark, 2006). This is the stage where individual re-evaluate his/her identity and finds out who he/she is. According to Erikson, there are two types of identities: occupational and sexual. Fidelity involves individual’s capacity to present their own identity to others and this may depend upon the result of their investigations. Failure to set up such feeling of identity in the society can initiate role confusion. Role confusion includes doubt about oneself or one’s status in a society.  This is very much fits with Alice’s condition.


In reaction to identity crisis or role confusion an individual can start to analyze with various lifestyles, for example: education or work. Forcing someone into distinctiveness can give rise to rebellion in the context of setting up a negative character and also unhappy senses (Schachter, 2005).

Generally it is seen that young adults sometimes suffers from psychological crisis that includes intimacy vs. isolation. In this stage people prefer to share their values more closely with others. Successful achievement of this stage leads to peaceful relationships and a feeling safety, commitment and care (Lishman, 2007). Fearing relationships, commitment and avoiding intimacy lead to loneliness, isolation and depression. This is very much fits with Susannah’s condition, where Susannah does not want to move out of her house and also does not want her husband to go out of the house. From the case study it is seen that Susannah does not share her inner feelings with her husband, where her husband is very much sympathetic towards Susannah’s condition (Parrish, 2014). On the other hand, because of Alex’s job nature he is suffering from stress, insomnia and so on. So, in this case, both need to understand each other’s condition and should share their respective rough situations in order to live a healthy and happy married life.

Erikson’s theory focuses more on emotional and social development. His theory has the capacity to attach together the significant psychological improvements across entire lifespan of each and every individual. Therefore, discussing and analyzing the conditions of Alice and Susannah with the help of Erikson’s theory is of great value.



Abramson, C. (2013). Problems of Teaching the Behaviorist Perspective in the Cognitive Revolution.Behavioral Sciences, 3(1), pp.55-71.

Bornstein, R. and Masling, J. (2002). The psychodynamics of gender and gender role. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Buxton, C. (2013). Points of View in the Modern History of Psychology. Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Coon, D. and Mitterer, J. (2014). Psychology. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Fitzgerald, H., Zucker, R. and Freeark, K. (2006). The crisis in youth mental health. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Hoare, C. (2002). Erikson on development in adulthood. New York: Oxford University Press.

Holth, P. (2003). Psychological behaviorism: A path to the grand reunification of psychology and behavior analysis?. The Behavior Analyst Today, 4(3), pp.306-317.

L'Abate, L. (2013). Clinical psychology and psychotherapy as a science. New York, NY: Springer.

Lishman, J. (2007). Handbook for practice learning in social work and social care. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

McCarver, R. (2012). A concise history of modern psychology. San Diego: Cognella Acad. Publ.

Parrish, M. (2014). Social Work Perspectives On Human Behaviour. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Roeckelein, J. (2006). Elsevier's dictionary of psychological theories. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Schachter, E. (2005). Erikson Meets the Postmodern: Can Classic Identity Theory Rise to the Challenge?. Identity, 5(2), pp.137-160.

Shiraev, E. (2011). A history of psychology. Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.

Tasca, G. and Balfour, L. (2014). Eating Disorders and Attachment: A Contemporary Psychodynamic Perspective. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 42(2), pp.257-276.

Wade, C. and Tavris, C. (2000). Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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