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Psychology: Psychological Approaches To Sociopath

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In the past and modern worlds, many individuals have always held different opinions or viewpoints towards certain issues. Such differences may seemingly arise from a different school of thoughts and may lead to increased conflict especially in the corporate world. Research, however, shows that conflict resolution mechanisms determines the mode of handling conflicts in such circumstances and may work to the team's advantage or even lead to a collapse of the team (Sanders, 2015). Research has also provided that conflict between parties is not necessarily a bad thing and suggests that high functioning teams in the society usually engage themselves in healthy and constructive conflicts.

At times conflict from different parties often challenges the team to become more effective as compared to the groups comprising of individuals of similar opinion or experiences (Conrad et al., 2015). The study, therefore, will aim at providing an understanding of the challenge of decision making and conflict resolution in working or managing an individual or a small group of people. It will also provide a psychological approach which can be useful in solving the problem and also in dealing with the challenge of sociopath behavior.

Our major challenge as described above is decision making and conflict resolution when working with an individual or a small group of people (Arrow, 2014). Conflicts at the workplace or lack of an understanding of the employees and the employer affect managerial decision-making process. And therefore the management or the person in charge may want to address the situation by using the right psychological approach will effectively solve their differences as well as gaining a common ground of making decisions. Research has provided that, sometimes the disputing parties may fail to achieve a healthy difference opinion regarding a certain issue which may even be the manager and one of his subordinate staffs (Lawless & Trif, 2016). Therefore they need an understanding of the fact that resolving conflicts at times may require some respect and patience between the parties. And for successful conflict resolution, we need to understand and address the emotional needs, the different perceptions as well as the actions of the parties in conflict. Such an understanding, therefore, necessitates the need for introducing a psychological approach to understanding their behavior and overcome the challenge or the conflict.

According to a psychological therapy point of view, Babbitt and Hampson (2011) denotes that it is equally valuable to allow conflicting parties state their goals and involve a third party who will ask them questions in order to get a deeper understanding of the real needs of the parties. Research also provides that conflict can be categorized based on the interest of the parties in conflict or even their values. In this case, conflict of interest can be solved through the theory of games as psychologists believe that the parties in this type of conflict are always open to negotiations and bargaining. Conflict of values, on the other hand, can be difficult to solve and calls for an active conflict resolution mechanism. The reason for this be a conflict of values involves an individual or a groups needs for identity, security, recognition, political participation among others. Social psychologists have hence called for a shift from the conflict resolution theory which is always based on the rational decision making to an interactive problem solving approach, derived from socio-psychological analysis (Papenhausen, & Parayitam, 2015).

An interactive problem solving approach acts as a mediation process for the conflicting parties. Psychologist, therefore, suggests that the first step of solving the conflict would be for the parties to prepare themselves for resolution (Kimonis, et al. 2014) In this case the parties need to acknowledge the conflict and discuss the impact of the conflict on them openly. The parties will then agree to a cooperative process in a bid to address the conflict and lastly that the parties need to agree to communicate in which the communication should be open and involve active listening. The second stage in the mediation process would involve the understanding of the situation by the conflicting parties, where each party is required to state and clarify his position on the matter of conflict. The parties will also need to list the facts, assumptions, and beliefs underlying each position. In case of a group conflict once they have stated the facts and beliefs, they can divide the group into further smaller groups like of three people, analyze the situations and facts underlying each situation in the groups and then convene back as a team to evaluate the outcomes and responses of their discussions and finally the parties will reach an agreement (Sanders, 2015).


The second part of this essay provides the understanding of the challenge of sociopath behavior and the psychological approaches effective or useful in overcoming the challenge or behavior. A sociopath is defined to be an individual who in one way or the other possesses   a personality disorder which in most cases manifests itself in extreme antisocial attitudes towards other people and a certain characteristic behavior attributed to lack of self-conscience (Gawda, 2013). A sociopath will possess characteristics which are identifiable such as; lack of conformity to social norms which guide some social behaviors and therefore the individual will repeatedly engage in unlawful practices. Secondly, the individual is very deceitful, and will always possess a lying and conning spirit towards other people. Such and individual will also bear characteristic of impulsivity or failure to plan ahead since most of them are opportunistic of situations of other people. When they fail to achieve their goals or desired outcome they become irritable and aggressive. They can do anything regardless of the safety of other people as long as the outcome favors them and finally, they exhibit a consistent behavior of irresponsibility (Tasa, & Bell, 2017).

Identifying a sociopath may not be a difficult task as research provides that their characteristic behaviors are easily identified. Sociopath individuals have charming character traits, and most times they have high tenancies of charisma and therefore tend to attract a following of the people around them. They are also said to be intense and spontaneous as compared to other people around them and most of their behavior usually seem to be irrational and extremely risky. It is also noted that sociopath individuals are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or even been remorseful which suggests that they will always pursue any action that serves their own self-interests even if the action affects other people negatively. They also tend to be highly intelligent and if not careful with them they can be very deceitful as they invent outrageous lies about their experience. Lastly, these sociopath individuals usually seek to dominate other people and win at all costs and even cannot afford losing an argument (Wu, & Lebreton, 2011).

The cognitive behavioral theory has been supported as one of the best psychological approaches to deal with a personality disorder such as sociopathy behavior (David, & Hofmann, 2013). Research provides that cognitive behavior theorists argue that sometimes it’s not necessary to understand the reasons why something or an individual behaves in a certain manner in order to change or modify their behavior (Gadwa, 2016). They suggest that it is always good to immediately focus on providing a solution to the behavior rather than focusing on the source of the behavior. The theory assumes that there are certain behaviors dispositions which are inherited such as temperament, such dispositions affect the environments of the individuals during their growth and end up ultimately changing or shaping their personality (Andersson, et al. 2015).

The theory also emphasizes the importance of social learning theory in personality development as a key aspect of correcting personality disorders such as sociopath personality behaviors (David & Hofmann, 2013). Research has shown that behavior theorist in their bid to explain personality disorder state that, individuals with personality disorders may act in a dysfunctional way as a result of the core beliefs they believe in and the general assumptions about other people, themselves or even the world around them.  Such issues have led to the development of cognitive behavioral therapies which have designed to help therapy clients to develop some self-conscious awareness of their core dysfunctional beliefs. The result of this is that individuals will become more rational in nature and even more evidence-based (Tasa, & Bell, 2017).


A successful career will not only arise from the effective and general performance of an individual in an organization but how well they relate to other people whether on an individual level or at a group level. Due to the difference in individual opinions towards different issues, there is a greater likelihood of conflicts which in turn affect performance and decision-making. The analysis in this study, therefore, provides some insights into some psychological approaches towards these situations or challenges and also in dealing with individual behaviors such as those of a sociopath personality. Through use of the established classical or social therapy mechanisms it is possible to have interactive and constructive relationships despite our differences and character traits.



Arrow, KJ 2014, 'Conflict of Values: A Decision View', Proceedings Of The American Philosophical Society, 158, 1, pp. 25-30, Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Babbitt, E, & Hampson, F 2011, 'Conflict Resolution as a Field of Inquiry: Practice Informing Theory', International Studies Review, 13, 1, pp. 46-57, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Conrad, I, Kleinstäuber, M, Jasper, K, Hiller, W, Andersson, G, & Weise, C 2015, 'The Changeability and Predictive Value of Dysfunctional Cognitions in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Chronic Tinnitus', International Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 22, 2, pp. 239-250, SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

David, D, & Hofmann, S 2013, 'Another Error Of Descartes? Implications For The "Third Wave" Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy', Journal Of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 13, 1, pp. 115-124, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Gawda, B 2013, 'The Emotional Lexicon of Individuals Diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder', Journal Of Psycholinguistic Research, 42, 6, pp. 571-580, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Kimonis, E, Centifanti, L, Allen, J, & Frick, P 2014, 'Reciprocal Influences between Negative Life Events and Callous-Unemotional Traits', Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 8, pp. 1287-1298, Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Lawless, J, & Trif, A 2016, 'Managing interpersonal conflicts at work by line managers', Irish Journal Of Management, 35, 1, pp. 74-87, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Papenhausen, C, & Parayitam, S 2015, 'Conflict Management Strategies as Moderators in the Antecedents to Affective Conflict and its Influence on Team Effectiveness', Journal Of Business & Management, 21, 1, pp. 101-119, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Sanders, Mm 2015, 'Management of Conflict of Interest in Psychosocial Research on Parenting and Family Interventions', Journal Of Child & Family Studies, 24, 3, pp. 832-841, Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Tasa, K, & Bell, C 2017, 'Effects of Implicit Negotiation Beliefs and Moral Disengagement on Negotiator Attitudes and Deceptive Behavior', Journal Of Business Ethics, 142, 1, pp. 169-183, Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

Wu, J, & Lebreton, J 2011, 'Reconsidering The Dispositional Basis Of Counterproductive Work Behavior: The Role Of Aberrant Personality', Personnel Psychology, 64, 3, pp. 593-626, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 May 2017.

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