Behaviourists Explain Maladaptive Behaviour in Terms of the Learning Principles That Sustain and Maintain It. Discuss This Statement and Show How a Behaviourists Approach Is in Stark Contrast to a Psychoanalytic One.

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“Behaviourists explain maladaptive behaviour in terms of the learning principles that sustain and maintain it. Discuss this statement and show how a behaviourists approach to therapy is in stark contrast to a psychoanalytic one”. Behaviourism is a school of thought in psychology based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment. Two other assumptions of this theory are that the environment shapes behaviour and that taking internal mental states such as thoughts, feelings and emotions into consideration is useless in explaining behaviour. Behaviourists are unique among psychologists in believing that it is unnecessary to speculate about internal mental processes. The behaviourist theory believes that cultural and sub – cultural conditioning moulds and shapes behaviour and subsequently the personality. Behaviourists also believe that people are born with only a handful of innate reflexes and that all of a person’s complex behaviours are the result of learning through interaction with the environment. They also assume that the processes of learning are common to all species and so humans learn in the same way as other animals. A human being, according to the behaviourist, has his life determined for him since he is the product of the culture that causes him to be as he is. The theory therefore, is very deterministic. To the behaviourist, normal behaviour results from acceptable conditioning and abnormal behaviour results from defective conditioning. The behaviourist isn’t concerned in what developmental processes may have influenced a person’s behaviour. They believe that if the patient is taught to understand his environment and how he interacts with it, he will automatically understand himself and his behaviour. The behaviourist functions from the position that if a neurotic behaviour can be learned, then it can be unlearned. Behaviourists explain behaviour in terms of the stimuli that elicit it and the events that caused...
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