Robert Leo Parr Jr.
Salem State University: PSY 731 Counseling Theory and Practice I Professor Melissa Kaplowitch
April 10, 2012
This paper presents the personal viewpoints of the author concerning human behavior, affect, and thought. It outlines his understanding of the developmental and change processes of human growth. Therapy and roles and relationships are considered along with treatment. This paper’s topics are numerous as very different questions are addressed and my answers will be about my views as they relate mainly to theory I hope to apply in therapy. It is presented in question and answer form with an introduction and summary.
Behavior, affect, and thought are derived from a diverse set of factors that are sometimes inter-related. One’s views on these three types of human processes has an effect on which theoretical orientation a counselor is most aligned with and therefore chooses as a baseline for counseling practice. This choice is important in that it helps the counselor to organize thoughts and modes of counseling session interactions, preferred techniques, and treatment options in a consistent manner. Such a choice does not limit the counselor in any way to any one theoretical practice. A counselor must be cognizant of other treatment modalities and ready to apply those modalities to specific counseling situations and clients based on a variety of factors such as cultural background of the client, family structure, and personality traits of the client. Consideration of environment, diagnoses, and cognitive abilities of the client among other issues are also important. Behavior consists of conscious and unconscious observable acts performed by an individual in response to his or her environment. Thoughts are cognitive processes involving self-talk, rationalizations, imagination/creativity, calculations, schemes, and judgments to name a few. Affect is how we present ourselves to ourselves and others in body language, choice of words, expressions of emotion and fluidity of motion and the degree to which actions match emotions. These definitions are personal inferences from similar definitions found in the Online Merriam-Webster dictionary (2012.) The following questions and answers reflect the views of the author:
Questions and Answers:
What guides or influences human behavior, affect and thought?
The aspects of human behavior, affect, and thought are influenced by a variety of sources. I will consider each aspect separately.
Behavior. Human behavior can be viewed as the by-product of a conglomeration of inputs from various sources in life. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious behavior is driven by factors such as inner drives such as survival of the self and species stemming from the id, parts of the superego where authoritarian “voices” guide our decisions, and even the sub-conscious part of the ego that helps keep the id from reigning wildly, habits and biological processes. Conscious behavior can also stem from biological processes. Biological processes such as physical limitations and mental illness are a determining factor in our behavior. In any case, when we are conscious of our acts, there are many possible reasons for the way we act. Each time we behave in any manner, we are making an active choice to do so. What we know about how to get what we want is also a factor in determining our behavior. But what determines our choices? Certainly conditioning plays a role. Exposure to the media of the day and all its overt and covert messages has an effect. Our personality, grown from interactions with our environment since birth, has an impact on what we choose to do. How we perceive the intentions of others also comes into play. The influence of friends and other acquaintances in the various circles in our lives especially during the adolescent period when teens look to members of various crowds that they...