top-rated free essay

Behaviorist description of depression

By RexKent Apr 01, 2006 501 Words
The behavioral perspective of depression links the disorder to a deficit of positive reinforcements in one's life. This lack of reinforcement results in the decline of constructive behavior, which in turn results in depression. Behaviorists posit that a person suffering from depression can develop a plan of action to replenish the deficit of positive reinforcement through the cooperation of family, friends and the therapist. In other words, according to behaviorists, the patient's inability to cope with life stress leads to social withdrawal, which reduces the rate of positive reinforcements, which then results in depression.

The belief that a person suffering from depression can behave him- or herself out of it is both appealing and troublesome. The benefits of constructive activity notwithstanding, dependence on others for positive reinforcement could result in depression that waxes and wanes in direct proportion to the presence or absence of external stimuli. The danger inherent is this view is of placing too strong a focus on those external reinforcements.

A patient who places conditions of worth on his or her actions may be convinced that others will never be in a state of approval of those actions. Such a patient may benefit more greatly from a cognitive therapy that addresses his or her maladaptive thinking patterns and self-deprecating automatic thoughts. It is the therapist's responsibility to assess the most effective treatment based on the patient's individual profile. The specific therapeutic approach must be tailored to the patent's needs and capabilities. If the patient requires guidance to change maladaptive thinking, then a plan to simply change behavior is doomed to fail.

The behaviorist perspective can also be interpreted as placing responsibility for depression squarely on the shoulders of the patient. Encouragement (of the patient to take charge of his or her own recovery by changing the nature of his or her personal relationships) can be effective with a strong-willed person who is committed to recovery. By helping to develop a plan of action and monitoring its success and opportunities for improvement, the behavioral therapist maintains at once a reliable presence at a respectful distance.

The patient's relationships are also important factors in depression that must be addressed to treat depression; ergo behavioral therapy must tackle negativity in that facet of the patient's life. The therapist must assess the overall relationship dynamic and any negative patterns of communication between the patient and his or her most significant others.

Ideally, a behavioral therapist has evaluated the patient and hypothesized that he or she will benefit from changing behavioral patterns. The therapist patient will then work closely with the patient to assess the nature of his or her innate behavioral patterns to determine which are constructive and which detract from his or her impression of positive reinforcement. Classical conditioning is not suited for this task but modeling and shaping may be effective. Operant conditioning, by definition, is the order of the day. The patient will receive continuous positive reinforcement for behaviors that combat his or her depression, while those that feed the depression will become extinct.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Depression

    ... Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that may be a normal reaction to life events or circumstances, a symptom of some medical conditions, a side effect of some drugs or medical treatments, or a symptom of certain psychiatric syndromes such as the mood disorders major depressive disorder and dysthymia. Depression in childho...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ... A Research Paper: Depression Depression is defined as a mental illness in which a person experiences deep, unshakable sadness and diminished interest in nearly all activities. The term depression is used to describe the temporary sadness, loneliness, or blues that everyone feels from time to time. Depression is one of the most common ...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ...Depression By: Shelly McNalley Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology Teacher: Michelle Sharpe May 22, 2013 Depression I. What is Depression? II. Signs and Symptoms of Depression a. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness b. Loss of interest in daily activities c. Appetite or weight ch...

    Read More
  • Description

    ...description [pic] Licentiate in Psychology 心理學學士學位課程 Module Descriptions Languages ENGLISH I 英語I Integrated learning activities involving all skill areas help students practice and apply the fundamentals of English in a more varied setting and develop more accuracy and control of thei...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ...Depression Everyone experiences variations in moods. Many people at some point in life feel disappointment, grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one, or just the simple blues. Severe or prolonged depression that interferes with one’s ability to function, feel pleasure or maintain interest is not a mere case of the blues. It is an ill...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ...Depression is a manic-depressive form of an attack. With low emotional, mental retardation, and speech movements decreased slowly for the typical symptoms. In patients with severe depression troubled life and work, to family and society of the heavy burden, about 15% of patients with depression die by suicide. World Health Organization, the W...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ... Depression is not only a state of being sad, it is a disease that conquers the ability to feel emotion, whether good or bad, whatsoever. Depression not only involves the mind, it also involves the body and thoughts. In different cultures some complain of excessive headaches and extreme pain and this is identified as depression, moderate or othe...

    Read More
  • Depression

    ...INFORMATIVE SPEECH OUTLINE DEPRESSION JIMENA VILLEGAS SPC1017 INTRODUCTION Hook: How many of you are going through depression? Or do you have friends and/or family members who are going through depression? Thesis Statement: Today I will talk about depression. I will talk about the background, the causes of this disease, the...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.