Behaviourist Explain Maladaptive Behaviour in Terms of the Learinging Principles That Sustain and Maintian It. Discuss This Statement and Show How a Behaviourist's Approach to Therapy Is in Stark Contrast to a Psychoanalytic One

Yvette Ellis (2,402)

Joy Hewitt   MANCH2A(B)2-4

Essay Title: “Behaviourist explain maladaptive behaviour in terms of the learning principles that sustain and maintain it. Discuss this statement and show how a behaviourist’s approach to therapy is in stark contrast to a psychoanalytic one”

In the first section of my essay I will try and compare and contrast the maladaptive behaviour and learning principles that sustain it. Behaviourism is a school of thought in psychology based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment.

Behaviours originated with the work of John B. Watson (1878 - 1958), an American psychologist. Watson and other early behaviourists believed that controlled laboratory studies were the most effective way to study learning. With this approach, manipulation of the learner’s environment was the key to fostering development. (Wikimedia   Foundation, Inc. Watson, B, John. (2014) Behaviourism).

Watson made a notorious claim in his book “Twelve infants” quotation, that ’if you give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own special world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select’. This ideology, which later was to be called behaviourism, asserted that all psychology must be completely measurable, recordable and scientific. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2014) Watson, B, John.)

The term therapy has been defined as an activity which involves the treatment of a disease or disorder. Through the behaviourist approach, Watson conducted research on animal behaviour, child rearing, and advertising, he also conducted the controversial “Little Albert” experiment, where he conditioned a small child to fear a white rat. This was accomplished by repeatedly pairing the white rat with a loud, frightening clanging noise. He was also able to demonstrate that this fear could be generalised to other white furry...