“Behaviourists Explain Maladaptive Behavior 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”.

This essay will be in two parts. The first part will be looking at today’s aspect of working with clients with maladaptive behavior in both approaches. The second with be looking and comparing the histories and research behind both approaches.
The behaviourist approach makes the following assumption that all behaviour is a response to a stimulus. They assume that what we do is determined by the environment we are in, which provides stimuli to which we respond, and the environments we have been in in the past, which caused us to learn to respond to stimuli in particular ways. Behaviourists believe that it is unnecessary to speculate about internal mental processes when explaining behaviour: it is enough to know which stimuli elicit which responses. They also believe that people are born with only a handful of innate reflexes (stimulus-response units that do not need to be learned) 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.
Some of the techniques and strategies used in this approach to therapy include:
Flooding: This process involves exposing people to fear-invoking objects or situations intensely and rapidly. It is often used to treat phobias, anxiety, and other stress-related disorders.
Systematic Desensitization: This technique involves having a client make a list of fears and then teaching the individual to relax while concentrating on these fears.
Aversion Therapy: This process involves pairing an undesirable behavior with an aversive stimulus in the hope that the unwanted behavior will eventually be reduced.
Behavior therapy based on operant conditioning
Many behavior techniques rely on the principles of operant conditioning, which means that they utilize reinforcement, punishment, shaping, modeling, and related techniques to alter behavior. Some of the...