Behaviourists 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”.

Maladaptive behaviour refers to types of behaviors that inhibit a person’s ability to adjust to particular situations. Sometimes, people who do not feel confident in meeting the challenges that life presents to them   develop maladaptive behavior to reduce their anxiety. Unfortunately, this almost never works out well. Avoiding situations because of unrealistic fears may initially reduce anxiety, but this avoidance is just that, it does not solve the actual problems. Eventually, problems can become so big that the pain of avoiding them is overwhelming. They can no longer be ignored. A common type of maladaptive behavior is turning to alcohol or drugs for refuge instead of working to address a challenge. In the beginning, these substances create the impression for their abusers that they are escaping their problems, but this is only a temporary reprieve. They are actually making things much worse, and they risk falling into addiction. Some of these people may have an undiagnosed mental health condition such as depression or anxiety disorder, and this is referred to as self-medication. Whatever the underlying cause, as time passes the damage caused by the substance abuse outweighs any benefits that people exhibiting this maladaptive behavior may be getting. These people often do not recognise this. Sadly, by the time they escape their denial they will already be addicted to these substances.

The term ‘therapy’ literary means, “curing, healing” and is defined as a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.   Historically, there has been considerable development in the range and types of therapy that can be used to help a client overcome their problems in a modern world. Some of these theories are very different while others share similarities.
In 1925, John Watson a behavioural psychologist, made the notorious claim that,
‘if you give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one...