Behaviourists Explain Maladaptive Behaviour in Terms of the Learning Principals That Sustain and Maintain It

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.
Introduction: The main focus of this essay is a comparative discussion regarding the similarities and distinctions between the behavioural approach to therapy and a psychoanalytic approach. The essay outlines that whilst there are fundamental differences between the approaches, there are also some similarities. Informed by the assignment title, the essay begins by defining the meaning of maladaptive behaviour, looking at how this may relate to the individual or to wider sociological pressures. The essay concludes by drawing together the main findings from the research and recommends an integrative approach to therapy based on the needs of the client.
Maladaptive Behaviour: Whilst the primary purpose of this essay is to explore the contrasting approaches of behaviourism and psychoanalysis, it is useful to start with a definition of the term ‘maladaptive behaviour’. The aim of this is to provide an understanding of how ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ thinking and behaviour is perceived and understood, and how this can impact upon therapy with a client.
‘Maladaptive is a term used in psychology to refer to patterns of thinking and behaviour that causes and maintain emotional problems. A maladaptive thinking pattern sometimes can be accompanied by “irrational thinking”, which are beliefs that are held even though they are not true’.
The above quote provides a definition of the term maladaptive and gives the therapists a framework in which to recognise the emotional and behavioural problems that have brought the client to therapy. The therapist and the client can then explore the reasons for these issues and work on making changes to address this.
Whilst maladaptive behaviour can be...