Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Theories Research Paper

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Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Theories

Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioral Theories

In this paper, there is going to an examination of Cognitive Behavioral and Psychodynamic theories. This is accomplished by focusing on: the two theories, their theoretical concepts, micro skills / techniques and a summary of these ideas. These elements will show how each one can address issues impacting the patient and the long-term effects upon them.

In the world of psychology, there are different theories which are used to explain how someone reacts to various stimuli. The result is that there has been contrasting ideas about the best way to understand human behavior. Two schools of thought which are very popular are the psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches. (Okun, 2008)

To fully understand them requires examining each one. This will be accomplished by focusing on the two theories, their theoretical concepts, micro skills / techniques and a summary of these ideas. Together, these elements will provide specific insights about how they focus on understanding human behavior and those factors which are influencing it. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Discussion of two preferred theories: a discussion of two preferred theories covered in the textbook, demonstrating your critical thinking about the theories.

Psycho dynamics is focused on comprehending the various factors that will influence someone's feelings, emotions, behavior and how they relate to early experiences in life. This is achieved through the person's conscious and unconscious motivations. Conscious motivations are when an individual will react to the external object based upon subjective variables such as: emotions, feelings and what they want out of their lives. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

These insights are from the ideas of Sigmund Freud. He believed that human psychological development will occur because of biological instincts and previous experiences. This is taking place through using looking at different areas. The most notable include: the id, ego and superego. The id is the primitive, animalistic urges of the individual. These feelings and emotions are taking a very selfish perspective with it demanding immediate gratification. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

The ego is the realistic portion of the mind that shifts between the desires of the id and superego. This takes a neutral approach in analyzing the situation from different perspectives. The super ego is the morals, societal expectations and how they are interpreted to understand what is happening with the individual. These areas are working together to influence the person's perceptions about various stimuli they are receiving and how they react to it. This is occurs with anxiety developing by repressed emotions being expressed between the id, ego and superego. They are seeking to control the libido. This will decide how the person reacts to various stimuli and the world around them. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

As a result, Freud determined that human behavior was influenced by several different areas. The notable include:

Behavior is shaped by unconscious forces such as: biological instinctual and the environment.

Sex drives are the principle determinants of behavior.

Adult behavior is influenced by early childhood experiences. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Conflicts occur between the id, ego and superego. The individual must be able to balance these out in order to live more empowering lives. Those who do not, will experience behaviors and events which are reflecting an over emphasis on these areas. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

The cognitive behavioral theory believes that someone's thoughts and feelings will have a direct impact on the way a person reacts. The basic idea is to teach patients, that although they do not have any control of the world around them. They can determine what emotions will be expressed and how they react to different events. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

This is accomplished through several different schools of thought in the process. The most notable include: rationale emotional, cognitive and reality therapies. The rational emotional approach is when there is focus on changing someone's behavior through shifting the emotions and feelings associated with specific thoughts. When someone is embracing irrational beliefs, the odds increase that they will exhibit behavior which creates problems in their lives. If they are changed, the person will shift how they react to different events and stimuli. This is when they can exhibit behavior which is more empowering for them. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Cognitive therapy is concerned about dealing with dysfunctional behavior through a process of setting goals and implementing a system. They are focused on slowly changing how the person reacts by having them meet these objectives and following the protocol. It is at this point, when the person will move away from disempowering beliefs and towards those which are more constructive. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Reality therapy is looking at three different aspects of cognitive psychology. These include: realism, responsibility and right -- wrong. It believes that everyone is suffering from a social universal condition vs. some kind of mental disorder. This means that specific needs must be met in order to move someone into pleasure and out of pain. When this happens, past events will not shape their behavior. Instead, these thoughts will tie positive or negative emotions to them. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Further exploration of theoretical concepts of one preferred theory: a deeper exploration of concepts inherent in one of the two preferred theories that were discussed in the first section of the paper.

As a result, how someone manages different stages of their lives will determine their behavior in the future. The most notable include:

Infancy: This is when the person must learn to have a certain amount of trust in those close to them.

Early childhood: In this stage, the person is wrestling with issues such as shame and doubt.

Preschool age: This is focused on taking the initiative or having tremendous amounts of guilt in the process.

School age: In this stage, there is a focus on inferiority vs. industry.

Adolescence: This is when there is an emphasis on identity and role confusion.

Young adulthood: In this stage, there is concentration on the issues of intimacy and isolation.

Middle age: This is looking at stagnation vs. generativity.

Later life: In this stage, there is focus on despair and integrity. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

These different phases will influence how someone reacts to the stimuli they are receiving based upon numerous experiences. At the same time, there is an emphasis on how a person is able to deal with them in order to move to the higher levels. Those who have trouble at any one of them, will experience these conflicts later on in life. This will impact their behavior by influencing the individual's perceptions of the world around them. When this happens, there will be conflict between different forces in trying to address them. (Okun, 2008) (Larson, 2012)

Evidence of this can be seen with observations from Larson (2012) who said, "This uneasy relationship between the appears frequently in psychological theory, where a lack of explicit ontology has led to an identity crisis 'where we seem to possess no genuinely indigenous content'. Our privileging of epistemology has resulted in a focusing of method over shared content, and as a result of this psychological investigation has fluctuated between, and borrowed from, other levels of explanation that fit a particular model of science." This is showing how the conflicts the individual is experiencing will influence their behavior and the way they deal with various issues that arise in their lives. (Larson, 2012)

In the case of cognitive therapy, there is focus on a number of variables to determine how an individual's emotions will influence their behavior. The most notable include:

Negative thoughts disrupt the person's life and leads to a downward spiral of events which happen to them. As this consumes their thoughts, actions and how they react to the world around them. When this occurs, they will let these belief impact their happiness and ability to connect with others.

Distorted realities lead to logical errors. This is taking place by arbitrary interference, overgeneralization, selective abstraction, magnification / minimization, personalization and all or nothing extremes.

Depressive episodes about what the world represents to them. This is when the individual will structure past experiences in a way where it affects their interpretations of current events. In these situations, the person will become more negative and angry at the world around them. (Okun, 2008)

These different factors will influence how the person is reacting. Once this occurs, is the point the different emotions and their negative perceptions will lead to a series of adverse incidents. This is because these views are influencing their behavior. In most situations, they will respond in a very truculent and confrontational manner. The result is that the world will treat them worse and the person will have less opportunities or fulfillment from their lives. (Okun, 2008)

Micro skills and techniques expected to be effective with this theory: a discussion of strategies and techniques included in this theory, as well as other micro skills (effective communication skills) that relate to use of the theory in practice.…

Sources Used in Document:


Larson, P. (2012). How Important is an Understanding of the Clients Early Attachments. Counseling Psychology Review, 27 (1), 10 -- 18.

Lucia, M. (2012). Therapeutic Activities and Psychological Interventions. Counseling and Psychotherapy Research, 12 (2), 118 -- 127.

Okun, B. (2008). Effective Helping: Interviewing and Counseling Techniques. New York, NY: Brooks and Cole.

Parpottis, P. (2012). Working with the Therapeutic Relationship. Counseling Psychology Review, 27 (3), 91-97

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