Behaviorists Explain Maladaptive Behaviour in Terms of Learning Principles That Sustain and Maintain It.

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By crysalis2
Words 2747
Pages 11
“Behaviorists 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”.

I will begin my essay by describing the development of behaviourism. This will show how its roots are completely different from those of psychoanalysis. It will also reveal something of the methodology of behaviourism and the principles behind it. This will provide the ground for developing a fuller description of maladaptive behaviour and those elements that 'maintain and sustain' it. I will conclude by contrasting the positions of the Behaviourist and the Analytical Psychologist underlining the ethical issues involved.

The first striking contrast between psychoanalysis and behaviourism lies in the fact that the former was developed in Europe in order to meet the therapeutic needs of patients while the latter grew out of the Progressive Movement (P.M.1880-1920) in the United States. This movement arose from three main sources:
1.The industrial revolution.
2. Scientific Rationalism.
3. Liberal political philosophy.

The P.M. wanted scientific thinking that had created a new society so swiftly, to be brought to bear on every aspect of life. 'Progressives transformed, professionalized and made "scientific" the social sciences, especially history, economics, and political science’. (Wikipedia)
According to the P.M. The discoveries of the Industrial Revolution opened apparently infinite vistas into the future, provided the scientific method was observed and the financial benefits there from were shared with those who had been disadvantaged by it. This political stance arose out of the fear of Social Darwinism, of old power structures being reinforced with the new industrial elite carrying on in the same manner...