behaviourism, Counselling, Freud, Jung, psychology, Uncategorized

24. Behaviourism: critique (part 4)

Criticisms and strengths

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Behaviourism is based on the controversial assumption that animals and humans share the same cognitive processes of learning. Behaviourism has been criticised by psychoanalysts for overlooking subjective experiences. It has also been widely criticised for failing to acknowledge the biological nature of humans and genetic influences, plus the artificial conditions under which many of the experiments took place. According to behaviourism, it would appear that humans do not have free will and their fate is determined by the environment (deterministic philosophy). The individual’s cognitive processes of learning or mental state are not taken into consideration. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1977) demonstrated that individuals do learn through observation of others’ behaviours. Behaviourism does not seem to provide an explanation behind creative or spontaneous behaviour or indeed how individuals are capable of solving problems without the necessary lengthy periods of trial and error. However, its strengths lie in the scientific methods used where objectivity, and controlled variables, with observable and accurate measurement produce reliable results.

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behaviourism, Brain Injury, Counselling, Freud, My Story, Uncategorized

23. Behaviourism: to fix us? (part 3)

Behaviourism: can this be used to fix us?

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John B. Watson (1878-1958) formally introduced behaviourism with the publication of his book ‘Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist’ (Watson, 1919) where he showed psychology to be completely objective (with no need for introspection). He promoted the use of scientific methods which involved the control of variables, and accurate measurements to gain observable, reliable results. Cognitive learning processes, genetic influences, any innate differences, and the artificial conditions of the experiment were not taken into consideration.

Maladaptive behaviour would therefore be seen by the behaviourist to be learned (maladaptive) behaviour, learned through classical conditioning and maintained through operant conditioning. Therefore, if a female adult presented with a fear of spiders, for example, the fear would be explained by her childhood experience (classical conditioning) of a spider suddenly appearing on her hand (fright paired with stimulus) as she reached to the back of the wardrobe to pick up her shoes. Since then her continual avoidance of spiders would have negatively reinforced (operant conditioning) the behaviour to the point that she would later fear leaving the house in case she encountered a spider.

With the additional aspect of cognition, where the cognitive steps behind the behaviour are taken into consideration, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating adult anxiety disorders, and in this case, the technique of systematic desensitization would help by gradually exposing the woman to the feared stimulus (i.e., the spider) so that the maladaptive behaviour could be unlearned (extinction). This technique might begin with simply mentioning the word ‘spider’, talking about a spider, and gradually progressing on to looking at a picture of one, until eventually she could actually be in the same room as a spider and finally be able to come into contact with a spider without feeling anxiety. Behaviour modification techniques have also been shown to be effective in anxieties, phobias, depression and multiple sclerosis amongst many other disorders.

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Counselling, Freud, Jung, My Story, psychology, Uncategorized

20. A little background on Jung (part 5)

 

Is Jung relevant today?

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In today’s counselling environment Jung’s observations can help determine therapeutic goals. For example, an individual who is extremely extrovert may have lost touch with who he really is and what he actually wants. In this instance, consideration could be given to focussing on his introverted side to investigate who he really is. Homework could be given to encourage him to spend time on introspection, questioning his relationships with others, what he thinks he needs from others, what he thinks he actually gets from others, how he feels, why he is trying to impress them etc. This may lead on to discovering that he has difficulty saying “no” to his colleagues and work can then commence on that aspect. Also, through introspection, repressed feelings (from the personal or collective consciousness) may arise into consciousness which can consequently be worked on accordingly.

An individual presenting with an unbalanced archetype, e.g., cannot separate from the “persona” may be able, through introspection, to figure out which behaviours are acceptable, which behaviours are judged by the individual to be negative and look at the reasons behind the individual’s judgment.

Finally, one’s shadow can be investigated, again through introspection, so that any undesirable thoughts can be consciously faced, acknowledged and accepted allowing the individual to be more in control of these unconscious thoughts and not fear them.

Although rarely used by psychologists in a clinical setting, psychometric tests which have been adapted from Jung’s typology, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Gray-Wheelwright Type Survey, and the Singer-Loomis Inventory are commonly used today. Such tests have become fairly well known over the last few decades as they became more ‘fashionable’, and abridged versions are regularly featured in magazines. In the business world these tests can be useful in improving group dynamics, e.g., team building, to increase overall work productivity and are commonly used when managers are initiating novel ideas and projects. The MBTI is frequently used in career planning, professional development, and marketing. Educational environments also take advantage of these tests to establish how individuals prefer to perceive their external world and make decisions. From this information, teaching styles can be adapted accordingly and even the layout of the classroom can be adapted to benefit learning. These tests may also be useful in marriage counselling today, e.g., with regards to explanations behind ‘mid-life crisis’ and may lead to in-depth investigation of the individual’s ‘shadow’. Jung did not intend for his theory to be used to categorize or label individuals but more as a helpful judge of character. Jung’s work has provided us with a good foundation on which we can continue building. Personality types are worth taking into consideration in the counselling environment and have increased our awareness of individual characteristics.

If you liked this, be sure to subscribe. It’s free and you will have access to my weekly blogs. If there are specific areas of interest that you would like me to write about, please comment or write a question and I’ll do my very best to answer. I would love to hear from you!

References

  1. Sharp, D. (1987). Personality types: Jung’s model of Typology. Inner city books, Toronto, Canada.
  2. Stevens, A. (1994) Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Counselling, Freud, Jung, My Story, psychology, Uncategorized

19. A little background on Jung (part 4)

 Jung: Inferior functionand the shadow

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According to Jung, the inferior function is the one that most strongly resists coming into consciousness thus the individual is not even aware of it. The inferior and undeveloped attitudes, together with characteristics that are not habitually seen in the individual, are all part of the ‘shadow’. Contrary to the ‘ego’ which is mostly held in the conscious, the shadow is the unconscious where repressed and supressed content are stored. This primitive ‘shadow’ is concealed from others in our civilized society but as we develop psychologically towards ‘individuation’, these less civilized traits become integrated with the ‘persona’. This allows the individual to become consciously aware of aspects of the ‘shadow’ thus achieving a more balanced personality. So, for example, an extravert may desire an evening of solitude for some introspective work whilst the introvert may want to go to a party.

Jung thought that to control the shadow’s evil tendencies (both individual evil [“personal shadow”] and collective evil, i.e., committed by a group/ country at war; “archetypal shadow”), it was necessary to understand the conscious and unconscious. In Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” (1963), he noted that evil is just part of human but that through introspection one could identify the evil side within and thus control it [1].

If you liked this, be sure to subscribe. It’s free and you will have access to my weekly blogs. If there are specific areas of interest that you would like me to write about, please comment or write a question and I’ll do my very best to answer. I would love to hear from you!

References

  1. Jung, C.G. (1963). Memories, dreams, reflections. New York: Pantheon Books.
  2. Sharp, D. (1987). Personality types: Jung’s model of Typology. Inner city books, Toronto, Canada.
  3. Stevens, A. (1994). Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

 

Counselling, Freud, Jung, My Story, psychology, thoughts influence on physical body, Uncategorized

18. A little background on Jung (part 3)

Jung: Attitudes and Personality types

 

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Jung conceived two key types of attitude (introvert and extravert) in combination with four orientations (thinking, sensation, intuition and feeling) resulting in eight personality types. He then classed “feeling” and “thinking” as “rational”, and “sensation” and “intuition” as “irrational”. The “primary” function is the most dominant one for that individual.

Inferior

Out of the non-dominant functions, according to Jung, the inferior function is the one that most strongly resists coming into consciousness thus the individual is not even aware of it. In extreme cases, where the individual is too primary function focussed, the neglected inferior function is likely to be problematic, manifesting in other ways within consciousness, e.g., midlife crisis. Therapy can help gradually develop the inferior function by focussing on the auxiliary functions first. During this process, energy will be taken from the primary function and can cause some distress to the individual.

Although individuals are predominantly introverted or extraverted, the opposing attitude remains in the unconscious, compensating the conscious attitude, which may be influential on the other functions. The motivation behind one’s actions can decipher which type of attitude they adopt. Whilst the extravert shows fascination for something beautiful, the introvert appreciates something as an interesting subject fascinated by its “psychic reality”. The extravert attitude places importance on the external world and accepting of external events, readily influenced by external circumstances and adapting to new situations with ease. However, individuals with extreme extraversion are more likely to neglect themselves in order to put the needs of others first. This extreme attitude can result in nervous or physical disorders (according to Jung) which then push the individual along a more introverted direction. According to Jung, with extreme extroverts trying to adapt to their immediate environment, there is a danger of them becoming too influenced by others, becoming easily suggestible, imitating others which can lead to identity issues, and a tendency to distort the truth to impress others with an entertaining story (hysteria).

When too much focus is given to external circumstances, there is also a tendency, of the extravert, to repress subjective impulses, i.e., preventing these impulses from becoming conscious. These repressed impulses, hidden in the unconscious, will build up to later manifest in undesirable, primitive, ruthlessly selfish manners. Similarly, in the case of an introvert repressing internal, subjective instincts, the individual may lose touch with what (s)he really wants or (s)he will want everything, including the impossible, and will want it all ‘now’. Suppression of this can result in a nervous breakdown or even suicide in extreme cases [1].

If you liked this, be sure to subscribe. It’s free and you will have access to my weekly blogs. If there are specific areas of interest that you would like me to write about, please comment or write a question and I’ll do my very best to answer. I would love to hear from you!

References

  1. Sharp, D. (1987). Personality types: Jung’s model of Typology. Inner city books, Toronto, Canada.
  2. Stevens, A. (1994). Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Brain Injury, Counselling, Freud, My Story, psychology, stages of development, thoughts influence on physical body, Uncategorized

15. A little background on Freud (part 5)

Freud: Defence mechanisms

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This final blog on Freud looks at ways we try to protect ourselves from being hurt, often without even realising what we are doing. Freud noted several “defence mechanisms” (described below) that individuals commonly adopt in order to cope with life’s experiences. These are still important today and it is helpful to recognise when you, yourself, are adopting them.

Defence mechanisms (protecting the ‘ego’, i.e., “I”) are a key feature in psychoanalysis and individuals are often completely unaware of them. Defence mechanisms are unconsciously employed by the individual when they feel unable to cope, or feel that they are under attack. The most common ones are:

  • denial – you refuse to acknowledge something
  • repression – you unconsciously hide unpleasant feelings in the unconscious
  • projection – placing YOUR feelings onto someone else, e.g., believing that Mr X does not like you when, actually, it is YOU who does not like Mr X
  • displacement – your feelings are displaced onto someone/something else, e.g., after a disagreement with a work colleague, anger is then ‘offloaded’ onto someone else, often your partner at home!
  • regression – you go back in time and return to feeling/acting like e.g., a child, when faced with an overwhelming unpleasant feeling
  • sublimation – you take out your emotions/ impulses on a substitute, socially acceptable object, e.g., punching out your anger (towards the boss) on a punch bag at the gym
  • rationalization – you distort the facts by cognitively inventing excuses/reasons/ justifications for your behaviour/motivation.

The first step is recognising them. Once these defence mechanisms have been explored, the individual is then able to realise, feel, and ‘own’ their true feelings and accept them without the need to hide them.

If you liked this 5 part blog on Freud, be sure to subscribe. It’s free and you will have access to my weekly blogs. Next week, I begin Jung. If there are specific areas of interest that you would like me to write about, please comment or write a question and I’ll do my very best to answer. I would love to hear from you!

Bibliography

Storr, A. (1989) Freud: A very short introduction, New York, Oxford University Press Inc.

 

Brain Injury, Counselling, Freud, My Story, psychology, stages of development, Uncategorized

14. A little background on Freud (part 4)

Freud…continued

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It must be noted that life in Victorian times was completely dominated by males, and women had no power and very few rights. Freud’s outlandish suggestions did, at least, provoke people to reflect and think more in depth about how parents could somehow contribute to the personal development of their children.

Freud often used “neologisms” (terminology that Freud himself invented) but failed to provide any actual definitions. This contributed further to misunderstanding and confusion over his theory which led to such a broad range of interpretations and viewpoints. He has been accused of being obsessed with sex and has caused much offense by referring to sexual experiences during childhood. This is dependent on one’s interpretation of his work which might be better understood if his environment (at that time) is taken into consideration. His preoccupation of sex possibly shows his own personal projections from his own upbringing (his own father was twenty years senior to his mother) and fantasies with a negative view point of sex reflecting the epoch and the sexually repressed society that he lived in. However, although Freud’s theory of psychosexual development has stirred much controversy, it was, at least, a starting point for research into child development and child psychology. Building upon this foundation, the following more recent approaches emerged: Erik Erikson’s (1959) theory of psychosocial development [2], John Bowlby’s (1973) theory of attachment [1], Jean Piaget’s (1973) theory of cognitive development [3], and Lev Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of social development [4] (which stressed the importance of social interaction) have all surpassed Freud’s theory.

In today’s counselling environment, elements of Freud are still apparent in that a client can talk freely about their presenting issues, their past experiences and family background. Likewise, any lack of memories would, with the client’s consent, be explored.

In conclusion, although Freud’s work has been heavily criticized, his psychosexual development did bring some taboo topics out into the open and it was a starting point in the research of child development which led to the more recent theories of child development. Much of Freud’s work is so ingrained in todays psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy that some of his terminology has seeped into our everyday language. The phrases “anally retentive” and “Freudian slips” are still used in our language today. Despite the lack of empirical evidence to support Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, and its somewhat dated point of view, the basic principle of there being an association between childhood experiences and adulthood traits is still worth bearing in mind as we try to raise our children with the best intentions. Today, most parents are aware that they DO actually play a huge part in their child’s development and it is generally accepted by most people that their childhood experiences do have some influence on their behaviour in adult life.

If you liked this, be sure to subscribe. It’s free and you will have access to my weekly blogs. If there are specific areas of interest that you would like me to write about, please comment or write a question and I’ll do my very best to answer. I would love to hear from you!

References

  1. Bowlby, J. (1973) Separation: Anxiety & Anger. Attachment and Loss (vol. 2). London: Hogarth Press.
  2. Erikson, H. E. (1959) Identity and the life cycle. New York. Norton.
  3. Piaget, J. (1973) Main Trends in Psychology. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  4. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.