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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behaviourism, Brain Injury, Counselling, My Story, psychology, thoughts influence on physical body, Uncategorized

21. Behaviousrism (part 1)

The Behaviourist approach

Behaviourists explain maladaptive behaviour in terms of the learning principles that sustain and maintain it.

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Behaviourism focuses on the association between an individual’s behaviour and their surrounding environment, i.e., behaviour is simply a response to a stimulus or stimuli [without any consideration given to any influence of the individual’s mental state]. Thus, it follows that our behaviour is determined by the environment’s stimuli from which we learn how to respond accordingly. Because humans are born (like a blank slate) with only a few innate reflexes, all behaviours (both normal and abnormal) are seen by behaviourists as being learned through interacting with the environment. Learning and experiences determine how the individual becomes as a person.

Studying the behaviour of animals, Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) noticed that pleasant events would encourage a certain response whereas unpleasant/noxious events would ‘stamp out’ responses or at least make them less likely to occur again. Thorndike explained the ‘law of effect’ as how the consequences of a behaviour affect the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated.

Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), whilst studying digestion, found that hungry dogs began salivating when they saw the assistant who fed the dogs. Pavlov then discovered that it was possible to train the dogs to salivate in response to different stimuli, e.g., the sound of a bell, before the dogs were given food. This showed that dogs could learn to respond to a stimulus that had not previously elicited a response.

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

Martin, G.N., Clarkson, N.R., & Buskist,W. (2007). ‘The science of Psychology:                          Behaviourism’, Psychology (3rd ed.). Pearson Education Limited; England, U.K.

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.

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

16.A little background on Jung (part 1)

A little background on Jung

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Born in Switzerland in 1875, Carl Gustav Jung had a stressful, oppressive childhood. Both his parents were religious (his father was a minister) which was influential on his theory of personality. His mother suffered a nervous breakdown causing her to be hospitalized for several months which prevented her from being present during Jung’s crucial years of developing an attachment (according to Bowlby). As an adult, Jung had his own psychiatry practice whilst teaching at various universities and was influenced by some of Freud’s earlier opinions on psychoanalysis. He enjoyed travelling and wrote many works experiencing much emotion living through both world wars before his death in 1961 [1].

Early attempts to identify types of character/ personality included ancient cosmological philosophies which involved observational patterns of behaviour, i.e., astrological horoscopes, and the Greek physiological categories that were based on the outdated idea of humorism (i.e., an excess or lack of certain bodily fluids (humors) influenced one’s temperament, emotions, and personality). One such ‘humorist’ theory, offered by Hippocrates, described an individual’s temperament according to their bodily secretions: phlegmatic (phlegm) was associated with being tranquil and thoughtful; sanguine (blood) was associated with being outgoing and fun seeking; choleric (yellow bile) was associated with ambition and taking leadership; and melancholic (black bile) was associated with investigative and literal characteristics.

Also heavily influenced by humorism, Galen of Pergamon (Roman; AD 131–200)) developed Hippocrates’ (Greek) theory of temperament further, describing how a physiological imbalance of excess humors could occur between the ‘four’ elements: hot, cold, dry and wet.  Galen described a total of nine temperaments, including balances of (paired) qualities, stating that the ideal personality would be a mix of complementary characteristics such as warm (sanguine) and moist (choleric) or cool (melancholic) and dry (phlegmatic). Individuals with a personality of one dominant quality were not ideal.

Jung recognised three components of the personality: the ego (one’s consciousness including thoughts, feelings, perceptions and memories); the personal unconscious (unique, personal experiences that are repressed or forgotten); and the collective unconscious (a bond between humans that includes shared experiences (archetypes) such as birth, death, light, dark, power, males, females, sex, pain). He highlighted five important archetypes: the persona (deceptive public self), the anima (the female component in males derived from life times of experiences with females, which also aids interactions with females), the animus (the male component in females which should be demonstrated to avoid being portrayed as easily controlled), the shadow (the dark (opposing), inferior part of the personality (includes lust, anger etc.) which must be understood in order to reach wholeness); and the self (one’s life goal of “wholeness” with balanced integration of personality components).

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!

Bibliography

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.