Social behaviour

A large body of evidence suggest that organisms can learn that they are powerless to affect their own destinies. Learned helplessness involves learning that an aversive event can not be avoided or escaped. Seligman (1976), demonstrated, in a series of experiments, that animals can learn that their own behaviour has no affect on the environment. Seligman investigated Pavlovian’s conditioning in dogs. Dogs were exposed to electric shocks they could not avoid. Afterwards they were put into a box with a barrier in the middle. The dogs were given shocks after a warning signal. Although the dogs could escape by jumping over the barrier into the other part of the box, most did not learn to avoid or escape the shocks by jumping over the barrier as soon as the warning signal were presented. Dogs in the control group learned to step over the barrier and therefore avoid being shocked.

Seligman (1975) put forward this theory of learned helplessness to try and explain depression. Seligman suggested that people are generally able to influence many aspects of their environment, but sometimes things just happen, no matter of their own behaviour. If this occurs too often, people will loose motivation and just give up, because they have learned they are helpless in everyday life situations. Hopelessness has been identified as one of the main characteristics of depression.

The character in this scenario does not socialize with her workmates because she does not enjoy it, maybe because she is feeling without energy. Instead of seeing that she has turned down her colleagues so many times before, they do not think to ask anymore, the character seems to think they do not like her. Attribution Theory is when we do not offer explanations to why things happen. There are two types; external, claims that some outside agent or force motivated the event to take place; internal, claims that the person was directly responsible for the event. Donna blames herself for her friends not asking her out anymore not looking at the fact she has turned them down before.

Also this character does not look at the good side of things, she did not recognise a compliment from her manager. Donna had took it to mean she had done a bad job in other areas of her work because the boss did not comment on them. She has feelings of worthlessness and feels she can not control her own environment. Seligman suggests this character will generalize this situation to other aspects of her life.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy by Aaron Beck, is a combination of cognitive therapy with attempts to change behaviour directly. Beck believes that depression is maintained because some patients are unaware of the negative thoughts that they automatically and often say to themselves, such as “I will never be as good as my friends” or “I’m not smart enough to be at this school’. The therapist then uses different tactics to change the cognitive thinking that helps the depression (Beck 1991). Evaluate what the patient thinks about their own automatic thoughts, try to push the blame away from the patient themselves and teach them there are other factors to blame. The therapist will then discuss with the patient different solutions to the problems they face in every day life.

Beck (1976) recommended the use of homework assignments involving the client to behave in ways he/she finds different. Treatment is based on the understanding of each clients individual problems. The therapist and client will then work together to identify goals and to agree with a shared treatment plan. The focus of cognitive therapy is mainly on the here and now rather than the past. The aim of cognitive behavioural therapy is to enable the client to generate solutions to their problems that are more helpful than their present ways of coping. Individuals with social phobia may argue that talking to everyone in the office everyday will make them look stupid and lead to rejection. But if the hypothesis is tested they will find out the fears were exaggerated. Disproving their hypothesis and expanding the social behaviour of the individual, assisting the process of recovery.

Aaron Beck developed a treatment for anxiety and depression based on cognitive theory. Patients tune into their internal dialogue in order to change maladaptive thinking patterns. Beck developed specific procedures to help challenge a depressive client’s assumptions and beliefs. Patients learn how to change their thinking. Depression and anxiety can be treated with medications, or psychotherapy, or both. Some research has shown that the combination of medications and therapy can be particularly effective. While some anxiety medications can result in dependence, this is rarely true of antidepressants.

Erikson saw personality development as advancing through eight invariant stages, certain aspects of personality development are best dealt with at particular stages in life. These stages are called psychosocial as he gave greater emphasis to the role of the social world which includes friends and relatives as well as culture and society as a whole. Each stage presents the individual with a series of psychological conflicts. The third crisis for Erikson is initiative versus guilt. This takes place in early childhood.

The most important event at this stage is independence. The child continues to be assertive and to take the initiative. Playing and hero worshipping are an important form of initiative for children. Children in this stage are eager for responsibility. It is essential for adults to confirm that the child’s initiative is accepted no matter how small it may be. If the child is not given a chance to be responsible and do things on their own, a sense of guilt may develop (Erikson, 1974). The child will come to believe that what they want to do is always wrong. In order for a positive outcome in this stage, the children must be guilt free when using imagination. They must be reassured that it is okay to play certain adult roles.

Stage 4, for Erikson is industry versus inferiority. The age range of this stage is from 6 to 12 years of age. Social focus is on the neighbourhood and school, and once a child has completed this stage successfully they will have a sense of confidence in one’s own abilities. During the industry versus inferiority stage, Erikson stated a child “will receive some systematic instruction” from adults and “the child becomes ready to handle the utensils, tools, and weapons” used by the adults.

The danger at this stage is a sense of inadequacy and inferiority the child feels if he or she cannot master the tools and skills needed. A feeling of inferiority can jeopardize the child’s sense of identity within his/her society. (Woolfolk, 1987) According to Erikson children in this age enjoy playing games, but they also want to do other things, such as producing something, to get recognition and satisfaction. There is a movement from play to work. The child soon learns that he can win recognition from parents, teachers and peers by being proficient in his school work. The attitudes and opinions of others become important.

Inferiority may occur, if what the child learnt so far is not appreciated at school by his teacher or other children, then the child starts feeling inadequate. Inferiority can take the form of bullying and discrimination. The child must realize their own ability otherwise, according to Erikson, they will not see any reason to perform at school at all. In all social, academic and athletic events, children in the early school years measure themselves against others and begin to feel very competent in certain areas and pursue these areas strongly to achieve a sense of accomplishment and importance. If parents and teachers do not help children to gain a sense of competence in all three areas, children will develop inferiority complexes that may last a lifetime and keep children from developing their interests and talents and social skills.

Play therapy helps children work through emotional, psychosocial and behavioural difficulties and helps address family problems. Play therapy sessions are usually held in a playroom that has a range of carefully selected toys and materials. In special circumstances, play therapy sessions can also be offered in other settings such as the home and hospital. In the playroom, the child can express feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours through play. Toys are used like words and become the child’s natural language (Lindon, 2001). It is an opportunity which is given to the child to act out his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual would talk out his difficulties. Children often have difficulty trying to say in words what they feel or how experiences have affected them. Through the toys and art materials, children can show their inner feelings through what they choose and how they play.

The Play Therapy room becomes a safe place and a relationship of trust develops for the child with the play therapist. This is also known as catharsis, which is the release of fears, anxieties and traumas, children are playing in safe play situation. Play dough, water, sand, and paint are some methods used in play therapy. Sand play is a method of therapy that was developed in the mid-twenties by the English Paediatrician Dr. Margaret Lowenfeld. Lowenfeld, like Klein, Freud and Winnicott understood that children need tools other than language to communicate and make sense of their experiences. It consists of a tray with sand in it and a sufficient number of toys or miniatures so that the child can create a world of their own.

As an expressive technique which is not dependent on verbal ability, sand play offers the three year old an age appropriate method for self-expression and therefore, self understanding through self-confidence. Goals for therapy are matched so that the child experiences one-on-one weekly therapy and ongoing classroom work that helps them successfully deal with separation, socialization, self-esteem and motivation.

As the children develop a language of toys, they play out fantasy solutions and try out new skills that help them adjust to the emotional demands of school. This encourages them to enjoy the learning process. As children learn to overcome their fears and frustrations, they begin to have energy available for classroom learning. The severity of the block to learning needs to be analysed and addressed both in sand play therapy and in the academic environment.

Art is a method used by play therapists when treating adolescences and children. Through creation of art and discussing art with a therapist, the patient can cope with stress and traumatic experiences as well as enjoying the pleasures of artistic creativity. Therapists often use art when talking one-on-one to adolescence and children. While each drawing is individually configured and unique in meaning, common pictorial symbols and metaphors of human figures and animals, place and weather and toys and games usually convey fairly general meanings. (Davenport, 1994)

For example a child may draw a soldier to symbolise conflict or aggression. Negative feelings can be displaced onto pictures or imaginary people, for example a doll. A doll is not just another toy; it is another character in a child’s life. The magic of a child’s love for the doll endures long after she has ceased to play with it.

The infant is entirely dependent and relies completely on others to meet its needs and provide good physical and emotional care. If the parenting need of the infant is being met the infant will learn a sense of trust. After some …

hen becoming an adolescent in other words the stage of identity versus confusion, adolescents look for setting their own personality and sense in what they are and stand for. This can lead them to a sense of control and independence …

An example of the effects of low self-esteem is that “children who have low self-esteem are less likely to put themselves in challenging and new situations. ” (Tassoni, P. 2006 p. 402). This means that children may not accept what …

New classifications of temperament continue to be developed. Kagan (1988; 2003) classifies temperament by comparing shy, timid children with sociable extraverted ones, using ‘inhibition to the unfamiliar’ as a temperament category. Inhibited children were found to react to many unfamiliar …

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