This theory also has a part on education for example the repetition of the way a teacher pronounces something in a language class or the way a teacher explains something. Students believe in their teachers as a person whom knows more than them, so they take it into account and learn from them by repeating what they do linked to what they teach. The behaviourist approach has been very useful at the education sector, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation of offenders, and all theories are always scientific proven.
Nevertheless, its limitations have to be taken into account as well which have been mentioned above, the use of animals to explain human behaviour, the ignorance on the human ability to think, and the comparison of human with machines. Cognitivism is another approach to psychology. The origin of the word cognitive – from the Latin ‘cognitid’ – means ‘to know’ or ‘to understand’. A dictionary defines the word cognitive as ‘connected with mental processes of understanding’.
(Hornby, 1948: 288) This perspective is directly linked with the internal mental processes of thought such as memory, problem-solving, thinking, and language. The cognitive psychological perspective is seen as a response to behaviourism because cognitive psychologists see humans as rational beings not as programmed animals with no ability to think. The study of the mental processes is not observable which contrasts with the behaviourist idea to study only observable thinks. This perspective became established in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Jerome Bruner contributed to the advance of the cognitive approach to psychology but there is no certain information about the founder of this approach. The focus of the cognitive psychologists is on the way the brain processes information (stimuli) received (input) which leads to a certain behaviour (output). This process is compared with the computer function. This comparison is not too coherent because the human mind/the brain, is far more advanced than a computer. It is one of the weaknesses of this approach.
Humanistic psychologists see the cognitive approach as a cold approach because cognitive psychologists ignore any emotions an individual may have and prove everything in a way too clinical. Conversely all mental processes are investigated scientifically which is good to cognitivism. Humanistic approach to psychology was emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s as dissatisfaction of behaviourism and psychoanalysis. Humanists emphasize the uniqueness of human beings and their capacity to be self-determining and responsible which by others words means use of free-will.
It was the main reason for humanists’ dissatisfaction with behaviourist and psychodynamic perspectives because humanists see these perspectives as reductionist and determinist. The main promoters of the humanistic approach are Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Maslow believed that every human has the need of self-actualisation, or reach their full potential but before that basic needs have to be met in order to self-actualisation be reached, and Rogers believed that all people are born with actualizing tendency so he developed client-centred therapy to help people in the process of self-actualisation.
The clients have the power and motivation to help themselves, given the right circumstances. The aim of this therapy ‘is to help clients clarify their thoughts on problems to gain greater insight into them. This greater understanding helps clients to recognize their own strengths and limitations, and very often accompanied by an increase of self-esteem. ‘ (Malim, T and Birch, A, 1998: 29) Both beliefs are person-centred, valorise a person’s perspectives, and see people in a positive way.
These aspects have a great contribution to a healthy development of self-esteem because they help people to give them the right value and see them in a positive way recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. Humanism has been very practical on the assessment of self-concept and on the development of therapies that encourage self-respect and autonomy in individuals which contribute to the development of self-esteem in individuals. Although the humanistic approach has been very useful on psychotherapies and counselling methods such as marriage counselling it cannot be proven scientifically which a limitation for this approach is.
Techniques of self-help and self-improvement can also be a weakness in humanism when the clients are withdrawn or seriously disturbed, and/or when the client prefers to be given guidance instead of to guide him. The fact that the success of its therapies particularly counselling depends on counsellor’s skills is also a limitation because it has been difficult to prove what makes a good counsellor. All these approaches have different ways to support someone through transition and change. Each approach has its therapies and the way they help someone supports the theories of that approach.
Humanistic therapies are often described as ‘client-centred’ because they focus their attention to the client’s perspective and not to the therapist’s perspectives. These therapies are non-directive in order to encourage the self-determination of the client and to allow the client to use his freewill. Client-centred therapy, also known as counselling, helps a person make freewill choices to make them closer to the person they want to be as long as the therapist displays genuine warmth, shows empathy, and provide accurate insight into the client’s life.
It may be useful, for example, to someone whom has ’empty-nest’ feelings. A person that, after all their children leave home, does not see in what way they may be use now. Counselling may help that person to make freewill decisions in what to do in order to feel useful again. Cognitive behavioural therapies ‘focuses on the link between what you think about yourself or a situation (the cognitive part) and how this in turn affects the way you act (thee behaviour part). The aim of CBT is to help a person find more realistic and appropriate ways of coping with the problems in their life.
It may help someone with an aggressive behaviour to a specific racial group derived from a life event such as murder of someone close by a person from the racial group involved. For example Elli’s rational emotive behaviour therapy (a cognitive therapy) may help that person identify generalised irrational and false beliefs (e. g. all people of that racial group are murders) and with the help of the therapist change these beliefs, often through reality testing, to more rational beliefs. The behavioural therapies are based on the principles of classical or operant conditioning.
An example of behavioural therapy is: Systematic desensitization. That therapy is very useful to remove phobias. It can happen ‘by gradually introducing the object of phobia whilst pairing it with something pleasant. ‘(Malim, T and Birch, A, 1998: 23) In my opinion counselling is the best form to support someone through transition and change because a person going through it generally have the tendency to loss the good of them but counselling helps the person to have a positive self-image and contribute to a healthy self-esteem.
However, for those very disturbed mentally cognitive behavioural therapies are more practical because therapists help the client to think in a clear way, which is difficult to the client because of mental disturbs that unable clear think. Basically in this essay I gave a brief overall of behaviourist, cognitive, and humanist approaches to psychology. They are all different, some of them were created to show dissatisfaction of other perspectives but I personally think that a combination of certain perspectives is what best support someone going through transition and change.
Humanism is very good in the way that empowers the client to set what is best for them but that perspective does not enable those that are not able to guide them or that simply prefer to have guidance from others to set a ‘list’ of what is good or bad for them. Thus, a combination of humanism and cognitivism would be brilliant because cognitivism has that part that humanism does not have – to change the mind of ‘weak’ clients.
That’s because cognitive psychologists are able to persuade the patient in order to make them have more rational and real beliefs.
Books Hayes, N. and Orrell, S. (1998) Psychology an Introduction, 3rd Edition, Essex: Logman Hill, G. (1998) Advanced Psychology through diagrams, Oxford: Oxford University Press Malim, T. and Birch, A. (1998) Introductory Psychology, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Williamson, M. , Cardweel, M. , and Flanagan, C. (2007) Higher Psychology, Cheltanham: Nelson Thornes Websites http://plato.stanford.edu