Psy 443

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mouseBasic Assumptions of Behavior Modification

This table provides a comparison of behavior therapy (modification) to a second major approach to therapy (Psychoanalysis). For brevity's sake, both approaches have been simplified.

Behavior Therapy versus Psychoanalysis
Focus on observable behavior. Rejects traditional notion of "underlying causes" or "unconscious." Focus on inferred constructs, especially id, ego, superego
The environment and learning cause maladaptive behaviors. (Some behavior is explainable by genetics). Unconscious processes cause behavior.
Psychological learning principles can modify behavior. Change comes from action. Uncover "underlying" causes. Change comes from talking, "insight".

Goals are specific and objectively defined.

  • outcome goals, ex."improve mastery of course material;"
  • target behavior, ex. "time spent reading;"
  • behavioral goal, ex. "read 3 hours daily"
Goals? If any, vague: "feel better."
Behavior is situation specific. "Traits," such as "laziness," are invented concepts and unnecessary for change. "Traits" are considered formed by age 5 and set for life.
Pull from a variety of techniques and adapt them to the individual client. Search for new techniques. Ex. systematic desensitization, token economy, 1 general treatment for every client (talking), eg dream analysis, free association
Focus on the present. Is change occurring now? What in the immediate environment is contributing to the behavior? Searches what happened to the client in the past (typically childhood).
Research a therapeutic technique to determine if it is truly effective. Submit treatment to evaluation. Change if it isn't working. Reject self-report as basis for determining worth of treatment. Reliance on case history (self-report) for evaluation of treatment .

Psy 443
For My Students | Admin/Research | PSY | CTL | WKU 

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Website created: June 1996. Page Created: September 7, 1998. Last Modified: August 18, 2002.