Compare and contrast the Psychodynamic and Cognitive Approaches model answer

A model answer for the AS WJEC PY1 Psychology question "compare and contrast the psychodyanamic and cognitive approaches"

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Compare and contrast- Cognitive and Psychodynamic Approaches
The Cognitive and Psychodynamic approaches are similar in that they both consider aspects of nature
and nurture. For example, the cognitive approach looks assumes that behaviour can be explained in
both terms of the innate mental processes we have (attention, perception, memory and language)
which is the nature side of the debate and also believes that behaviour can be explained in terms of
schemas (mental structures of aspects of the world formed from experience) which is the nurture
side of the debate. Similarly, the psychodynamic approach believes behaviour can be explained in
terms of the innate id, ego and superego alongside the nurture side of the debate in terms of
childhood experiences during the psychosexual stages. Although they look at aspects of nature and
nurture from different perspectives and the cognitive approach does ignore important aspects such
as the influence of social/ cultural factors explaining behaviour, they could both be considered
interactionist- though the psychodynamic approach is in far more depth in terms of providing a
framework for putting nature and nurture together.
In terms of the determinism vs free will psychological debate, both approaches assume that
behaviour is predetermined for us rather than us choosing our actions, however, the two approaches
take a different direction in this assumption. For example, the psychodynamic approach assumes that
behaviour is predetermined for us in terms of childhood experiences, the psychosexual stages of
development and in terms of the tripartite personality whereas the cognitive approach assumes that
behaviour is predetermined for us in terms of mental processing.
Another similarity between the two approaches is in terms of their methodologies. To elaborate,
both approaches adopt an idiographic approach in that they use case studies such as Anna O in the
psychodynamic approach and HM in the cognitive approach which provide in-depth qualitative data in
order to explain behaviour rather than taking a nomothetic approach.
The psychodynamic and cognitive approach could be considered especially different in that the
cognitive approach takes a more scientific approach in terms of explaining and understanding
behaviour in comparison to the psychodynamic approach. For example, the cognitive approach
assumes that psychology is a pure science and should be treated as such through the use of clear
variables in research and testable hypothesis such as demonstrated in Lofus and Palmer's study on
leading questions in which extraneous variables were controlled and the independent variable of the
verb was manipulated to reveal causal data. On the other hand, the majority of Freud's theories do
not provide testable hypotheses and therefore can not be measured in a scientific way to reveal
causal data. For example, Freud stated that all men have repressed homosexual tendencies which can
in no way be proven objectively.
In terms of the reductionist vs holism psychological debate, these two approaches hold differences.
To elaborate, the psychodynamic approach takes a more holist approach in that in considers a variety
of influences on behaviour including deep analysis into childhood experiences through therapies
taking a number of years such as free association. To contrast, the cognitive approach assumes
behaviour can be considered in terms of a PC and reduced to simplistic mental processes and
therefore it's therapies including rational emotive therapy only take an average of 27 sessions
according to Ellis.


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