Psychology and Social Control

o     Describe issues related to the use of psychological knowledge as a means of social control and assess ethical and practical implications of such control. Issues should include: use of drug therapy, token economy, classical conditioning, influence of the practitioner in treatment/the therapy

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  • Created by: Issy H
  • Created on: 15-06-12 14:00

Use of Drug Therapy

- Used to control depression, combat symptoms of schizophrenia (positive and negative), used to treat addicts (drug bependancy)

Ethical Concerns:

  • Should drug taking be a free choice. What gives the right to someone to control behaviour via drugs. For example, in mental institutions, induviduals are forced to take drugs, but this may not be right. 
  • If you are unable to make the decision, can someone decide for you. 
  • When is it appropriate? In mental institutions are drugs given for the convenience of staff. 
  • Is drug therapy the most effective treatment. A GP may prescribe drugs for ease, whilst CBT may be more important. 
  • Drug testing is done on animals- this has its own ethical concerns. 
  • Should social control stop addicts from using harmful stubstances if it is their choice. WHo has the right to stop them being an addict. 
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Use of Drug Therapy

Practical Issues:

  • Patients may forget to take the drugs, or not take them because of side effect, so it may not be effective. 
  • Drugs have side effects- an issue in itself. 
  • Effectiveness may wear off. Patients may relapse often when released from drug therapy. 
  • An addict needs to agree to comply, attend meetings and councelling. May be forced to move away from their peer group. Drug therapy works best when used alongside other treatments, but this is costly and not time efficient. 
  • Pateints need to be committed or it will not work. 
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Use of Token Economy

- Based on operant conditioning. Tokens are given for desired behaviour. Used to shape behavoiur. Undesired behaviour is ignored. Tokens are exchanged for rewards. 

Ethical Issues:

  • TE is used in the home, in prisons, institutions or in schools, but who does it really beinfit. Staff or patients? Someone decides what desired behaviour is and then forces that on induviduals. 
  • TE may infringe rights of participants as they have to change inorder to be rewarded. They have to conform to someone elses will. 
  • The process may benifit society. However, if rewards are not given over basic needs whe have serious ethical issues. Are induviduals denied the right to eat? 
  • Those with a mental health condition may not have the choice to participate. 
  • TEP's are used for profit in real life. E.g. loyalty cards or club cards. Benifits for businesses. - Corruption?
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Use of Token Economy

Practical Issues: 

  • Not generalisable. Behaviours rewarded in an institution are not applicable to outside world. False expectations are learned. May not be effective ans desired behaviour may not sustain without the use of tokens. 
  • Behaviour may be stopped once released. They only alter behaviour to go along with the reward system, no actually change behaviour for good. 
  • Staff need to be trained which can be costly. The scheme must be done in a fair way. They must learn to treat all induviduals equally and universally. This is hard to establish making it less ethical and effective. 
  • Hard to implament the programme. The rewards must be benificial to induviduals or it will not work as there wont be a motivation to change. 
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Use of Aversion Therapy

- Based on classical conditioning. Used to associate an undesirable thing with an underiable behaviour. Is often used to treat alcohol. Used to be used to treat homosexuality. 

Ethical Issues:

  • Pressure may be put on by the therapist, and make the induvidual uncomfortable, feeling they must have treatment. There is a strongly paired stimulus. May make you feel like you cannot refuse. 
  • Helps to overcome dangerous addictions and habits. 
  • Physical Harm is caused (e.g. nausea from alcohol treatment). Subject to abuse. Electrotherapy. Has once killed a man whilst being treated for homoesexuality. 
  • Participants do however have control over the therpy as it is often self administered. 
  • Classical conditioning is exploited in advertsing. Contreversial debate. Manipulates those subjected to advertising, the media benifits. 
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Use of Aversion Therapy

Practical Issues:

  • Participants are willing to participate- or they wouldn't be there. They want to overcome addiction. 
  • Little equipment is needed meaning there is low cost. 
  • Need to be careful with generalising. If it is used to treat alcohol, shouldnt prevent wanting other liquids. 
  • A rapport needs to be built up so the client trusts the therapist- this is not easy. 
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Types of Power: Developed by French and Rauen

  • Expert Power: power is given to the expert in that area. 
  • Reward Power: Power help by a therapist who can reward a participant. 
  • Legitimate Power: Power given to the one who can shape behaviour, linked to how society expects you to behave. 
  • Corecive Power: Punishing others using power e.g. sectioning or rehab. 
  • Referent Power: Power given to a therapist as the skill they posses is what the client wants/seeks. 
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Influence of the Practitioner

Psychodynamic Therapies:

  • Potential for misuse as the practitioner has power over the participants unconcious mind and experiences. 
  • E.g. Beth Rutherford- therapist manage to induce false thoughts of her father sexually abusing her. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

  • Doesn't raise huge ethical concerns. 
  • Practioner does exert control though tasks and challened, not as significant as psychodynamic. 
  • Therapist works with and alongside the patient. The pateint has more control when compared to other therapies. 

Aversion Therapy:

  • Therapist has control, by pairing a stimulus with a response (change in behaviour)
  • Therapist works with patient to gain a common goal. 
  • Client has to agree and can withdraw- reduces power of clinician.
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Influence of the Practioner

Token Economy:

  • Staff have power over the induviduals behaviour. 
  • Tokens may be with held if staff are not supervised. 
  • Participants do not have power. TEP's are run in closed private institutions. 
  • Participants may not gain consent to participate. No right to withdraw. 

Drug Therapy:

  • Those administering and prescribing have the power. 
  • Issues with addiction/drug dependance. 
  • There is power over addicts. Complience issues. 
  • Courts may specify rehab (social control)
  • The practioner decides what drug to prescribe, or decide if the induvidual needs it. 
  • Many do not comply and abuse drugs anyway. 
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