outline and evaluate the behavioural treatments of abnormality

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  • Created by: mitch970
  • Created on: 26-11-13 09:56

outline and evaluate the behavioural treatments of abnormality


Behaviorism assumes that all behaviour is learnt from the environment and symptoms are acquired through classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning involves learning by association and is usually the cause of most phobias. Operant conditioning involves learning by reinforcement (e.g. rewards and punishment), and can explain abnormal behaviour should as eating disorders.

Behavioral therapies are based on the theory of classical conditioning.  It is thought  that all behavior is learned, so faulty learning (i.e. conditioning) is the cause of abnormal behavior. Therefore the individual has to learn the correct or acceptable behaviour.  An important feature of behavioural therapy is its focus on current problems and behaviour. This contrasts greatly with psychodynamic therapy (Freud), where the focus is on trying to uncover unresolved conflicts from childhood (i.e. the cause of abnormal behavior).  Examples of behavior therapy include:

The theory of classical conditioning suggests a response is learned and repeated through immediate association.  behavioral therapies based on classical conditioning aim to break the association between stimulus and undesired response.

systematic desensitisation This therapy aims to remove the fear response of a phobia, and substitute a relaxation response to the conditional stimulus gradually using




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