by Saul McLeod published 2010
Behaviorism see psychological disorders as the result of maladaptive learning, as people are born tabula rasa (a blank slate). They do not assume that sets of symptoms reflect single underlying causes.
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 behavior should as eating disorders.Consequently, if a behavior is learnt, it can also be unlearned.
Behavioral therapies are based on the theory of classical conditioning. The premise is that all behavior is learned; faulty learning (i.e. conditioning) is the cause of abnormal behavior. Therefore the individual has to learn the correct or acceptable behavior.
An important feature of behavioral therapy is its focus on current problems and behavior, and on attempts to remove behavior the patient finds troublesome. This contrasts greatly with psychodynamic therapy (re: Freud), where the focus is much more 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 (e.g. phobia, additional etc.).
How to cite this article:
McLeod, S. A. (2010). . Retrieved from
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