Psychological Perspectives of Understanding sample essay

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Psychological Perspectives of Understanding sample essay

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This booklet will introduce you to the main psychological perspectives to the understanding of a child’s behaviour development. Each perspective will be described in as much detail as possible, and the theorist that are linked to them. The main perspectives are;

* Psychodynamic
* Freud
* Behaviourist
* Skinner
* Cognitive
* Piget
* Humanist
* Rogers, Maslow, Cooley and mead
* Social learning

The psychodynamic perspective

This perspective is very much based on the early work of Sigmund Freud. It is believed that behaviour is made from a child’s subconscious feelings, which all come from life experiences. It is viewed as a child’s problem as an outward and visible symptom of invisible conflicts. All the conflicts may come from trauma, loss, or from a strained/troubled relationship with parents or carers. Children do not have any inner resources that help them understand their feelings completely so they may be shown in inappropriate and difficult behaviour. Sigmund Freud said that “when a child’s too painful or too difficult feelings are left untalked about, they leak out in difficult and challenging behaviour or in neurotic symptoms.”

The source of a painful feeling is buried under a defensive mechanism that is very hard to find in a child; because of this most children do not understand why they are behaving this way. A psychodynamic assessments are always carried out by psychiatrist as they use techniques that are designed to provide an insight into their past.

To do this they use the response of the child to make inferences about sub-conscious motives for behaviour. Once they have understood the child’s behaviour the psychologists will start an intervention which will help the child express their feelings instead of it coming through their behaviour. These can be done through the following; * Build a supportive relationship with a significant adult * Help the child to talk about what they are feeling in an secure environment

* Express painful feeling through drama, storytelling, play or cartoons The behaviourist perspective

This perspective is based from the work Skinner. It was said “Law of Effect” is the behaviour that leads to strengthened behaviour which is ignored or unsatisfying which is all weakened. Behaviourists claim that all behaviour of children are learned and can be changed by systems, such as rewards or punishment. There are two types of rewards behaviourists use, these are informal and formal.

* Informal – acknowledgement or praise

* Formal – clear targets for example stickers, tokens or points which all then lead to bigger rewards. The behaviourists also claimed that the behaviour requires a scientific approach which is completely based on objectivity and experimentation. The methods they were use were considered to be unscientific, so instead it was all placed on observations on their behaviour rather than a searches for the cause of the behaviour through the child’s past. Behavioural assessments in schools involve observation and recording of a child’s behaviour. When they are observing it is all taken down on an observation checklist, which includes the following titles;

* Antecedent
* Behaviour
* Consequences

All this is then used to form a baseline for a post-intervention can be assessed.

The Cognitive perspective
This perspective shows how a child’s develops understanding what is around them. This refers to different mental activities such as;
* Listening
* Speaking
* Learning
* Understanding

All the theories of cognitive development concentrate on developments of their intellectual skills. All the skills that we have are the ones that have been learnt through cognitive development. If none of the children have cognitive skills then they wouldn’t be able to put past experiences or plan future events, cognitive development is very much concerned with how the mental processes work and develop. There were two psychologists who studied cognitive development, there name was Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Jean Piaget was a psychologist who looked at a child’s developing their reasoning skills.

Piaget carried out detailed observations of them and as his work started taking shape on how our understanding a child’s intellectual skills and as a result of this he has made changes in education. Piaget understood that cognitive developments occurred in stages, his research concentrated on how children learn and start to gain an understanding of their stage of development to be able to learn new concepts. He identified a four-stage process of cognitive development all the way through childhood. He stated that every child would go through each stage but not at the same time, but he also said that some children would sometimes never reach the later stages. The four stages are;

* Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years)
* Children at very young ages start to learn by their own activity and movement. Everything babies touch or see they put into their mouths or hold them tight and they examine them closely. A child develops an understanding through something called schema. Schema is a mental construction which contains all the information a child has about a particular aspect of the world.
* Pre-operational stage (2-7 years)

* At this stage children start to show evidence of thinking but it’s not logical thinking, they are not able to perform mental operations. Children will start to use symbolic behaviour such as pretend play, language and drawings.
* Concrete operations stage (7-11 years)
* At this stage children are able to understand any ideas in a much more logical way but they sometimes still find it hard to understand concepts.
* Formal operational stage (age 12 to adult)

* At this stage children are able to think in a way which is more abstract and logical way, they can use reasoning skills; they are applying a general principle to a particular situation. Children are more flexible in the way they think. There are two people who have been highly interested in cognitive styles of therapy.

Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck has used methods of cognitive behavioural therapy to treat many people who have or are suicidal, depressed or may have personality disorders. Whereas Albert Ellis looked at the different ways to change their behaviour my using methods of Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, he used this to show his patients that their feelings were results of different habits by conditioning rather than being realistic. Therapists that use this approach use training and role-play techniques to modify their behaviour.

The humanist perspective

This perspective makes positive aspects of development and growth, this emphasises a person’s unique experiences to a personal thoughts. There are four psychologists that are specialised in this perspective, these four are;
* Carl Rogers
* Rogers developed the concept on self-esteem. According to him everyone has an idea of what someone’s ideal self should be. He believed that if your image of your self is the same as your ideal self then you have good self-esteem. Rogers said that the development of self-esteem all depends on positive regard from others, the effect of a child’s self-esteem will come from their parents’ unconditional love and affection. Children will start to cope with different situations as they get older, for example a sense of achievement or failure in either sports or their educational skills. Rogers also considered cultural factors, gender and physical attributes to come to his conclusion.
* Abraham Maslow
* Maslow’s theory is based on individuals that are being motivated through seeking to develop through five levels of need. The most basic needs are physiological which are survival instinct, which is then followed by safety needs, belonging and loving needs, self-esteem needs and at the very top is personals achievements and growth.
* Cooley
* Cooley proposed “looking glass” theory, which means that the behaviour from children to others acts like a looking glass which gives us a reflection of ourselves. It raises people’s self-esteem.
* Mead
* Mead had the view that everyone has two aspects “I” and “me”. This means that “I” is the social responses of individual and “me” being the responses and attitudes of others. It was important of the communication with others for the development of self-esteem.

The Social learning perspective

Social psychology looks at aspects of development such as behaviour such as being in a group, leadership, non-verbal behaviour and aggression. The social perspective looks at the environment, interactions with others that have influenced the child’s behaviour and attitudes. Bandura theory emphasises on the environment and the social steps of learning. His view is that it would be part of a child’s self development, is what they have observed and imitated from people around them.

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