Behavioral, Humanistic, and Cognitive Approaches

591 Words3 Pages
Psychologists who operate through behavioral, humanistic, and cognitive approaches all accept Jake’s diagnosis of anxiety as a condition that requires treatment. However, each branch has a unique belief as to where Jake’s anxiety is rooted, and what needs to be done in order to begin minimizing the effects in his life. I will be explaining the “why” and “how” that each of the three branches accept to be true. Behaviorism is the observation of external actions and reactions. Behaviorists believe that a person’s environment is what determines their behavior, so the first step to treating a patient with this approach would be studying their environment to search for triggers of anxiety. In Jake’s case, it is pretty clear that the difficulty of his classes is a cause of stress. But why is that difficulty viewed as a threat, instead of a constructive challenge or an opportunity to learn? Because the possible rewards or punishments in his situation are too extreme, and causing his to feel as though the successfulness of his future is dependent on his success in these classes. In order for Jake to feel less anxious about his performance in these classes, the rewards for his good or bad performance in the class need to be altered. A cognitive approach is often considered to be the opposite of behavioral. A cognitive analysis on a person would not focus on the external, but internal effects on a person. Basically, it is the person’s thinking or interpretation of situations in their life that affects their behavior. Jake is thinking very negatively about his hard classes, interpreting their difficulty as an opportunity for failure. A psychologist treating Jake would need to work to change Jake’s interpretation of what his difficult classes and his performance in them means. If Jake could learn to think about each hard homework assignment or test as a chance to push his
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