M2 and D1 Unit 8

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A comparison of the Behaviourist perspective and the Psychodynamic perspective in the context of health and social care The behaviourist perspective focuses on classical and operant condition. Behaviourists argue that, as behaviour can be learnt, it can also be unlearnt. Within health care this approach could be used in ‘aversion therapy’ whereby patients can be conditioned to avoid certain damaging behaviours such as drinking alcohol or smoking. By linking the substance with a drug that causes nausea or other unpleasant side effects the patient can be taught to avoid the substance. On the other hand the psychodynamic perspective would consider that people acquire an addictive personality because they are stuck in the ‘oral’ stage of development and compensate for their feelings of under gratification by smoking, drinking, or eating too much. This approach would therefore seek to use psychoanalysis to unlock the supressed feelings in the unconscious mind that have triggered the addictive behaviour thus allowing the patient to understand and overcome their addiction. Both of these approaches could have some value and benefit to the client as they both target the individual directly. However, aversion therapy would probably be a swifter solution to the problem which could be of more value if the patient was at risk of dying if they continued the habit. For example, an alcoholic who had liver damage caused by alcohol abuse would need a radical change of lifestyle quickly to preserve their life. Psychoanalysis may be unable to provide this. Conversely, there may be some addictions that would not respond so well to aversion therapy where therapy and counselling would effect a long term change. The behaviourist approach could also be used to target, and change, challenging behaviour in children and young people in residential care. This theory would argue that
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