Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care

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About this sample


Words: 1927 |

Pages: 4|

10 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2019

Words: 1927|Pages: 4|10 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2019

Table of contents

  1. The behaviourist approach
  2. Psychodynamic perspective
  3. Humanistic approach

In this assignment I will explain the principal psychological perspectives and assessing the different psychological approaches to study. The main psychological perspective An approach is a perspective that involves specific norms of the human behaviour, the way they function, which aspects of them are worthy of study and what research methods are appropriate for undertaking this study. There may be several different theories within an approach but they all share these common assumptions. Sometimes people wonder why there are so many different psychology perspectives and whether one approach is correct and others wrong.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

The psychological perspective is the result of a synthesis of cognitive and behavioral psychology theories. In this tradition of research, three strategies are clear: (1) the adoption of attitude change as the most interesting dependent variable, (2) the modeling of communication (i.e., persuasion) as a special case of behavioral learning theory, and (3) the reliance on experimental social psychology for conceptual and methodological research strategies.

The behaviourist approach

Behaviourism is an approach to psychology that emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction to the psychoanalytic theory of the time. Psychoanalytic theory often had difficulty making predictions that could be tested using rigorous experimental methods. The behaviourist school of thought maintains that behaviours can be described scientifically without recourse either to internal physiological events or to hypothetical constructs such as thoughts and beliefs. Rather than focusing on underlying conflicts, behaviourism focuses on observable, overt behaviours that are learned from the environment. Its application to the treatment of mental problems is known as behaviour modification. Learning is seen as behaviour change moulded by experience; it is accomplished largely through either classical or operant conditioning.

In the second half of the 20th century, behaviourism was expanded through advances in cognitive theories. While behaviourism and cognitive schools of psychological thought may not agree theoretically, they have complemented each other in practical therapeutic applications like cognitive-behavioural therapy, which has been used widely in the treatment of many different mental disorders, such as phobias, and addiction. Some behaviour therapies employ Skinner’s theories of operant conditioning: by not reinforcing certain behaviours, these behaviours can be extinguished. Skinner’s radical behaviourism advanced a “triple contingency” model, which explored the links between the environment, behaviour, and the mind. This later gave rise to applied behaviour analysis (ABA), in which operant conditioning techniques are used to reinforce positive behaviours and punish unwanted behaviours.

In social learning theory Albert Bandura (1977) states behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways. Individuals that are observed are called models. In society, children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school. Children pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behaviour. At a later time they may imitate the behaviour they have observed.

First, the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself. Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behaviour modelled by people of the same sex. Second, the people around the child will respond to the behaviour it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment. If a child imitates a model’s behaviour and the consequences are rewarding, the child is likely to continue performing the behaviour. If parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy bear and says “what a kind girl you are”, this is rewarding for the child and makes it more likely that she will repeat the behaviour. Her behaviour has been reinforced. Reinforcement can be external or internal and can be positive or negative. If a child wants approval from parents or peers, this approval is an external reinforcement, but feeling happy about being approved of is an internal reinforcement. A child will behave in a way which it believes will earn approval because it desires approval.

Psychodynamic perspective

In psychology, a psychodynamic theory is a view that explains personality in terms of conscious and unconscious forces, such as unconscious desires and beliefs. In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud proposed a psychodynamic theory according to which personality consists of the id (responsible for instincts and pleasure-seeking), the superego (which attempts to obey the rules of parents and society), and the ego (which mediates between them according to the demands of reality). Psychodynamic theories commonly hold that childhood experiences shape personality. Such theories are associated with psychoanalysis, a type of therapy that attempts to reveal unconscious thoughts and desires.

All behaviour has a cause (usually unconscious), even slips of the tongue. Therefore all behaviour is determined. Personality is made up of three parts, the id, ego and super-ego. Behaviour is motivated by two instinctual drives: Eros (the sex drive & life instinct) and Thanatos (the aggressive drive & death instinct). Both these drives come from the “id”. Parts of the unconscious mind are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind (the ego).

The biological approach believes us to be as a consequence of our genetics and physiology. It is the only approach in psychology that examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviours from a biological and thus physical point of view. Therefore, all that is psychological is first physiological. All thoughts, feeling & behaviour ultimately have a biological cause. A biological perspective is relevant to the study of psychology in three ways:

Comparative method: different species of animal can be studied and compared. This can help in the search to understand human behaviour.

Physiology: how the nervous system and hormones work, how the brain functions, how changes in structure and/or function can affect behaviour. For example, we could ask how prescribed drugs to treat depression affect behaviour through their interaction with the nervous system.

Investigation of inheritance: what an animal inherits from its parents, mechanisms of inheritance (genetics). For example, we might want to know whether high intelligence is inherited from one generation to the next.

Each of these biological aspects, the comparative, the physiological and the genetic, can help explain human behaviour. Twin studies provide geneticists with a kind of natural experiment in which the behavioural likeness of identical twins can be compared with the resemblance of dizygotic twins (whose genetic relatedness is 0.5). In other words, if heredity affects a given trait or behaviour, then identical twins should show a greater similarity for that trait compared to fraternal twins. Research using twin studies looks for the degree of concordance (or similarity) between identical and fraternal (i.e. non-identical) twins. Twins are concordant for a trait if both or neither of the twins exhibits the trait. Twins are said to be disconcordant for a trait if one shows it and the other does not. identical twins have the same genetic make-up, and fraternal twins have just 50 per cent of genes in common. Thus, if concordance rates (which can range from 0 to 100) are significantly higher for identical twins than for fraternal twins, then this is evidence that genetics play an important role in the expression of that particular behaviour.

Humanistic approach

Humanistic psychology, also often referred to as humanism, emerged during the 1950s as a reaction to the psychoanalysis and behaviourism that dominated psychology at the time. Psychoanalysis was focused on understanding the unconscious motivations that drive behaviour while behaviourism studied the conditioning processes that produce behaviour. Humanist thinkers felt that both psychoanalysis and behaviourism were too pessimistic, either focusing on the most tragic of emotions or failing to take into account the role of personal choice.

The strengths of the behaviourist approach are that behaviourism is based upon observable behaviours, so it is easier to quantify and collect data and information when conducting research. Since research and experiment is a very powerful tool in providing explanations and clear evidences about a certain phenomenon, early theorists and proponents of behaviourism took pride in initiating the studies of observable behaviours rather than those that cannot be observed and measured.

Another strength of the approach is that it is scientific, for example, Pavlov’s work was used to create objective and therefore scientific approach to psychology. The approach aims to study behaviour that is observable and directly measurable. This is done because thoughts and opinions are operationalised, so that it is possible to analyse and compare behaviours. The weaknesses of the behaviourist approach are that there is much emphasis on nurture as it focuses on how the environment affects and shapes behaviour. This means that the role of nature is ignored, as behaviourists usually ignore that genetic-make up could have an impact on the way in which we behave. Many internal factors govern behaviour; one example of this is the role of motivation and emotion are not taken into account in the behaviourist approach.

The social learning theory has many strengths but one of its key strengths is the fact that Bandura verified the first concept. His findings were that children do copy aggression; this was confirmed in his case study of 1961. This study revolved around vicarious reinforcement as he would have a child watch an adult bash and play aggressively with the Bobo Doll/inflatable doll. Afterwards the child would also repeat the same thing he/she had been shown as long as the role model was not punished for his/her actions. Another weakness of this theory is that it does not stress the child’s actual cognitive development. While there are some cognitive insights in SLT, this is not stressed. A child is seen as a sponge, absorbing information through modelling. The actual child’s contribution to how such models are absorbed, processed and worked out through time is not present to any great extent in the theory. Modelling is a theory based on imitation via observation. It does not stress what happens later–innovation. While the initial blueprint for activity is seen in the model (the expert who is observed) can easily be visualised, there seems to be no model for innovation. Innovation is too abstract to be modelled.

The strength of the psychodynamic approach is that they focused on the effects that childhood experiences have on the developing personality. This is strength because Freud was the first psychologist to realise the importance of childhood. It also led to other psychologists including Piaget developing theories on childhood. An example of this is the Little Hans case study. Hans had a fear of castration which led to him having a phobia of horses. Another strength is that it takes both nature and nurture into account. This is strength because it emphasises the importance of both. An example of this is that Freud’s assumption of childhood experiences focused on nurture whereas the ID, Ego and Super-ego focused on nature.

One of the major strengths attributed to Humanistic theory is the idea that the subject is fully accountable and in control of their actions. This is in stark contrast to the notions behind psychoanalysis. Leading from this assumption is the notion that humanistic theories promote the idea of being human, self-fulfilment and realistic and observable goals that can be obtained. A final strength to Humanistic theory is the idea that from a clinical perspective it offers an open space in which a patent can express any feeling of thought without being led down a path to revisit traumatic events which they may not feel comfortable discussing.

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Despite these problems, humanistic theory has been incorporated into many differing views on psychotherapy and human change. Many argue now that a humanistic undertone in treatment provides a nice foundation for change. While it may not be sufficient, it may still be necessary for a significant personality change to occur.

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Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care. (2019, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2019,
Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
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