What is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2012 by sian666

In this week’s blog I am going to discuss what Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is and what it involves.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy which is often know DBT therapy was devised by Marsga Linehan who worked at a faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). According yo Linehan (1993) clients with BPD were notoriously difficult to treat. The reason for this was because they did not always attend regularly or they failed to respond to therapeutic efforts and make considerable demands on emotional resources of the therapist.

There have been many controlled studies across different research groups and the effectiveness of DBT therapy has been shown. Due to the success and similar behavioural patterns, DBT therapy is now being used in many settings as a viable therapy for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

The treatment in DBT has four parts, which are all very important to effective treatment. The four different parts include; individual therapy, telephone contact, therapist consultation which should have good communication between group therapist and individual therapist, this is essential to a successful outcome of the DBT Therapy and skills training which should be conducted by a behavioural technician or another therapist usually in a group context and it should also be conducted in weekly sessions of 2.5 hours with a break half way through each session. The focus is on learning and practicing adaptive skills, not personal or specific complaints of the clients and thus, nay specific or personal issues are redirected to be discussed in individual therapy.

There are four modules in DBT group skills training and these are Core Mindfulness Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, Emotion Modulation Skills and Distress Tolerance Skills.

The core mindfulness skills are derived from Buddhist meditation techniques to enable the client to become aware of the different aspects of experience and to develop the ability to stay with that experience in the present moment. The treatment for this lasts for about two to three weeks. The Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills focus on effective ways of achieving one’s objectives with other people; to ask for what one wants effectively, to say no and taken seriously, to maintain relationships and to maintain self-esteem in interactions with other people. This can be compared to assertiveness training. The treatment for this lasts for about eight weeks. The emotional modulation skills are ways of coping with intense emotional experiences and their causes. These skills also allow for an adaptive experience and expression of intense emotions. The treatment for this lasts for about eight weeks. The distress tolerance skills include techniques for putting up with, finding meaning for and accepting distressing situations if there is no conceivable solution at present. The treatment for this also lasts about eight weeks.

People who have Bipolar disorder are also sometimes diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. DBT therapy can be a good treatment for them. DBT is also helping for people who do not have BPD as they find some of the skills taught very useful.

In Wales DBT is also an option for children and quite recently they have started to teach the skills to adults as well. Do you think that DBT skills should only be taught to people who have been diagnosed with BPD or  bipolar? Do you think that it can be useful to children and adults also?







The Psychodynamic view of Schizophrenia

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2012 by sian666

In this blog I am going to discuss the psychodynamic view of Schizoprenia.

According to the psychodynamic approach Schizophrenia is the result of the  disintegration of the ego. The ego is responsible for keeping control of the id’s impulses, it also has the responsibilty to strike a compromise between the demands of the id and the moral restrictions in which the superego has. There are some types of abnormal upbringings; an example of this could be if there was a cold, rejecting ‘schizogenic’ mother in the household; this could result in a weak and fragile ego, whose ability to contain the id’s desires is limited according to the Freudians. Due to this the ego could be broken apart by its attempt to contain the id, which would result in leaving the id in control of the psyche.

Due to this, the person could lose contact with reality as they can no longer distinguish between themselves and others. This will also affect their desires and fantasies and reality; to be able to do this you need an ego. They will start to regress to a state of primary narcissism which is a little different from a newborn infant, who is dominated by their animal instincts, incapable of organising their own behaviour and hallucinating as a result of their basic inability to disinguish between what is their imagination and what is reality.

Psychodynamics view of this is not highly regarded anymore for several reasons. In the 1950s and 1960s the development of effective antipsychotic drugs gave the biological view of schizophrenia; this became a boost from which the psychological theories have never really recovered. Psychology turned away from Freud’s triparite model of the psyche, the first influence was behaviourism and then the cognitivists as a mainstream. The psychodynamic theories then generally fell from favour.

The research that was done after the psychodymanic theories had fallen showed that the mother’s personality was not a reliable predictor of mental illness and the schizogenic mother approach came to be regarded as an embarassing, sexist holdover from a less enlightened time. There are plently of research which continues to implicate a disturbed upbringing as a risk in schizophrenia onset and relapse.

Due to the apparent failure of psychodynamic therapies successfully to treat psychotic patients, this led to the abandonment of this approach by all the most committed psychodynamics.

The Psychodynamic Treatment of Schizophrenia

Freud did not see much point in trying tp treat schizophrenic patients with his talk based therapy. Psychoanalysis involves the cathartic release of repressed material, which involved facing up to its true significance and a restructuring of ego-defence mechanisms to allow the person to understand and deal with their past more effectively. The patient needs to have some basic awareness of reality but in schizophrenia the divsion between fantasy and reality has broken down; this is due to the fact that their ego has collapsed and there is nothing for the therapist to engage with.

According to Post-Freudians such as Rosen (1946) where a little more hopeful and they advocated a ‘direct analysis’ approach in which the patient was brutally confronted with the nature of his/her own problems and inadequacies. The therapist attempted to bring about a regression to early  childhood and then would take on the role of parent/nurturer, thereby coaxing the patient to develop for a second time, the return to adulthood bringing with it a corresponding redevelopment of the ego and reconnecting them with reality.










Humanistic Approach in Psychology

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2011 by sian666

In this week’s blog I am going to talk about the humanistic appraoch in psychology and how it differs from the behavioural approach.

Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that emphasises the study of the whole person which is known as holism. Humanistic psychologists look at the human behaviour not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving.They believe that an individual’s behaviour is connected to his inner feelings and self-image. This perspective centres on the view that each person is unique and individual and has the free will to change at any time in his/her lives.

This perspective also suggests that we are each responsible for our own happiness and well-being as humans. We have the innate (i.e. inborn) capacity for self-actualisation which is our unique desire to achieve our highest potential as people. Because of this focus on the person and his/her own personal experiences and subjective perception of the world the humanists regard sciencific methofs as inappropriate for studying behaviour. Two of the most influential and enduring theories in humanistic psychology that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s are those of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.


During the 1950s, humanistic psychology began as a reaction to psychoanalysis and behaviourism, which dominated psychology at the time.   Psychoanalysis was focused on understanding the unconscious motivations that drives behaviour while behaviourism studied the conditioning processes that produce bheaviour. 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 tole of personal choice.

Humanistic psychology was instead focused on each individual’s potential and stressed the importance of growth and self-actualization. The fundamental belief of humanistic psychology is that people are innately good and that mental and socila problems result from deviations from this natural tendency.

However, it is not necessary to think of these three schools of thought as competing elements. Each branch of psychology has contributed to our understanding of the human mind and behaviour. Humanistic psychology added yet another dimension that takes a more holistic view of the individual.

Now I am going to list a few criticisms and some strengths of the humanistic approach.

One criticism of humanistic psychology is that this apporach is often seen as too subjective; the importance of individual experience makes it difficult to objectively study and measure humanistic phenomena. Another major criticism is that observations are unveritiable; there is no accurate way to measure or quantify these qualities.

One of the major strengths of humanistic psychology is that it emphasizes the role of the invidual; this school of psychology gives people more credit in controlling and determining their state of mental health. It also takes environmental influences into account; rather than focusing solely on our internal thoughts and desires, humanistic psychology also credits the environment’s influence on our experiences. Humanistic psychology continues to influence therapy, education, healthcare and other areas. Humanistic psycholohy helped remove some of the stigma attached to therapy and made it more acceptable for normal, healthy individuals to explore their abilities and potential through therapy .









Psychodynamic Approach in Psychology

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2011 by sian666

In this week’s blog, I am going to discuss the psychodynamic approach and I am going to explain how the other approaches think about the psychodynamic appraoch.

The psychodynamic theory is the most important approach in psychology. One of the key psychologits in the psychodynamic theory was Sigmund Freud. Freud obtained his evidence primarily from analsying the conversations he held with his patients. The converstaions were recorded as case studies. In psychology case studies are effective research approach to obtain a thorough analysis of a person, group or occurence. Many techniques involve personal and confidential interviews. Research also includes direct observation, psychometric tests, which is a procedure for measuring memory, intelligence and personality. Archival records are also used for analysis.

Freud studied the unconcious process and the ways in which the unconcious motivates an individual’s behaviour, personality and basic instincts. The two basic instincts are called Eros and Thanatos. In Freudian psychology, Eros also referred to in terms of libido, the life instinct innate in all humans. It is the desire to create life and favours productivity and construction.

According to Freud, personality is composed of three parts. They are called the Id, Ego and the Superego. The Id is the only part that is present at birth. The aspect of the personality is totally unconscious and includes instinctive and primitive patterns of behaviour. According to Freud the Id is the source of all psychic energy and therefore makes the Id the most important aspect of personality. The Id is driven by the pleasure principle. The pleasure principle attempts to satisfy an individual’s desires and requirements. Unsatisfied desires may produce a state anxiety or tension in an individual. For example, an increase in hunger or thirst should produce an immediate desire to eat or drink. The Id is very important from the start of an infant’s life because it ensures that an infants needs are met. The ego is part of the personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. Freud states that the ego develops from the Id and ensures that the sudden urge of the Id can be expressed in a way that it acceptable to the real world. The conscious, preconscious and the unconscious mind are part of the ego. The ego works with the reality principal and by doing this it helps the Id to satify our needs in a realistic way. The ego also ensures that this is a socially appropriate way to dea; with our urges. This principle ascertains the cost and the benefits of our actions before deciding to act or ignore impulses.The last part of the personality is the superego. The superego is the appearance of personality that grasps all of our moral standards and ideals that we obtain from both parents and society. The ideals and moral standards help an individual judge what is right or wrong. The superego forms guidelines for judgements. In Freudian theory the superego starts to emerge approximately around the age of five years old.

Freud came up with theories of the stages of psychosexual development, which we all go through in our lives. According to Freud we will go through five different stages, which are the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latent stage and the genital stage. The oral stage, the anal stage and the phallic stage are very important.The oral stage occurs in the first twenty four months of birth; the mouth is the main source of nourishment in this stage. The baby automatically sucks for survival. Oral fulfilment builds up on trust and confidence. If the baby does not have enough of oral pleasure or if the baby is weaned too soon his/her behaviour might turn out to be negative, distrusting, sceptical or hostile. Oral fixation is what it is called if you are stuck in this stage.The second stage that we get to in live is the anal stage; this takes place during the twenty four and thirty six month period. The bladder and anus is the cause of gratification at this stage. If an adolescent stays in this phase of development he/she turns out to be furthermore disorganised or he/she becomes extremely controlled.During the years of three to six years old an individual reaches the phallic stage. At this stage children become alert of the genitals (playing with themselves) and sexual differences. The development is different to girls than it is boys. At this stage boys start having feeling for their mothers and start hating there fathers. If the child doesn’t have a father figure in their lives at this stage then the child will have a difficulty with authoritive figures. From the age of six years a child will grow to be inactive where nothing will take place in the stages of development. Finally, from the stage of puberty to adulthood, this is known as the genital stage. The individual’s personality fully develops at this stage.

Freud spoke to middle-aged Jewish women and he wrote up on their problems. He interpreted their dreams and gave them all meanings. Freud arrived at the theory that what took place in your youth was one of the most significant causes that will affect your behaviour. If an individual experienced a distressing incident in their childhood, memories will be withdrawn the individual will grow up to have a psychological illness.Freud used case studies to support the research he was trying to prove. The advantages of case studies are that they are about individuals and they assess how people behave in certain conditions, so there is a record of how different types of people respond in different situations. Case studies usually are not done in controlled surroundings, so the data collected maybe biased and not correct.Some of Freud’s findings are used by counselors today. They use the talking approach with their patients.

The psychodynamic approach is mainly hypothetically based. However it is still widely used in psychology and psychiatry today, despite the fact that many of Freud’s theories have been discredited. Freud did not really interview any adolescence to collect his data and on his theories on the human mind. Freud only interviewed middle-aged Jewish women. Humanists critiscised the Freudian appraoch to mental illness and all the negative characteristics of human nature, such as sadness, envy, detestation, dread and selfishness.





Cognitive Approach in Psychology

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2011 by sian666

This week I am going to discuss the cognitive approach within psychology. I am also going to compare the cognitive approach to other approaches in psychology. Cognitive means knowing.

Cognitive approach is a modern approach to human behaviour which focuses on how we think, with the belief that such thought processes affect the way in which we behave. There is some debate as to who created the cognitive approach, but some sources attribute the term to the 1950s and 1960s, with Ulric Neisser’s book  Cognitive Psychology, which made allusions of the human mind working in a similar fashion to computers. Due to the dissatisfaction with the behavioural approach, which focused on behaviours that were invisible without having any understanding the internal processes that create it, this is how the cognitive approach came about. It is based on the fact that our behaviour is generated by a series of stimuli and responses to these by thought processes.

Here are some comparisons between the cognitive approach and other approaches in psychology. Cognitive psychologists attempt to create rules and explanations of human behaviour and eventually generalise them to everyone’s behaviour. The Humanist approach opposes this, taking into account individual differences that make us each behave differently. I think that the Humanist approach is good because they do believe that we are individuals and that we are not all the same. As the cognitive approach have made a generalisation of how we behave it is good that there are some other psychologists out there that have worked it out that everyone is not the same and that we do behave differently to other people. The cognitive approach attempts to apply a scientific approach to human behaviour, which is reductionist in that it doesn’t necessarily take into account such differences. However, popular case studies of individual behaviour such as HM have lead cognitive psychology to take into account idiosyncrasies of our behaviour. On the other hand, cognitive psychology acknowledges the thought process that goes into our behaviour and the different moods that we experience that can impact on the way we respond to circumstances.

Cognitive is easily combined with other approaches. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a popular and successful form of treatment for issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It also depends largely on controlled experiments to observe human behaviour, which may lack ecological validity (being compared to real-life behaviour). The cognitive approach does not take into account genetic factors, for example hereditary correlations of mental disorders. Reductionist to an extent, although case studies are taken into account, the behavioural approach attempts to apply the scientific view to human behaviour, which may be argued to be unique to each individual.

I believe that psychologists should look at the way people behave as an individual instead of as a group and instead of generalising us because someone could have the same condition as someone else but they may take it different and they may be act differently with it and have different symptoms. People are unique and they do deal with things different than other people do.

Behavioural Psychology

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2011 by sian666

I am going to discuss the behavioural approach and the therapy that behaviourists use.

First of all I am going to explain what the behavioural approach is. The behavioural approach is based on the concept of explaining behaviour through observation and the belief that our environment is what causes us to behave differently or suffer illnesses. (http://www.psychologistworld.com/issues/behavioralapproach.php)

Behaviourists believe that we can understand people by observing their behaviour. I do not think that this is a good way to go by it as people can always change their behaviour when they know that they are being observed and people also act diferently depending on where they are and who they are with. So observing people’s behaviour may not help you to understand them that well as they constantly change their way of behaving. The cognitive approach oppose this theory as it looks at thought processes and other unobservable activities. (http://www.psychologistworld.com/issues/behavioralapproach.php)

Behaviourists believe that we are a blank slate at birth.I believe that they may be right with us being a blank slate at birth because we learn from our surroudings and by the people that are around to teach us things. We copy what grown-ups do and we always try again when we have failed. There is a girl called Oxana Malaya; a feral child began her life with dogs, she lasted six years living in a kennerl with dogs as she was abandoned by her mother and father. She had no social interaction so when she was found living with the dogs and she acted liked a dog not like a human, she barked and drank water and ate food like dogs do. She had no humans to look up and copy so she ended up copying the dogs and they took care of her. This is the link to the video on youtube.

There are many more cases like this and people aren’t sure if scientists have done enough to know what to do. Oxana was put into a care home at the age of 6. What this the best thing for her? She had no idea how to act like a child and they put her in with loads of other children and she was so different and couldn’t act like them. Would it have been best to leave her with th kennel with the dogs, somewhere she was used to and her way of living? It is going to be really hard to get her out of the way she is. She is now 22 years old but her future still hangs in the balance. She didn’t have any abnormalities when she was born.

They believe that it is environmental factors rather than genetic or biological differences that makes us behave differently. Behaviourists represents the nature aspect of the nature-nuture debate.  So with the story about Oxana, this seems to be a good way to look at it as she was bought up by dogs and she acts like one and the environmental factor of living in a kennel helped her become this way. I believe that the environmental factors does make us behave differently.



Why is validity important in research?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2011 by sian666

First of all I am going to give a definition of the word validity. One defintion of validity is the state or quality of being valid; to question the validity of the arguement. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/validity).

Now I am going to explain a bit about what validity is. Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure. It is vital for a test to be valid in order for the results to be accurately applied and interpreted. (http://psychology.about.com/od/researchmethods/f/validity.htm).

Now I am going to answer the question. Validity is the power of deduction. Validity is important in research because without it your results are meaningless and people would have wasted a great deal of time collecting and analysing the data.

There are three different types of validity; content, criterion-related and construct validity.  (http://www.txdirector.com/tf399724.tip.html). This is important because the three different types of validity are used in different researchs and one may be valid to one research but may not be valid in the next. Content validity relies on judgements which is different to criterion-related valdity, which relies on statistical analyses and contsruct validity concentrates on understading what is being measured, it does this by examining the relationship between constructs.  (http://www.txdirector.com/tf399724.tip.html).

Validity is important in Psychology because you have to be able to use the experiements outside of Psychology as well as in the subject. Validity is also impiortant in Psychology because people have to know that the results were valid as well as reliable as they will have to trust the results that they are given as they may use the results to do experiments and they may go and check the results that have been done. The results have to be valid as they may be used outside of the field of Psychology, so if they are not valid then it may gave Psychology a bad name and people may not trust them anymore and they may not be able to get any more funding to do more experiments or research as people will not be able to relay on them and they may be not believe in their work.

Here is where I got some of my information from. I found some of the sites quite interesting: