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Abnormal Psychology

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Over the centuries, various models and theories have evolved from psychology. Research findings and theory testing are done to evaluate such models and theories. This essay discusses how psychoanalytic model is more advantageous than the behavioral model. The models' contributions towards an integrative approach in the understanding of aetiology, assessment and treatment would provide the basis of this critical discussion.

The psychoanalytic model was found by Sigmund Freud in the early 20th centuries. This model understands the mental functioning and stages of growth and development of an individual and the defense mechanisms the mind uses to defend itself from conflicts. Freud's psychoanalytic model makes the unconscious mind conscious. A common example would be when a husband calls his wife using his ex-girlfriend's name.

The behavioral model came about mainly from Physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, John B Watson and B.F Skinner. This model focuses on human behavior, dealing with issues that one is currently conscious of. Pavlov's study of classical conditioning and Skinner's study of operant conditioning play a major role in the behavioral model.

According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic model, the mind is divided into 3 parts. The Id often referred to as the pleasure principle, ego which is the realistic and logical part of the mind and the superego which represents the conscience and moral principles. Superego counter attacks the pleasure desired by the Id. The ego then resolves the conflict using the practicalities of life. Stevenson (1996) quoted Freud's famous Anna O example in his article. The patient "coughed reflexively at the sound of rhythmic music". While staying vigil by her ill father, Anna's Id stirred the desire in her to dance to the rhythmic music she heard. Her superego then conflicted the desire by creating guilt. Her ego then elicited repression, one of the defense mechanisms; making her cough everytime she heard rhythmic music. Boeree (2010) explained that the psychoanalytic model focuses on "what is happening within the mind", enabling one to see the insights of the issue on hand. Freud's psychoanalytic model does not attribute disorders just on the behavior but showed the world its biological perspective as well.

The behavioral model focuses mainly on the environmental and situational factors causing the disorder. Behaviorists like Pavlov and Skinner believed that behavior is modeled through conditioning. Schimelpfening (2008) quoted an example of an adult who had phobia for clowns because of the loud noises heard in a circus during the childhood days. The behavioral model would then identify the current issue of the fear for clowns. The behavioral model focuses on the issue at hand to determine the aetiology of the disorder. Failure to identify other perspectives apart from environmental and situational factors weakens the model.

The desired outcome of both psychoanalytic and behavioral model would be to assess and treat the psychological disorder successfully.

In psychoanalysis, free association, dream analysis and transference are the methods commonly used. All three methods involve the therapist lending a listening ear to the patient. Free association allows the patient to talk anything with no restrictions. Boeree (2010) explained that there will be a "therapist, who is trained to recognize certain clues to problems and their solutions that the client would overlook."

Dream analysis would allow the

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