Dooley, Roger Thomas
This is an essay for a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology (by course work). For the duration of this course my objective has been
to obtain skills for helping people with psychological problems. To do this competently, I felt the need for a conceptual framework from which to view abnormal behaviour and in which the skills to be applied were grounded.
It can readily be appreciated therefore that there is no joy for a person planning to begin practice as a clinical psychologist with an...[Show more] orientation to the use of behaviour therapy to read statements such as
the following. Present day behaviour therapy "has no universally accepted definition, no consensus as to goals, concepts or underlying philosophy, no agreement as to its purview, no monolithic point of view, no overriding strategy or core technique, no single founding
father, no general agreement about matters of training, and there is no single profession to which primary allegiance is declared".(Lazarus and Wilson, 1976).
Certainly behaviour therapy has changed and developed since its "modern11 beginning with Wolpe's Reciprocal Inhibition in the mid
1950's, and the most obvious characteristic of this change has been a broadening of its scope, with a concomitant growth in techniques practised under a behaviour therapy heading. However, for my part,
behaviour therapy does have a different conceptual tradition to the other psychotherapies and is distinguished from them by a distinctive approach (or methodology) for the practice of therapy.
This essay then attempts to establish what behaviour therapy is today by identifying its conceptual framework and against that background to set out an approach by which therapy with the individual client
may be practised. My main purpose in adopting this approach was heuristic - I wanted to use the writing of the essay as a method of confirming my understanding of behaviour therapy and to provide a
grounding for beginning practice.
By choosing such a broad objective the difficulty in writing was to determine to what level of detail the full field and each issue within it was to be treated. I have tried to solve this problem by focussing firstly on the two directions in which the "theory" has moved in recent years, i.e. the admission of cognitive processes to
a functional role in the behavioural equation and development of the
social learning perspective. In doing so it has been recommended that a new emphasis be given in behaviour therapy practice to the
research in social psychology on the interactional influence of persons and situations in determining behaviour emitted and, in turn, being influenced by the behaviour produced. Secondly the practice of
behaviour therapy has been examined as a methodology to establish the phases of an intervention programme and their purposes and to offer a comparison of the models and methods which may be adopted in each
phase. To conclude the essay the final chapter discusses the worth of behaviour therapy as a clinically effective and efficient approach to psychotherapy.
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