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Counseling and human behaviourin psychology

Updated on February 1, 2015

Behavioral theories and Their Conceptualization in psychology

Secondly, some behavioural theories such as the social cognitive theory deviate from the psychological and individual models of determining human behavior. Such theories focus on the social context of the behavior. They see other external factors such as physical and social environments as the main determinants of human behaviour (Forest Research 4). Innovation theories such as both the disruptive and diffusion theories focus on behaviours as change agents in individuals. Other behavioural theories such as the social- technical systems and the social practice theory term human behaviour as a result of complex shared human interactions and other social practices. From such perspectives, people reveal or exhibit behaviours that are products of human interactions with their environment, technology and other human beings. Therefore, the environment in which people live and the objects they interact with determines or influences human behavior. Such theories are founded on the core concepts of social theory.


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Human behaviour is defined and conceptualised in many ways. Firstly, many psychological studies focus on the individual as the main locus of behavior. Some theories such as the theory of personality assume that other social influences such as the environment and the society post fewer effects to individual’s behavior. They affirm that every behaviour comes as a result of balanced influences that emanate from within the individuals and have control over them (Forest Research 3). Within such contexts, human behaviour is said to have been learned at a particular stage of life, continued with modifications or unlearned at certain stages of life. Therefore, Stage models are very significant for understanding the diverse factors that may influence how people make choices and the decisions they make concerning their behaviours.

How human behaviour is acquired

Behaviors, either learned or naturally (individually) inherent can be problematic. Such implies that people have different conditions and behavior traits that they desire to drop and adopt other ones. Shedding one’s behaviors can be difficult to achieve. Therefore, individuals that need to change their behaviors require behavior therapies to see them through with their behavioral changes. They are assisted by behavior therapists. Therefore, behavior therapy targets in helping people shed maladaptive of unwanted behaviors (Siu, Slide 2, PPT). In assisting people with different problematic behaviors, behavior therapists use different behavioral therapies. Such therapies are specifically tailored to suit people who exhibit certain behaviors.

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The various Categories of Behavioral Therapies

There are several categories of behavior therapies. Examples include the cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, Adlerian therapy [a 4 phase therapy], existential therapy, psychoanalytic therapy and many others (Siu, Slide 12, PPT). These behavioral therapies are selected according to the problematic behaviors the clients’ exhibit and have diverse objectives. They also employ different behavioral theories. For example, the cognitive behavioral therapy assumes that the beliefs of people determine how they feel and behave (Forest Research 6). The dialectical behavioral therapy assumes that behaviors are learned and can be unlearned. Clients of such therapy need to be taught on how to unlearn and overcome their fears (Siu, Slide 16 PPT). Similarly, Adlerian therapy seeks to help people in all dimensions. It assumes that people are complete, affected by both psychological, social and environmental factors that influence their behaviors. For example, when dealing with child psychology, the Adlerian therapy emphasizes on child constellation, birth order and the creative self. Family constellation constitutes of family related issues that affect the personality of children. They influence how children view themselves outside the family settings. Such issues comprise of family norms, attitudes, personality traits, culture and traditions and many more. Birth order is a psychological or chronological birth position that affects the behavior of children and how they perceive their world. Creative Self refers to one’s abilities in overcoming limitations that hinder their growth in life. They constitute of one’s talents, abilities and potential in positively contributing to the welfare of the society (Forest Research 11). Through its four phases, the therapy combines all the factors that influence human behavior for the client’s best interests.

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Objectives of Behavior Therapy

Additionally, behavior therapies have different objectives. However, most of their objectives are somehow related because they have a common goal. Firstly, behavior therapy aims at helping people gain confidence in themselves and overcome inferiority complex. Secondly, it aims at helping clients transform their lives to a positive course and live dignified lives. Thirdly, behavior therapy aims at helping people realise their potential, solve their problems and live better quality lives (Siu, Slide 19 PPT). Fourthly, they also help clients overcome their cognitive and neurotic problems and other irrational cognition. Finally, behavioral therapies strive to motivate the clients to contribute positively to society’s welfare.

A clear understanding of people’s behavior is very important for counseling. Counselors often refer to the theories in order to formulate the various strategies that they employ to help their behavior therapy client. Precisely, both the behavior theories and therapy form the core foundation of sociology and psychology. They serve as the guiding principles in counseling.

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Work Cited

Forest Research. Theories: behavior change. Web. 2nd May 2014. < http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/behaviour_review_theory.pdf/$FILE/behaviour_review_theory.pdf>.

Siu, Frances. COUN 450: Chapter 9 - behavior Therapy. PPT

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