Five major theoretical bases for counseling in psychology are biological, learning, cognitive, psychodynamic, and sociocultural. Each one of these perspectives searches for answers about behavior through different techniques and researching a clients childhood or adult life experiences looking for answers to different kinds of questions. Due to the different types and styles of counseling approaches, each counselor forms their own thoughts and explanations.
The premise behind the biological perspective in psychology is that all actions, feelings, and thoughts are associated with different events in a person’s life. Biological psychologists examine how the electrical impulses, hormones, and chemicals flowing through the body can affect behavior. Physocologists are concerned with how the aspects of biology effect people’s emotions and their perception of events.
Many of the important findings in psychology from the behavioral theory later evolving into the social learning theory or cognitive social learning theory. Behavior therapists used to believe that actions were responses to stimuli that were learned. This concept led to a broadening of psychology. Many groups that were often overlooked by psychologists until behavior therapy became the dominant school of psychology in the U.S. after the 1960’s.
The cognitive perspective of psychology focuses on the thought process. Psychologists from this school argue that it is necessary to know what is going on in the mind to fully understand why a person will do the things that they do. The reason for cognitive psychology is to understand how perceptions and interpretations relate to behavior. Why some people turn to violence when insulted while another person will not.
Many critics of the psychodynamic therapy do not believe psychodynamic theories have any bearing on psychology. Based upon the fact that many of the psychoanalysis assumptions could not be verified. Research psychologists were more related to philosophy rather than clinical science. Though not as scientific as the other theories the psychodynamic theory is still associated with psychology.
The sociocultural perspective concentrates on an individual’s culture or society rather than the individual. To understand why people show certain behavior traits. Psychologists look at what effects the person’s community and how other people affect a person.
These five theoretical bases are similar because they all try to determine what causes a person to be how they are. If I were to do counseling, I think I would like to become a behavior therapist. I am fascinated by what makes a person what they are, and why does a person do what they do? Where do personalities come from? It is said that personality does come from a specific point in a person’s childhood, and from there it continues to grow. A counselor must first look at certain assumptions that are commonly made when developing a behavioral theory.
The first of these assumptions concerns whether one believes that the behaviors, type of action, a person exhibits are produced by choices and decisions made beyond a clients own control. Everyone has the power to choose their actions no matter of the influence of heredity and environment. A person’s actions are not predetermined.
Someone who grew up in an abusive and alcoholic family may as an adult become abusive and alcohol dependant. But it can be assumed that people have free will. There is always the option for a person to make his or her own decisions. When our class went to visit a C.A.P.S. rehabilitation house last month, I was able to talk to some of the people that lived there and I learned that each of them did make their own choices. I also learned that they are using their ability to change their choices to better themselves and their environments.
I was amazed to see that the people that lived there were people just like me. The difference is they chose to make different choices than I did. Some chose drugs, alcohol and crime. Some made all of these choices and some didn’t. I do feel that some choices are learning experiences that can give a person the choice to do better or worse.