Although multiple schools of thought exist, a cognitive perspective has been chosen for this project because it matches general psychology and other areas of interests. The cognitive perspective shows that behavior is a function of information, comprehension, and perception of the world. As such, it concentrates on mental processes.
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Its major principles of this school of thought include the use of scientific methods. It also does not acknowledge introspection as a form of investigation. Cognitive psychology overtly recognizes internal mental states, such as motives, desires, and beliefs.
The use of scientific method in this school of thought is one of its core values. In this regard, experiments are extremely important relative to other schools of thought, such as psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Information processing is also considered extremely important in this school of thought.
The subject matter of cognitive perspective involves studies on mental processes, including individual thought patterns, learning, recalling, problem solving, and recognition. Consequently, therapists have used cognitive perspectives to treat a wide range of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and fear among others. The treatment method is considered effective, fast acting and it comparatively lacks any side effects.
Quantitative research methods and qualitative research methods have been applied in cognitive psychology to solve human problems. Scientific investigations on therapy have assisted practitioners and researchers to explore depression, anxiety, and belief systems in patients. In addition, socially acceptable behavior is an area of interest for researchers. Therefore, studying aggression and anti-social behavior among children have become imperative while law enforcement officers apply such methods to study criminals and their mental cues. Questions raised in education surround metacognition, knowledge organization, and processing.
Emotion and encoding, and application of human cognition to artificial intelligence are emerging areas of cognitive perspective.
Application of Schools of Thought to Research (treatment of social phobias with methodologies that go beyond traditional behavioristic approach)
Cognitive therapy is perhaps the most recognized and the most practiced type of contemporary psychotherapy. Based on its scientific approaches to mental conditions, it has been integrated into various structured models for treatment of patients with mental conditions, including social phobias. Cognitive perspective focuses on mental conditions. As such, it is the most effective school of thought for exploring social phobia – mental condition. Individuals with this disorder fear consequences of their actions in public places. They fear embarrassment, humiliation, or negative evaluation that could arise in phobic situations. Consequently, such persons develop critical anticipatory anxiety and, therefore, they depend on multiple excuses to avoid such circumstances.
The principles, values, and subject matter guide the selection of the study topic. For instance, the social phobia must be explored using scientific methods to understand related mental conditions.
A scientific approach known as exposure therapy, specifically virtual reality exposure therapy, developed by cognitive-behaviorists has been touted as an effective method for limiting negative affective conditions, and it goes beyond traditional behavioristic methods used.
While applying qualitative methods to answer questions on social phobias, researchers focus on questions related to ‘why’. For instance, some researchers have explored why fears may persist in individuals with social phobia even after constant exposure to phobic social and public situations (Priyamvada et al. 60). The questions therefore tend to focus on in-depth accounts of mental conditions.
For quantitative methods, the questions are centered on comprehension of variables and clinical significance of social phobia after intervention using virtual reality exposure therapy, for instance (Parsons and Rizzo 250). The significance of such interventions makes them increasingly popular among therapists and researchers.
Influence of Non-Western Schools of Thought (Buddhist Psychology)
Buddhist psychology generally concentrates on nature and functions of inner state and methods of changing human consciousness and behaviors to attain the ultimate truth enlightenment (Lee 283; Aich S165). Human suffering, causes, cure, and eliminating suffering are central to teaching. The ultimate truth guides the theory.
Buddhist psychology values are derived from eight-fold-path, which demonstrate different ways to end suffering, and they include “right views, right resolve/aspiration, right speech, right action/conduct, right livelihood, right effort right mindfulness and right concentration” (Aich S165).
The subject matter of Buddhist psychology is based on dysfunctional aspects of perception, emotions, behaviors, and mental activities. It is observed that individuals will develop a favorable psychological state and attain happiness. It must address the root cause of the problem and ensure identification with the problem, thereby reducing negative behaviors, emotions, and reinforcement factors. Eventually, the mind removes the cause to ensure that individuals attain freedom from negative emotions and obsessive actions and realize the state of awakening.
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In the study of Buddhist psychology, Buddhists have developed their specific approaches based on comprehension and experiences to assess teachings. It also observed that Buddhist psychology methods are generally experiential and philosophical relative to Western psychology. Hence, Buddhist psychology fails to qualify as science and lacks scientific methods.
Buddhist psychology and Western psychology intersect at various aspects of practice and theory. Commonalities are observed in “phenomenological psychology, psychoanalytical psychotherapy, humanistic psychology, cognitive psychology and existential psychology” (Aich S165). While Buddhist philosophy is strikingly different from Western psychology driven by scientific knowledge, these schools of thoughts interact at some points and influence each other on specific areas of psychotherapy.
Based on the principles, values, and subject matter there would be some variations noted in the application of the topic of study. The overall aim of the research topic (treatment of social phobias with methodologies that go beyond traditional behavioristic approach) will be to liberate an individual from social phobias and related suffering. In this case, Buddhist psychology, like its Western counterpart, will focus on individuals’ interaction with their environments to understand social phobia and subsequent behaviors.
The psychotherapeutic approach used will be different to meet Buddhist psychology that emphasizes change in the consciousness of normal or healthy individuals. In addition, it will be generally based on a philosophical point of view rather than scientific principles.
In addition, the study methodology will be completely different. No scientific approach will be used. Instead, understanding and experience of the researcher will influence research methodology. Thus, the study methodology will be experiential, descriptive, and philosophical instead of scientific. As such, the researcher will not qualify or aspire to qualify the study as scientific.
However, if a scientific approach is adopted, then the researcher is mostly likely to adopt Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treatment program for social phobias (Xie et al. 232; Koszycki et al. 363).
Nevertheless, the topic will borrow favorable aspects of Western psychology to enhance understanding of the topic and realization of human potential to overcome social phobia.
Further, the cognitive perspective will be adopted to structure study questions and selection of exposure environments suitable for the treatment of social phobia. As such, social phobia, a form of human suffering, will be explored to understand social influences on people’s behaviors and changes through life cycles to facilitate the understanding of self.
Aich, Tapas Kumar. “Buddha Philosophy and Western Psychology.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 55.Suppl 2 (2013): S165–S170. Print.
Koszycki, Diana, Jennifer Thake, Ce’line Mavounza and Jacques Bradwein. “Preliminary Investigation of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Social Anxiety Disorder That Integrates Compassion Meditation and Mindful Exposure.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22.5 (2016): 363-74. Print.
Lee, Ming. “Integration of Buddhist and Western Psychology For Overall Well-being.” Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism, 5 (2004): 283-294. Print.
Parsons, Thomas D. and Albert A. Rizzo. “Affective Outcomes of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Anxiety and Specific Phobias: A meta-analysis.” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 39 (2008): 250–261. Print.
Priyamvada, Richa, Sapna Kumari, Jai Prakash and Suprakash Chaudhury. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Social Phobia.” Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 18.1 (2009): 60–63. Print.
Xie, Jian-Fei, Jian-Da Zhou, Li-Na Gong, Joanne DeSanto Iennaco and Si-Qing Ding. “Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy in the Intervention of Psychiatric Disorders: A Review.” International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 1.2 (2014): 232–239. Print.