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As a psychologist, an individual should be fully conversant with the way that people develop various behaviors, emotions, and thinking processes. This aspect is necessary for only then will a psychologist work on programs that can help in shaping of certain negative behaviors among his or her clients.
Since people are diverse in many respects due to differing personalities coupled with behavioral and cognitive developments, this paper proposes a personal theory of approaching people’s psychological problems in a multidimensional perspective point of view. The paper argues that, the outward behaviors of an individual are akin to the personality of that person.
The major task in presentation of this personal theory is seeking to identify the relationship between personality, outward behavior of people, and their psychological development processes. In this quest, three main psychological theories are worth focusing on: behavioral theories, cognitive theories, and personality theories.
From the perspectives of the personality theories, this paper argues that, psychologists should consider the patterns of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that construct the uniqueness of an individual. On the other hand, cognitive theories focus “on internal states, such as motivation, problem solving, decision-making, thinking, and attention” (McAlister, Perry & Parcel, 2008, p.168).
From the contexts of behavioral theory, the paper finds its incorporation in the personal multidimensional theory necessary, since people acquire certain behaviors that determine their personality through conditioning.
Additionally, crucial for consideration in the entire equation of the personal theory for resolution of people’s psychological challenges is the embracement of roles of motivation in shaping people’s cognitions and behaviors. The purpose of incorporation of the three theories, in the multidimensional personal theory proposed in this paper, is pegged on the idea that, human thought motivation may amount to development of certain behaviors to differing people in different extents.
Personality structures of people
In an attempt to propose a personal theory to explain people’s behaviors from the contexts of personality structures, the meaning of the term personality should be pin pointed with regard to the proposed theory. For purposes of explanation in this section, the term “personality” will be taken to refer to differences among people or to underscore what makes people unique. Essentially, personality traits entangle individual differences.
For psychologists to deliver utmost good to their clients, it is significant that they cutely understand the elements that constitute the personality of the clients who are diverse and heterogeneous. In my personal theory, personality of people undergoes continuous changes akin to the differing exposure to experiences and to environmental factors such education. Sigmund Freud proposed three structures constituting the personality of individuals.
These are ego, superego and id. Eissle (1990) argues, “Each of these structures is responsible for some aspect of our thinking and behavior” (p.198). Id is depictive of people’s needs desires, wants and instant gratification among other things. Even though many people may not be aware of this significant element of their psych, it entangles one of the crucial driving forces for determining individual behavior.
Id runs deep in the innate want for individuals to have pleasure and to some extent indulgence. However, as Gay (1989) asserts, “Freud’s view, the id is totally unconscious; it has no contact with reality” (p.101). This implies that people have no control of some of the behaviors they develop. Opposed to id, the ego is personality aspect that develops as children grow. It occurs due to contact with reality.
In psychology, this aspect is normally termed as “executive branch of personality because it used in reasoning to make decisions” (Eissle, 1990, p. 199). In my personal theory, element should be investigated in individuals since serving as a psychological counselor would demand that a stimuli is artificially created to prompt people to reason logically. This would help them in conducting a thorough analysis of their problem, so that a myriad of causes of the problems can be determined.
From this myriad of causes, individuals can be capacitated to select the things they need to do and the things they do not have to do through reason as the basis of making their decisions (Freud, 1923, p.147). To help in the realization of this noble role of a counselor, people should have the capacity to make decisions on the right and the wrong things: something that calls for magnificent deployment of the knowledge of personality’s aspect of superego.
The superego aspect constitutes the moral aspect of people’s personality, “it takes into account whether something is right or wrong” (Eissle 1990, p.203). In the context of my personal theory, I believe that people decisions to make certain indulgences are prompted by their conscience.
In my personal theory, I believe that the three elements of the personality, as proposed by Freud, continuously interact in a non-homogeneous manner. This means that one element of personality is always against the other. For instance, the superego and id make the ego aspect of personality face difficulties.
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Arguably, a scenario where the ego desires to steal from people, but with precautions to avoid being caught in fear of the legal consequences, can exemplify this argument. On the other hand, the ego says that it is necessary to steal amid the legal consequences since money is critical for pleasure in life. Nevertheless, the superego is continuously working. It nullifies the decisions taken by the other aspects of personality claiming that, it is inappropriate to steal since I would feel the same way in case other people steal from me.
Therefore, it is necessary for the ego to resolve the emerging conflict between the demands placed by desires of the Id, and the limitations that are imposed by the superego. In this end, I suggest that this can be accomplished via defense mechanisms to ensure that reality is distorted. This makes the superego be amply protected from the imminent anxieties. This argument is perhaps more enhanced with consideration of the fact that “when the ego blocks the pleasurable pursuits of the id, inner anxiety is felt” (Eissle, 1990, p.201).
The implication of this argument is that, it is widely anticipated that distressed conditions are anticipated whenever the ego element realizes that the id can cause any harm to an individual. Stemming from this argument, I believe that anxiety is the chief mechanism through which the ego is pushed to adjudicate the various eminent disputes by defending or justifying one’s position. Repressive defense mechanism is one of these defense mechanisms.
In the words of Costa and McCrae, “repression is the most powerful and pervasive defense mechanism which according to Freud, it works to push unacceptable id impulse out of awareness and back into the unconscious mind” (1992, p.20). Arguably, repressive defense mechanism forms the pivot from which all other mechanism of defense operates.
This argument holds because I believe, just like Miller, that, “the overall objective of every mechanism of defense is to ensure that pushing or repression of impulses, which are threatening to the personality of an individual, are pushed out of individual awareness” (p.132).
In addition to the three structures of personality proposed by Freud, I argue that personality cannot be the only theory for explaining people’s indulgences in some behaviors and not others. Consequently, other paradigms can be deployed to explain people’s behaviors such as behavioral theory, and cognitive theory.
Working as a psychological counselor would demand a counselor to have ample knowledge of the manner in which people develop various behaviors. This requirement is deemed necessary since I believe that not all behaviors among people are inborn- some are phenotypic. More interactively, behavioralism entangles “a theory of learning based on the perception that behaviors are acquired through conditioning” (Arnould, Price & Zinkhan, 2004, p.108).
From the perspectives of my multidimensional personal theory, it is arguable that various forms of conditioning can take place through environmental interactions in which the environmental stimuli helps to construct people’s behaviors. Upon the construction of the behaviors, people become different depending on the environmental stimuli that they have been exposed to.
Consequently, behavior conditioning becomes one of the ways of helping people to make choices on what to do and what they ought not to do. The applicability of behavioralism theory in counseling is pegged on the idea that, it is possible to learn people’s behaviors without necessarily having to consider the mental processes on such persons. In my counseling, I would approach conditioning from two dimensions. These are classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
As argued before, the interaction between the ego, superego, and id produced anxieties. These anxieties can be reduced substantively by deployment of classical conditioning approaches in psychological counseling. For instance, supposing a tutor wants to apply the concepts of behavioral theory to induce positive learning in class.
Classical conditioning can act a subtle tool for ensuring this endeavor is achieved by helping in minimization of classroom anxieties and fear. For example, when a situation that provokes anxiety; such and making students perform a task in front of their peers, providing a surrounding that is pleasant can enormously aid a student to learn new ways and associations.
When such conditioning is done, it is possible for the student to calm and become relaxed instead of being tensed and or anxious. Consequently, repeated exposure to such situations may help to build strong personality within the students. Gay (1989) adds weight in this argument by positing that “classical conditioning technique is also useful in the treatment of phobia or anxiety problems” (p.67).
The concept of classical conditioning applied to students may also be extended in other areas, where psychological counseling is required to induce positive personality, such as management of depression and low self-esteem amongst people. For the case of operant conditioning, Gay (1989) informs, “Reinforcement and punishment are an important concept in operant conditioning and an indispensable part of the learning process” (p.125).
Through reinforcement schedules, it is possible to induce fast learning and fast instillation of desired behaviors. However, in my personal theory, I believe that human beings are freethinking beings who are guided by reason. Hence, it is not desired that punishment be administered to make people develop certain behaviors, which are then integrated in their personality traits.
Consequently, no further treatment of operant conditioning is considered since it is not essential in my personal theory. Rather, I find it crucial to consider how cognitive development theory may interact with personality, so that it can be deployed in my multidimensional theory for psychology counseling.
The main concern of cognitive theory is the thinking processes deployed by people. “It also looks at how these thoughts processes influence how people understand and interact with the world” (McAlister, Perry, Parcel, 2008, p.169). The main question that remains is how I would apply cognitive theory, in my multidimensional theory, to induce healing process of psychologically related problems among different people.
In this end, the fundamental premise akin to deployment of cognitive theory in the healing process lies in the grounds that, to induce healing, “the way we think about or perceive ourselves and others, determines how we respond to the world with our emotions and behaviors” (McAlister, Perry, Parcel, 2008, p.173).
Thus, the overall goal of the healing process entails altering the manner in which people think about themselves coupled with the way they perceive the environment around them, while not negating the entire world they live in.
Cognitive theory is central in my multidimensional theory of psychological counseling. It acts as merger of both personality theory and behavioral theory: the three theories being the constituents of the multidimensional personal theory, because “cognitive theory is focused on the individual’s thoughts as the determinate of his or her emotions and behaviors and therefore personality” (Miller, 2005, p.105).
This argument implies that without thoughts, people cannot develop emotions since they would not know when they are offended or treated justly. Without thoughts, behaviors would improbably function. Essentially, therefore, thoughts precede actions and feelings. In my personal theory, I believe that altering the manner in which people think may be an immense determinant of people capacity to manage moods, anxiety or even improve their relationships with others.
For example, if it could be possible to change the manner in which a student perceives a situation from the dimension that such an activity may bring forth astonishment to the dimension that the activity is an opportunity to display one’s capabilities, it would be possible to reduce the student’s anxieties to nearly zero percent. The only technique applied is altering the manner in which people view and think about the world and its reality.
In the multidimensional personal theory, I believe that apart from the way an individual views the world, many other factors influence the manner in which one constructs the meaning of the daily encounters. This includes government, parents, family, the state of economy and education among other factors. Arguably, these factors are outside an individual and have an immense influence on the inner person’s thought processes.
In approaching the psychological problems of people, under the multidimensional personal theory, one of the substantive factors that may lead to make people develop psychological problems including anxiety is family. Wilson is also inclined in this line of view when he describes parents as the essential constituent element of a family that shapes the perceptions of their children and the environment within which they live (2001, p. 91).
This implies that parents are essential in constructing the cognitions of children about the world, which houses them. The other factors play pivotal roles in helping the children build relationships and handle various situations encountered due to the cognitions developed due parental influence (Cloud, 1999, p.12).
Consequently, in my personal theory I propose that a counselor should scrutinize the familial history of individuals in an attempt to evaluate why certain persons behave in the manner they do or why their personality is constructed in a given manner. The argument here is that, the outlined factors may act as subtle motivators of people’s actions.
In this extent, it is essential that a counselor determine what motivates people in behaving the way they do, and what motivates people to develop the portrayed personality traits. Stemming from this argument, motivation amounts to one of the essential building blocks of my personal theory. Hence, consideration of what motivation means in the context of my personal theory is critical.
Explanation of motivation
Motivation may contribute to the cognitions, personalities and even behaviors that are developed by people. It can explain the actions and behaviors that are portrayed by people. In more interactive way, motivation “is identified as an inner drive that reflects goal oriented arousal” (Arnould et. al., 2004, p.259).
Based on this definition, it is arguable that motivation is different to personality in the sense that it is a more abstract and a deeper concept that helps in focusing people’s attention towards achieving certain goals. One of such goals would entail success. In my personal theory, I propose that, studying people’s motivations is critical in helping to engineer subtle healing process, since it is also intertwined with individual traits and the social environment.
These two factors are essential constituents of personality and behavioralism consecutively. Most paramount to note is that motivation is driven by various psychographic desires and needs of individuals such power, achievement, self esteem and also affiliation. People would thus tend to work and indulge in behaviors that would facilitate achievement of these needs.
Essentially, studying people’s motivation may thus truncate in development of mechanisms of identifying the reasons as to why people portray certain phenotypic traits that are depictive of their personalities, these personalities being derived from their thinking processes (cognitions). Goals are essential motivators of behaviors. Therefore, it is arguable that whenever goals are not meet individual tend to get upset hence depicting their emotions and feelings.
In this line of argument, Crabb (1986) further asserts that, failure to meet individual goals can give fertile grounds for portrayal of negative emotions (p.29). These results in making people feel worthless. In this context, I hold that all behaviors expressed by people have motivators. These behaviors would include even doing nothing. This point at concluding that, anything that a person does is accounted for by some reason. Hence, people who hardly do anything have a psychological problem, which needs treatment.
Motivation is an incredible contributor to human development. In the context of my personal theory, human development implies the integrations of people’s cognitions (thinking process) and behaviors throughout the lifetime of a person. Thus, the experiences that people develop in their lifetime are critical in making them live mentally healthy or unhealthy.
In the prescription of treatment for mental psychological disorders, it is thus vital that a counselor make ample consideration of the experiences that people go through and why such situations occurred. The utmost goal here is to establish the motivators of the client’s circumstances leading to his or her condition. From the perspective of my personal theory, these motivators are traceable from the client’s personality, cognitions and behaviors, which are either intrinsically or extrinsically developed.
Additionally, in the realm of personal motivations, the roles played by family stand centrally in determining behaviors and personalities of individuals. To exemplify this argument, Wilson notes that, children who are provided with security coupled with safety stands higher chances of growing into psychologically healthy individuals (2001, p. 97). Therefore, it is imperative to note that people who lack these two essential things may end up displaying antisocial behaviors coupled with increased likelihoods of being negative thinkers.
Effectiveness of my personal theory
Incorporation of concepts of cognitive theory in my multidimensional theory is deemed fruitful, since many other researchers have used it successfully in treatment processes. Among the many other researchers who have contributed richly to this field, include Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
As Eissle (1990) reckons, “Beck developed several assessment techniques such as the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) which are both exceptionally popular quick assessments of an individual’s functioning” (p.201). On the other hand, Ellis claims that cognitive theory concepts are critical in aiding to overcome numerous negative elements of personality.
Additionally, a wide body of research has proved this idea, particularly when it comes to application of cognitive theory in treatment of disorders such as anxiety and depressive disorders, relational difficulties, interpersonal problems and agers among other psychological challenges.
Indeed, according to Arnould et al. (2004) “some research even suggests that cognitive treatment, especially when combined with some behavioral aspects such as relaxation provides better and more long-lasting results than medication in the treatment of depression” (p.211). Although cognitive theory posses criticisms, it is anticipated that its criticisms are countered by the fact that my personal theory is multidimensional. Hence, it takes into consideration of the strengths of personality and behavioral theories.
Many psychological theories have been developed since Sigmund Freud developed the personality theory. For every theory, criticisms exist for its effectiveness in resulting to healing processes for psychological problems that people encounter. However, amid the challenges of any one theory, this paper recognizes that, every theory has elements of efficacy in contributing to the management of psychological problems.
A personal theory- multidimensional theory is proposed. This theory cuts across personality, behavioral, and cognitive theory. The ability of this theory to result into relevant management of psychological problems faced by people is pegged on the idea that, as children grow, they develop cognitions of the world that they live in and reflect this cognition through their behaviors. In turn, these behaviors are depictive of their personalities.
However, every behavior expressed outwardly by an individual is owed to certain forces of motivations. Consequently, my perusal theory maintains that, motivations are the central determinants of why people do some things and not others. Therefore, in the treatment processes, psychologists ought to study people’s motivations to their behaviors in the attempt to determine likely causes of their indulgences and thinking processes.
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