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Psychodynamic, Neurobiological, Trait and Cognitive Models Essay

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2021


The science of psychology incorporates a variety of models, theories, and concepts, each of which is a significant constituent of the system. The psychodynamic, neurobiological, trait and cognitive models are some of the most important in the area of psychological studies. The present paper contains an overview of the core concepts in each of these models. Particularly, such concepts as object relations (the psychodynamic model), extraversion/introversion (neurobiological), systematic desensitization (trait), and rational emotive behavior therapy (cognitive) are viewed as the most crucial elements. Each part of the paper includes an overview of the concept and its author, along with the rationale for its significance.

The Psychodynamic Model: The Object-Relations Concept

An important constituent of modern research in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory is the influence of relationships on people’s development. Specifically, the adherents of this approach believe that a child’s early connection to parents establishes the further development of how an individual relates to and communicates with other people. The theorist most frequently associated with the identified concept is Winnicott (Lecci, 2015). This scholar’s role in the explanation of object relations and their effects was highly significant. Primarily a pediatrician, Winnicott worked both with children and adults, considering the possibility to make the latter regress a substantial opportunity to analyze the psychology of infancy.

At the core of the object-relations approach, there is a presumption that people have an inherent need to be in relationships. As a result, the unwillingness of an individual to be in such relationships is considered as “defensive behavior” aimed at defending oneself from presumed abuse in the interpersonal world (Buchele & Rutan, 2017, p. 36). With the help of the object-relations concept, it is possible to analyze the preferences in people’s communication behaviors. From the perspective of this approach, a person is healthy if he or she feels a need in relations. On the contrary, an unhealthy individual is the one who refrains from relationships due to defense mechanisms (Buchele & Rutan, 2017). The object-relations approach seems to be the most applicable concept of the psychodynamic model since interpersonal connections play a prominent role in everyone’s life. Without the possibility to build and maintain healthy relations with others, one will not be able to set and reach effective objectives on personal and professional development. Therefore, it is vital to analyze people’s behavior under the object-relations concept in order to identify problematic issues and find solutions to them.

The Neurobiological Model: The Concept of Extraversion/Introversion

The concept of introversion/extraversion is one of the components of Eysenck’s three-factor model (Lecci, 2015). Apart from the mentioned concept, the model also incorporates neuroticism/emotional stability and psychoticism/ego strength. The central idea of the introversion/extraversion concept is that biological variability can predict differences in personality (Afshan, Askari, & Manickam, 2015). Eysenck considered that certain stable variations in biology had the potential to predict significant consequences. The core premise of the concept is that extroverts always tend to look for excitement in social activity in order to increase the level of arousal. Meanwhile, introverts prefer to minimize the number of such arousals in an attempt to escape social situations (Afshan et al., 2015). Because of this kind of behavior, scholars often use the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘a shy person’ as synonyms.

The concept of extraversion/introversion is the most applicable one in the neurobiological model since it allows analyzing people’s behavior in relation to brain stimulation. As Mitchell and Kumari (2016) note, the modern analysis of different limbic and cortical areas of the brain would not be complete without Eysenck’s dimensions. Particularly, scientists can investigate and explain individual varieties in the functioning of the central nervous system from the point of extraversion/introversion. The significance of the identified concept cannot be overestimated since it helps psychologists to investigate people’s issues through the prism of the concept’s definition. The need to understand the “content of other minds” is one of the most challenging tasks any individual has (Mitchell & Kumari, 2016, p. 75). The possibility to investigate psychological mechanisms became easier with the understanding of extraversion/introversion. Therefore, this concept is the most relevant in the neurobiological model.

The Trait Model: The Systematic Desensitization Concept

The concept of systematic desensitization is a behavioral approach employed in the treatment of anxiety-based disorders, including phobias. Systematic desensitization was introduced by Wolpe, who believed that a person’s behavior was evoked by the environment rather than constructed by environmental consequences (Lecci, 2017). The concept incorporates three stages: the establishment of the hierarchy of fear, the involvement in a relaxation technique, and the exposure of the individual to different levels of the fear hierarchy. The significance of systematic desensitization cannot be overestimated since, due to it, scientists are able not only to identify psychiatric anxiety disorders but also to find a suitable treatment for them.

With the help of systematic desensitization, it has become possible to find solutions to major psychological issues. For instance, specialists employ this approach in parent-child interventions in case a child tends to reject one of the parents (Garber, 2015). Frequently, children feel anxious when they have to communicate with the rejected parent. Such a situation may occur if parents have divorced, and the child permanently lives with one of them and occasionally meets with the other (Garber, 2015). Systematic desensitization has proven to be highly effective under such circumstances. Particularly, in accordance with the second stage of the concept, it is necessary to construct a hierarchy of fears that a child might have in relation to the problem. In the case of child-parent relationships, the lowest level might be talking about the rejected parent or watching photos with them, whereas the highest level might be a meeting in person and spending some time together. Whatever the problem, it is obvious that with the help of systematic desensitization, specialists can create a valid plan for overcoming the fear or anxiety. Therefore, this concept is the most applicable one in the trait model.

The Cognitive Model: The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Concept

REBT, which appeared in the 1950s, gave way to the cognitive revolution in the field of psychotherapy. The author of the concept was Ellis, who believed that irrational thinking constituted the main reason for people’s suffering (Lecci, 2015). With the help of REBT, it is possible to establish a continuing change and prevent individuals from unhealthy dependence on their therapists (Ellis, 2017). As such, the REBT concept is not only a productive therapeutic method but also a “healthy philosophy” and “a positive way of life and living” (Ellis, 2017, p. 272). The main purpose of REBT is to alleviate individuals’ emotional pain and allow them to be happy and hopeful.

According to the REBT approach, people’s emotional reactions emerge not from circumstances but from their opinion on the circumstances. When one reacts to a negative event rationally, the emotions will be life-promoting and healthy. On the contrary, when irrational thinking prevails, unhealthy emotions will appear (Ellis, 2017). Another aspect related to the REBT concept is that it holds a holistic opinion of individuals’ lives. Specifically, it teaches people that there is a strong connection between their behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Thus, the healthier one’s thinking is, the more positive consequences will develop (Ellis, 2017). Furthermore, REBT suggests that choice comes with the recognition of one’s opportunities. Hence, everyone can opt for what experiences to live and what feelings to allow into their lives. Another important constituent of REBT is a clear distinction between rational and irrational thinking. The former is grounded in empirical reality, whereas the latter causes poor tolerance for frustration (Ellis, 2017). Rational thinking involves preferences, and the irrational approach focuses on demands. Therefore, due to the focus on the mental misery-relieving goal, it is possible to view REBT as the major concept in the cognitive model.


The concepts of object relations, extraversion/introversion, systematic desensitization, and rational emotive behavior therapy have played a significant role in the emergence and evolution of particular psychological models of development. Each of these approaches has value due to the contribution of positive thinking and the alleviation of negative psychological issues. With the help of these concepts, specialists can identify individuals’ problems and find viable solutions to them. Taking into consideration the most progressive achievements of psychological research helps to promote the study and increases the likelihood of finding positive responses to people’s issues.


Afshan, A., Askari, I., & Manickam, L. S. S. (2015). Shyness, self-construal, extraversion–introversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism: A cross-cultural comparison among college students. SAGE Open, 5(2), 215824401558755. Web.

Buchele, B. J., & Rutan, J. S. (2017). An object relations theory perspective. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 67(sup. 1), 36–43. doi:10.1080/00207284.2016.1238748Web.

Ellis, D. J. (2017). Rational emotive behavior therapy and individual psychology. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 73(4), 272–282. Web.

Garber, B. D. (2015). Cognitive-behavioral methods in high-conflict divorce: Systematic desensitization adapted to parent-child reunification interventions. Family Court Review, 53(1), 96–112. Web.

Lecci, L. (2015). Personality. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

Mitchell, R. L. C., & Kumari, V. (2016). Hans Eysenck’s interface between the brain and personality: Modern evidence on the cognitive neuroscience of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 103, 74–81. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Psychodynamic, Neurobiological, Trait and Cognitive Models'. 6 June.

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