As with any field of study, there are a variety of
ways to explain why people behave the way they do. The 4 basic
models of Psychology each attempt to provide a reasonable explanation
for what sometimes seems to be very unusual behavior. The basic
concepts in any theoretical model of
psychology determine how our dysfunctions
are defined, what is seen as
the source of our problems, what types of interventions
effective in changing the behaviors, and the research methods that are
used to measure the extent of problem and its outcomes.
Proponents of different models attend to and choose problems in
different ways, and explain
them differently. Here is a simplified look at each model:
Cognitive Model says that our problems can be traced to our
thinking processes. If we are what we think we are, then all problems are
a result of faulty thinking processes.
Interventions help the person change their thinking patterns and
expectations. Evaluation comes through a combination of direct
measurements, informal observations, and the insight of the person having the
problems. By improving our thought processes, we can improve our
Behavioral Model says that our problems are rooted in rewards
and punishments we have received from past behaviors.
Difficulties occur when behaviors we have been conditioned to exhibit are viewed
by others as inappropriate. Interventions include training and
reconditioning, so we will exhibit appropriate behaviors.
Research is conducted in a very scientific manner, with great
quantities of data being gathered during direct observation of the
individual. By changing our behavior patterns, we can improve our
Humanistic Model says that our problems originate when we are
prevented from being our complete selves. It accepts that all
people want to achieve self-actualization,
and problems arise when obstacles hinder that process.
Interventions are designed to help the person be self-aware and to
reach their full potential. Measurement comes in the form of
descriptive narratives that measure the person's quality of life.
By accepting ourselves fully for who we are, we can improve our lives.
PsychoDynamic Model says that our problems stem from internal conflicts that we have
not been able to resolve. These problems are defined as
self-destructive behaviors that are inconsistent with the person we seem to be, possibly creations of
our unconscious mind.
Intervention includes analysis
of the source events that caused our problems, and gaining insight into
the motives for our behaviors. Case
studies are used to practice our analytical skills, and trace the
effectiveness of our interventions. By understanding the inner
source of our problems, we can improve our lives.
A major controversy for the entire field is the
issue of causality
you can see above, even the experts do not agree on the exact causes of
the problems that beset us. An
athlete may sincerely believe that some
external factor is the cause of their dysfunctional behavior.
Objective examination may reveal that it is actually the athlete's perception
of that factor that is
causing the behavior. More significantly, we cannot be completely
a change in our behavior was caused by an effective strategy we chose,
or by the mere fact that we were much more aware of that behavior, and
changed it because we finally desired
to. There is probably no final answer to this paradox, though
psychologists would certainly argue the proven results of the
strategy they favor.
There is a great deal of evidence that the most
effective strategies are those that
draw on a combination of different models. Athletes appear to
benefit most when they have multiple methods of resolving their
personal issues. From a scientific standpoint, the issue this
raises is that it becomes much more difficult to evaluate the
effectiveness of any one program, since we cannot be certain which
strategy is having what
effect. The increase in
variables causes controversy as proponents of different systems fight
over why the intervention is being effective. All in all, it
still seems best to apply a balanced variety
of techniques. For this Course, the methods will be individually
selected to meet the needs and philosophy of each student, and Our will
be a combination of models.
Before you proceed, it is important that you
understand the basic principles of each of the main psychological
below will connect you to a series of pages that explain the important
terminology, concepts, and applications of each model.