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The course in Theories of Personality contains the following:
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First, we must start by answering the most basic question: What is personality? Personality is made up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique. Researchers have found while some external factors can influence how certain traits are expressed, personality originates within the individual. While a few aspects of personality may change as we grow older, personality tends to remain fairly consistent throughout life. Personality psychologists are interested in the unique characteristics of individuals, as well as similarities among groups of people. In this first section of our personality study let us, start by learning more about how psychologists define personality: What is Personality?
The concept of boundaries, particularly in the sense of boundary crossings and boundary violations, has come under increased scrutiny in relation to the wave of sexual misconduct cases arising in litigation, ethics committee hearings, and complaints to boards of licensure. Like many concepts in psychotherapy, such as "therapy," "transference," and "alliance," the term proves slippery on closer observation. The literature tends to focus on patient-therapist sexual misconduct as an extreme violation and not on the wide variety of lesser and more complex boundary crossings, many of which are, at first glance, less obvious but pose difficulties of their own for clinicians.
Clinicians tend to feel that they understand the concept of boundaries instinctively, but using it in practice or explaining it to others is often challenging. This latter problem is rendered more difficult by the tendency of the legal system, particularly plaintiffs' attorneys, to apply it mechanistically: any boundary crossing is bad, wrong, and harmful. Empirical evidence suggests that boundary violations frequently accompany or precede sexual misconduct, but the violations themselves do not always constitute malpractice or misconduct or even bad technique. However, modern clinicians should be aware of three principles that govern the relationship among boundaries, boundary crossings, boundary violations, and sexual misconduct.
Lesson 3: PERSONALITY
Almost every day we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what personality psychologists do. While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone. Personality research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain personality traits develop.
Lesson 4: PSYCHODYNAMICS
The term psychodynamics is also used by some to refer specifically to the psychoanalytical approach developed by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and his followers. Freud was inspired by the theory of thermodynamics and used the term psychodynamics to describe the processes of the mind as flows of psychological energy (libido) in an organically complex brain. In the treatment of psychological distress, psychodynamic psychotherapy tends to be a less intensive, once- or twice-weekly modality than the classical Freudian psychoanalysis treatment of 3-5 sessions per week. Psychodynamic therapies depend upon a theory of inner conflict, wherein repressed behaviors and emotions surface into the patient’s consciousness; generally, one conflict is subconscious.
Lesson 5: HUMANISTIC APPROACHES
VICTOR FRANKL was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaustsurvivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy". His best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say "Yes" to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.
Lesson 6: COGNATIVE APPROACHES
WHAT IS A COGNATIVE APPRAOCH: The cognitive approach is an area of psychology that focuses on mental processes, perception, and language as a way of explaining and understanding human behavior. It started to develop in the 1960s, and by the end of the 20th century, it had become the dominant school of thought in psychology. Psychotherapy based on this approach attempts to alter behavior by attempting to change the behavior’s underlying cognition, or thought processes.
There are a few assumptions that are central to the cognitive approach. One is that human behavior can be understood by scientific processes. Unlike Freudian psychology, cognitive psychology developed through empirical testing. Another assumption is that human behavior is a series of responses to external stimuli mitigated by people's thoughts, perceptions, moods, and desires..
Lesson 7: PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT THEORIES
Personality development has been a major topic of interest for some of the most prominent thinkers in psychology. Our personalities make us unique, but how does personality develop? How exactly do we become who we are today? In order to answer this question, many prominent theorists developed theories to describe various steps and stages that occur on the road of personality development. The following theories focus on various aspects of personality development, including cognitive, social and moral development.
Lesson 8: PERSONALITY DISORDERS
Antisocial Personality Disorder: According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 7.6 million American adults suffer from antisocial personality disorder. According to some critics, the DSM diagnostic criteria are too focused on behaviors commonly displayed by those with antisocial personality disorder, such as fire-setting, cruelty to animals, and difficulties with authority figures. Because of this, it is possible that the prevalence of this disorder has been overstated. Regardless of this possibility, these behaviors often lead to major difficulties in many life areas, including work and personal relationships and the disorder is often linked to criminal behavior.Lecture Materials
Lesson 9: BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a Russian physiologist known primarily for his work in classical conditioning. From his childhood days Pavlov demonstrated intellectual brilliance along with an unusual energy which he named "the instinct for research". Inspired by the progressive ideas which D. I. Pisarev, the most eminent of the Russian literary critics of the 1860s and I. M. Sechenov, the father of Russian physiology, were spreading, Pavlov abandoned his religious career and decided to devote his life to science. In 1870 he enrolled in the physics and mathematics faculty at the University of Saint Petersburg to take the course in natural science. Ivan Pavlov devoted his life to the study of physiology and sciences, making several remarkable discoveries and ideas that were passed on from generation to generation. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904.
After completing his doctorate, Pavlov went to Germany where he studied in Leipzig with Carl Ludwig in the Heidenhain laboratories in Breslau. He remained there from 1884 to 1886. Heidenhain was studying digestion in dogs, using an exteriorized section of the stomach. However, Pavlov perfected the technique by overcoming the problem of maintaining the external nerve supply. The exteriorized section became known as the Heidenhain or Pavlov pouch.
Lesson 10: SYSTEMIC APPROACHES
Systemic therapy has its roots in family therapy, or more precisely family systems therapy as it later came to be known. In particular, systemic therapy traces its roots to the Milan school ofMara Selvini Palazzoli, but also derives from the work of Salvador Minuchin, Murray Bowen, Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, as well as Virginia Satir and Jay Haley from MRI in Palo Alto. These early schools of family therapy represented therapeutic adaptations of the larger interdisciplinary field of systems theory which first originated in the fields of biology and physiology. Early forms of systemic therapy were based on cybernetics. In the 1970s this understanding of systems theory was central to the structural (Minuchin) and and strategic (Haley, Selvini Palazzoli) schools of family therapy which would later develop into systemic therapy. In the light of postmodern critique, the notion that one could control systems or say objectively “what is” came increasingly into question.Lecture Materials
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