The psychological condition of a person immensely depends upon behavioral counseling and psychotherapy. The purpose of behavioral counseling is to improve the mental health conditions of a person. Conditioning can be explicated as the process of behavior alteration by which a subject comes to associate a preferred behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus. The two types of conditioning are classical conditioning and operant conditioning within the field of psychology. This essay intends to explicate the psychological condition of post-traumatic disorder concerning classical and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning involves a neutral stimulus that is repeatedly paired with an unconditional stimulus which makes the neutral stimulus a conditioned stimulus. The learning experience of an individual can be explicated through classical conditioning. The psychological counselor conducts its counseling by analyzing its neurotic learning experiences. The principles of classical conditioning are acquisition, high order conditioning, expectancies, extinction, spontaneous recovery, and generalization. Some of the classical therapies that psychologists use on their patients are exposure therapies and aversion therapies.
Operant conditioning is also known as instrumental conditioning is discovered by renowned behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. The operant conditioning involves the process of behavioral change (behavioral learning) that occurs due to the process of reinforcement of a specific desired behavior involving reward-based reinforcement of desired behavior or punishment-based reinforcement of undesired behavior. The cardinal principle of operant conditioning is reinforcement through punishment or reward. Reinforcement can also be partial reinforcement or continuous reinforcement. The behavioral therapies which are based upon operant conditioning are called behavior modification. The token economy is one of the significant psychological therapies, that counselors use to shape their patient’s behavior by giving them tokens (e.g. candies or treats for kids) on showing good behavior. Operant conditioning involves incentives and rewards for behavioral learners. The cognitive-behavioral psychologists have used operant conditioning to devise systematic methods to benefit people and amend their problematic behaviors.
Post Traumatic Disorder
The post-traumatic disorder is a psychological disorder in which the factor of fear fails to go in the person and memory reminders of the traumatic events continues to elucidate compulsive conditioned fear responses for years even after vulnerable trauma has passed. This trauma can be caused by natural disasters, physical torture, war, or any accident. Emotional and social support should be given to the PTSD patient to manage. The studies on post-traumatic disorder propose that some symptoms of PTSD are established and upheld by classical conditioning.
The implication of Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical conditioning facilitates the explanation of the experiences of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The traumatic incident can act as an unconditioned stimulus (US) that provokes an unconditioned response (UR) in the concerned person described by immense fear and anxiety. Classical conditioning can be used to mitigate PTSD in person by exposing him/her to the positive neutral stimulus (contentment or another pleasant memory) with the unconditioned stimulus (fear by the traumatic event) repeatedly which will make the neutral stimulus a conditioned stimulus that destroys the unconditioned stimulus (fear by the traumatic event).
Along with classical conditioning, other psychotherapeutic therapies are also important for an individual to combat PTSD. Exposure therapy and stress management can act as psychotherapeutic therapies to help the person battle against PTSD. Group therapy and family therapy can also be helpful for such patients when they share their experiences and fears of the traumatic events with other people in groups. On the other hand, the implication of operant conditioning is used in avoidance learning to exterminate an undesired behavior in a person through reward or punishment. Operant conditioning can help psychologists to teach people that coping techniques (avoidance learning) can reward them/ incentive.
In a nutshell, classical conditioning and operant conditioning have a significant impact on the paradigms of behavioral counseling and psychological disorders. Psychologists and counselors can use these two behavioral theories to improve the mental complexities and amend desired behavior in a person. Therapeutic approaches such as stress management, exposure therapy, and group therapy can do wonders for the patient suffering from PTSD. The implication of these two conditioning theories (Classical conditioning and Operant Conditioning) have a vast influence on people with PTSD.
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