The first, second, and third forces of psychology are a classification of all the 17 theories of personality that are accepted by mainstream psychology. These are theories that are attributed to Freud, Jung, Adler, Karen Horney, Erickson, Maslow, Rogers, Murray, Sheldon, Sullivan, Allport, Cattle, Dollard and Miler, Bandura, Ellis, and Kelly.
As a result of their work in psychology, three forces of psychology have arisen (Munsterberg, 2010). The first force is referred to as Psychoanalysis, psychodynamic, or intra-psychic; the second force is known as behaviourism while the third force is known as phenomenology is humanistic psychology. However, some refer to behaviourism as the first force at times (Gels & Hayes, 1998).
Behaviourism as the first force, which is also known as the learning perspective, has its basis on the assumption that all what an individual does, acting, thinking, and feeling among others, is considered behaviour (Corey, 2008). Classification of behaviour is also based on what is called the dead man’s test, “if a dead man can do it, it isn’t behaviour, and if a dead man can do it, then it is behaviour”. This theory also proposes that it is possible to treat psychological disorders by changing the behaviour patterns or the environment of an individual.
The difference between the behaviouristic school of thought and other psychological schools of thought is that experts agree that one can look at behaviour without including the influence of internal psychological events or hypothetical constructs (Gelso & Hayes, 1998). Consequently, it is believed that like privately observable processes such as thinking and feeling, observable processes have the same philosophical aspects. .
Ken Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness model on the other hand was developed by Kenneth Earl Wilbur as part of his work which focuses on what h calls the integral theory. The spectrum of consciousness consists of two levels of consciousness; transpersonal bands and the mind each of which is characterized by the presence or absence of dualisms, splits, cognition, therapies, and aims.
According to Wilber, behaviour begins as rational thought and narrows progressively from the mind (which is referred to as the universe), to the individual (who is referred to as the existential organism) to the psyche also referred to as the ego and to parts of the psyche which are referred to as the persona.
The behavioural force is found on the existential level of this model whereby human beings are regarded as psychophysical beings that exist in space and time. While at this level, individuals develop the ability to possess rational thought and will power which segregates an individual from others, and living things from their environment.
This definition of human beings is similar to the concept of behaviourism whereby human beings are credited with the possession of the ability to think, while their thoughts, feelings and emotions are considered behaviour.
There are several studies that have been carried out by behaviourists in a bid to explain the origin and development of behaviour (Gelso & Hayes, 1998). Most notable among these are the “Little Albert” experiment by John B. Watson and Ivan Pavlov who studied classical conditioning. As a result, there are several causes of human behaviour.
Operant conditioning is whereby an individual may choose to do something or fail to do something due to the punishment or reward that he or she has learnt comes with the activity. The other source of behaviour is known as respondent conditioning whereby a specific stimulus always results in a specific action; however, this can be controlled or influenced by pairing the original stimuli with another stimulus to obtain the same behaviour.
Transformation and healing of behaviour is governed today by the applied behaviour analysis which employs behavioural learning theory to alter behaviour (Corey, 2008). An individual is assessed on the basis of his or her interaction with the environment and then a method of changing their behaviour is formulated.
The methods that are used for transformation and healing are behavioural interventions as well as the manipulation of factors that have been seen to cause people to change and maintain new behaviour (Gelso & Hayes, 1998). The technologies that have been revealed for changing behaviour through research include task analysis, chaining, prompting, fading, thinning a reinforcement schedule, generalization, shaping and video modelling among others (Munsterberg, 2010).
These methods have been particularly useful in assisting children with learning disabilities or those with autism learn and maintain new skills and behaviour. Another method for transforming and healing problems with behaviour is the Lovaas method. Transformation and healing are experienced by the client once he or she has successfully managed demonstrate a change of behaviour that is consistent and continuous as opposed to intermittent (Corey, 2008).
There are various models and theories that are associated with behaviour as well as behaviour change (Gelso & Hayes, 1998). Each of them focuses on different factors in attempting to change behaviour. These are the learning theories, social cognitive theories, theories of reasoned action and planned behaviour, the Tran theoretical model, and the health action process approach which are in turn characterized by several elements such as self efficacy, (Gelso & Carter, 1994).
The theory of reasoned action proposes that before an individual engages in a specific behaviour, he or she assesses the consequences of such behaviour r beforehand. The consequences of this behaviour are judged to either be positive or negative, and in addition, individuals consider the perception of the society towards such behaviour (Gelso & Hayes, 1998).
The learning theory behaviour, which is also known as the behaviour analytic theories of change, proposes that complex behaviour is usually the result of several simpler behaviours that have been modified within an individual.
The social learning theory which is also known as the social cognitive theory assumes that behaviour change is based on an individual’s environment, personality, and prevailing behaviour (Corey, 2008). The theory of planned action is an expansion of the theory of reasoned action which proposes that an individual’s intentions may influence his behaviour, but there are other things beyond his or her control that affect behaviour as well (Gelso & Hayes, 1998).
The trans-theoretical or the stages of chance model of behaviour proposes that behaviour change consists of five steps between which an individual may oscillate before eventually adopting and maintaining new behaviour; these are: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance (Gelso & Carter, 1994).
The health action process approach consists of two parts; a goal setting phase which is also known as motivation and a goal pursuit phase which is also known as volition. All these are applied in psychotherapy of behaviour in the health sector, the education sector, criminology and energy.
The theories of Behaviourism provide very useful insights to integral practitioners in both professional and personal life. Professionally, one is able to make a diagnosis of behavioural problems besides suggesting methods of treating these. Personally, knowledge of behaviourism enables me to acknowledge and reform the negative behaviour that I have besides identifying and maintaining the positive habits.
Corey, G. (2008). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Boston: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Gelso, C. & Hayes, J. (1998). The Psychotherapy Relationship: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Gelso, C. & Carter, J. (1994). Components of the psychotherapy relationship: their interaction and unfolding during treatment. Journal of Counselling Psychology 1994; Vol 41: Pp 296–306.
Munsterberg, H. (2010). Psychotherapy. New York: Nabu Press.