You’ve read a lot of theories in psychology. You have ideas of what makes people tick. It’s time to write your own theory of psychology!
Or you could start a bit smaller with your theory of personality. I wrote one. You can too. It’s just putting your thoughts down on paper. I’ll even help you.
Albert Ellis is rational, systematic and confrontational. He is the founder of REBT: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Like Beck, Ellis is a cognitive theorist. He maintains that we are the cause of our misery. Fortunately, we also hold the cure. The key to being happy is to control your beliefs. Don’t give in to shoulds and oughts. Accept that you are not perfect but you are good.
Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy. He combined Freud and Rogers, added his own ideas, and created a new approach to personality and counseling. The heart of Beck’s approach is the impact of beliefs on behavior. What we believe impacts what we do. Just as our perceptual processes can be distorted, our thinking can be biased.
Let’s continue our introduction of existentialism with a look at Viktor Frankl. You don’t have to have been interned in a concentration camp (as Frankl was) to appreciate the importance of living each day as if it were your last. Although existentialism is known for its emphasis on anxiety, Frankl proposed that we are responsible for our attitudes, behaviors and reactions. Life may restrict you but we must give life meaning.
Although existentialism is known for its emphasis on anxiety, May offered a solution: love. Not the fluffy thinking of romantic love but the solid thoughtful love that shows care, concern and a willingness to be helpful.
Rollo May helped introduce existentialism to the United States. He was born in Ohio but was greatly influenced by European philosophers and theologians, particularly Paul Tillich.
Along with Maslow, Carl Rogers introduced humanism as a reaction to psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Rogers is the father of counseling psychology and co-father of humanism in psychology (with Maslow). Rogers put the focus on the person coming to counseling, not the therapist and his theories. This is real help for real people.
Humanism was a major reaction to psychoanalysis and behaviorism. And Abraham Maslow was a leader in this 3rd Force of Psychology. People aren’t just bundles of unconscious processes or simply reacting to stimuli and rewards. We’re, for better and worse, human.
There are three major theories in Social Learning. The first was from Dollard and Miller. They gave us a better understanding of conflict. The second was from Bandura, who introduces observational learning. The third major theory is from Julian Rotter.
If Dollard and Miller gave us the first Social Learning theory, Albert Bandura provided the second. Bandura introduced Observational Learning. He said people are smarter than the behaviorists believed. We can watch others and learn from their success and failure.
Social Learning is behaviorism with a broader point of view. One of the best examples is work done by two Yale professors: John Dollard and Neal Miller.
Dollard & Miller try to use drive-reduction theory to explain human behavior. They combine Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and Hull’s drive theory. Using rats in mazes, they tried to undercover the underlying processes of conflict.