What are the main psychological theories?  And what are their main ideas about?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Psychoanalytic:  Started by Freud, it focuses on the subconscious as the main motivation for all behavior.  All of our desires, motivations, fears and issues are buried deep within our subconscious and must be accessed through psychoanalysis, hypnosis and dream therapy.

Behavioral:  Skinner founded this, and it ties everything back to rewards and punishments.  They feel that all of our behavior, thoughts and fears exist because we were either rewarded or punished for past actions.

Humanistic:  Driven by Jung and Rogers, it focuses on the theory that all human beings are programmed to come who they are going to become, and that is a wonderful, fully realized individual.  They developed "client-centered" therapy where the therapist and the team work together hand-in-hand to help the client (not patient) achieve happiness.

Sociocultural:  A newer branch that believes our behavior is impacted by the culture and society that we live in.  All behavior can be tied back to society's rules and traditions.

Biological:  everything can be tied back to the brain, the nervous and endocrine system, and neurons.  Medication is the most helpful behavior-changing tool.

Cognitive:  focuses on a person's thought processes and how the way we think shapes our emotions and behaviors.  Its therapy focuses on changing the way you think about the world.