Posted on Sunday, March 07, 2010
Here we examined developmental processes and how the developmental perspective can help us understand behavior disorders of childhood and adolescence. Within this broad developmental paradigm one can identify a number of different views. Each emphasizes some of the influences that contribute to a developmental view of behavior disorders (Achenbach, 1990). We now examine several of these “microparadigms” or perspectives that have been applied to the study of behavior disorders. Before turning to particular viewpoints, however, let us look at the meaning of the terms perspective and paradigm.
Taking Different Perspectives
Much of what we now know about behavior problems comes from applying the objective methods of science. However, the writings of Thomas Kuhn (1962) and others have made us increasingly aware that science is not a completely objective endeavor. To understand this point it is best to remember that scientists, like all of us, must think about and deal with a complex world. To do this they make assumptions and form concepts. When a set of such assumptions is shared by a group of investigators, Kuhn refers to them as a paradigm. Here we employ the terms perspective, paradigm, and view interchangeably to refer to this perceptual/cognitive "set" that the scientist takes in order to study and understand phenomena.
What are the implications of adopting a particular perspective? Perspectives help us make sense of a puzzling and complex universe. They enable us to view new information in the context of previous experience and to have a basis for reacting to it. Taking a perspective is thus adaptive and functional. At the same time, perspectives limit us as well. They guide us in "selecting" the issues chosen for investigation, but may preclude us from asking certain questions. Once a question is selected for investigation, a decision must be made: What will be observed in order to answer this question? All things are not observed, just some things. Perspectives influence this choice and also how observations are done. In turn, particular methods and instruments help in detecting certain phenomena but result in our missing others. Once information is collected, the adoption of a paradigm affects the interpretation we make of the "facts" we have collected. Overall then, perspective-taking strongly organizes how a problem is approached, investigated, and interpreted.
In the next article we will discuss some perspectives and modes of behavior disorder treatment. The perspectives are biological perspective, psychodynamic perspective, social learning perspective, cognitive perspective, family systems perspective, psychoeducational perspective. Whereas mode of treatment that we will discuss are Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Play Therapy, Parent Training, Treatment in Residential Settings, and Pharmacological Treatment.
Category Article Behavior Disorder