Jason Chapman, Angela Escudero, Senica Fontanoza
Sonia Herrera, Jennifer Jones
PSY/490: Capstone Course in Psychology
January 27, 2014
Psychological Issues Summary
Introduction w/ Thesis statement added Jason
David is a five year old child who has been having issues with isolating himself from not only his family, but also has a hard time making friends. David has always been the quiet type and has never been good at expressing himself. Although there are many reasons why someone would isolate themselves from others, David has no real reason for doing this. His family is worried that he will not break out of this sort of shyness that has presented itself and has been going on since he could talk, which was approximately two years old. David was always a lovable baby and laughed and smiled a lot. Things changed once David could talk and no one can figure out why this happened. David’s family often has a terrible time communicating with him and they always have to go looking for him because he isolates himself from the rest of the household by hiding in closets and under his bed. David’s isolation has disrupted the household because no one can seem to get through to him. David often misses dinner because he only wants to be in his room alone and does not want to interact with the family at the dinner table. David doesn’t cry, laugh, smile, or even hug or show affection to anyone, including his own parents. Since David isolates himself so much, his family has a hard time going anywhere with him and they have to hire a babysitter or have someone like a family member or friend watch him to go to the market. If they try to bring him to the market, he will kick and fight and run up to his room and lock the door. Although David has not yet had a formal diagnosis, the family feels that it is urgent that he get some professional guidance since he is going to be starting school in September. David was put in pre-school at age four to help him with socialization skills, but even in pre-school David would hide in the closet and not interact with the other children. When David’s cousins come to his house to play, he goes in his room and stays there until the cousins leave because he does not want to play with them. David’s family is steadily getting frustrated because he doesn’t speak much and they feel that the problem is getting worse as time goes on. They are afraid that the isolation that David has created in his life will envelop him from having friends and a healthy social life.
Classical Conditioning A common theory used to evaluate and treat problem behaviors is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning consists of eliciting stimulus that depends on a previous occurrence of a neutral stimulus (Donahoe, 2005). Studies have shown that an eliciting stimulus causes and elicit response. A neutral stimulus also begins to trigger a response when it is consistently paired with the eliciting stimulus. In pairing neutral and eliciting stimuli, a new relation between environment and behavior is created. Classical conditioning is also known as respondent conditioning because the behavior is produced rather than emitted or released responses. Emitted responses are evaluated using a different method known as operant conditioning (Donahoe, 2005). The neutral stimulus (or conditioned stimulus) when paired with the eliciting stimulus (or unconditioned stimulus), evokes behavior, and very few neutral stimuli alone have no effect on behavior. Emotional responses are typically acquired through classical conditioning. Different variations of classical conditioning can be used to modify dysfunctional emotional behavior (Heffner, 2009). Social ties are essential to psychological and emotional well being (Heffner, 2009). Therefore, using classical conditioning to determine the triggers of isolation is an important role in the treatment of the patient. Once determined,