Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wellness

The human being is a biopsychosocial system. The three components of this system work as an integrated whole.  Biologically, man adapts to survive like an individual and a member of the species. At the psychological level, he struggles to develop and to maintain self-esteem, a sense of identity and effectiveness, interpersonal relations. At the social level, he learns to tolerate the frustrations imposed by society and to accept delays in the gratificaci√≤n of his desires and needs. And he must do all this simultaneously.

There are dinamic relations of interaction among the three components of the system and, according to the contemporary notion that an optimum health state does not only consist of the absence of disease, but rather in a condition of reasonably pleasant biopsychosocial well-being, the set of experts to take care of the prevention and maintenance of this well-being should be of a multidisciplinary nature. Biologists, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, dieticians, are some of the professionals of the Health Sciences whose disciplines directly affect the good biopsychosocial adaptation of the human being.

That biopsychosocial well-being could be a good operational definition for that elusive feeling known as "happiness"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Walden Two

Walden Two, only novel written by American Psychologist B.F. Skinner, Harvard University Professor for many years, got the title after the experience lived by the American Philosopher Henry David Thoreau during two years in a forest called Walden, in Massachusetts, alone and completely retired of social life, to live in contact with nature. On the other hand, Walden Two is a fictional community, separated from the rest of the world, where life is lived in agreement with ethical and psychological principles. In both cases exists a rejection of industrial civilization and its effects on humankind.

Frazier, the character who created the ideology of Walden Two in the novel, says to a friend: "The distance between the technical power of the man and the wisdom whereupon he uses it, it visibly increases year after year… To restrain science until the wisdom and the responsibility of the man are able to take the reins, is not solution. As threatning as it seems, as crazy as it appears to the contemplative soul, science must go ahead. But we must rise  the man to the same level. When we have developed a science of conduct as powerful as the atomic science, you`ll be able to see a considerable difference"

What makes me remember the words of Zenon, main character of the novel The Abyss by Marguerite
Yourcenar:  "The world is big … May it please to the One who perchance Is, to expand human heart to
life's full measure"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Behaviorism

Behaviorism is a learning theory that focuses on objectively observable behaviors: what can be seen, heard, measured, weighed; since mental processes, such as thinking and feeling,  are so difficult to register, they relied on objective behavior, that can be described scientifically.


The russian researcher Ivan Pavlov was main precursor with his investigations on classical conditioning, which is one of the ways of learning.  


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning

Pavlov was investigating the digestion of the dogs and observed that they salivated when food was presented, and later began salivating in the presence of the lab aid who fed them; salivating in presence of the food was an unconditioned response, but in the presence of the lab aid was a learned, conditioned response, that became associated with the food.

American John B. Watson was the first psychologist who called himself behaviorist and centered his research on observable behaviors; American psychologist B.F. Skinner conducted research on operant conditioning, which is another way of learning, more complex than the classical conditioning, more frequent, more human.
In this form of learning, behaviors are maintained by its consequences, basically reinforcement, punishment
and extinction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning

But human mind is too complex and it was somehow necessary to deal with many processes that are not directly observable, opened, but rather covered (feelings, emotions, thinking); behaviorist therapy works very well with kids and today is used with adults, too, in combination with other techniques.