Tutor profile: Michael V.
What are the primary theoretical orientations of psychotherapy?
Good place to start: behaviorism. To the behaviorist psychotherapist, lives are understood and altered in the form of specific behavior. Think a Skinner Box but applied to a human. Humanistic. Popularized by Rogers and others. This is the "touchy feely" brand of psychology that is commonly known to the public. Essentially, you listen completely openly with unconditional approval while mirroring the patient's responses. Therapist's sole form of intervention is helping provide connections.. not "giving advice" per se. Cognitive Behavioral. Also known as CBT. Very much in vogue right now. Most therapist's are eclectic but this is generally used most heavily these days, especially by younger therapists. It is the method/orientation with the most consistent, robust empirical support. It is essentially a mix of behaviorism and cognition... help the behavior by understanding the underlying thought process and fix "cognitive distortions." Psychodynamic/psychoanalytic. The two names are for... psychodynamic (relying generally on Freudian psych) and psychoanalytic (being essentially a pure dyed-in-the-wool Freud disciple who more or less sticks to Freud's methods.) There are many, many more but this is a brief look and covers the most common and popular.
What is the so-called "7 plus or minus 2" rule of cognitive psychology?
This term refers to a quick-and-dirty estimation of a person's working memory. Working memory essentially refers to how many pieces of information you can keep in your head for around 30 seconds, let's say. Essentially, it's the RAM to the long term crystalized memory's hard drive. For instance, if you try to have someone remember a group of numbers and say them back to you 20 seconds later, they will usually get around 7, plus or minus 2 dependent on individual variation. The +/- 2 element is probably accurate within 2 standard deviations of average for this operation. For more complex thought, more information is nested inside each of the roughly 7 available bits (e.g. "the battle of Stalingrad" or "Amazon stock's value.")
What is the difference between antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy?
First off, psychopathy as a term primarily has meaning in the legal realm. It is not in the DSM-5 (current diagnostic manual). However, to be brief it has to do with a complete lack of empathy that has a highly biological basis. For example, a psychopath will have less autonomic arousal when exposed to electric shocks or a dangerous situation. Antisocial personality disorder could certainly have a biological basis, and does to some degree as with any disorder. However, it is a much broader label. It IS in the DSM-V; it's a Cluster B personality disorder. Again, to be brief, has much in common with psychopathy (e.g. it is core to the personality disorder; unlike a mood disorder it can't be treated and "go away" completely... just be managed. If this is not the case, the behavior does not merit the APB label; personality disorders are inherent to the individual.) There is some overlap between the two. From memory, something like 40-60% of prison inmates have APB-like symptoms (about a third of which would probably be diagnosed APB). About 20% of them (so around 3-5% of the total prison population) are also psychopaths. Rarely would you have a psychopath who would not be considered APB
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