Assignment 2: Comparing psychological strategies
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Assignment 2: Comparing psychological strategies


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This assignment can be formatted using subheadings (e.g: Part A, Part B etc). Please include a short introduction and conclusion (which will not count towards the overall word limit) to orient the reader to the assignment’s focus. A single reference list at the conclusion of the overall assignment (rather than individual reference lists for each assignment section) will be sufficient. There is no need to include an abstract, although a title page (including your name, student number, unit code, assignment number and actual word limit) is requested.

1. Part A: 1000 words (15 marks)

Choosing two theories  

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) 
  • Acceptance and Committment Therapy

Compare and contrast two of these approaches in terms of the:

  1. Key theoretical themes 
  2. How change is conceptualised  
  3. Therapeutic aims  
  4. Role of the practitioner and consumer 
  5. Common interventions   

2. Part B: 1000 words (15 marks)

Case study

Paul is 22 year old unemployed man from a Jewish background. He did well at school but has not been employed since. Paul lives with his mother, father and young sister in the suburbs of a large Australian city. He studied IT at TAFE for one year but dropped out before he completed the course in his second year. He has recently been diagnosed with depression by his GP and has been referred to you for brief counselling. While Paul and his GP discussed medication, Paul asked to try counselling first. Paul reports to you in his first session that he has difficulty getting to sleep so he often stays up until the early hours of the morning. He states he has lost five kilograms in the last ten weeks, feels tired all the time and doesn’t leave his bedroom much. He states he doesn’t drink much alcohol, but he uses marijuana most days, particularly to get to sleep. He reported that he spends a lot of his time playing computer games, some with online friends but rarely talks or sees his other friends. He informed you he had a relationship with a girlfriend at school that lasted for 18 months, but has not been in a serious relationship for the last three years. He hasn’t dated anyone in the past year. He reports he wants to become a creative writer, but can’t seem to find the motivation to sit and write. He states he has a poor relationship with his mother who complains that he doesn’t do enough to help at home. His informed you that his father is a professional musician who has expressed his disappointment that he seems to be wasting his life and not working. Paul reports he is happy to attend counselling as he wants to feel better, but he doesn’t want to take anti-depressant medication.    


Part A

For the purposes of this section, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) have been chosen and their nuances have been compared and contrasted hereon.

Key Theoretical Themes: The key theoretical principle behind the CBT methodology is the interrelation between cognition, emotion and behaviour of an individual and that the interaction between these aspects impacts psychological outlook as derived from the confluence of cognitive and behavioural theories (Flora, et al., 2014). In other words, the cognitive process of an individual (i.e., judgments and assumptions he or she makes) stem from particular life events and are the determining factors behind the individual's emotions and actions towards other life events, which aid or obstruct the process of development and adaptation (González-Prendes & Resko, 2012).


IPT derives its theoretical themes from the attachment and communication theories (Wurm, Robertson, & Rushton, 2008). The primary implication of the IPT methodology is that the relationships of an individual have an impact on the emotional condition of an individual and the vice versa of this statement stands true as well (Markowitz, Svartberg, & Swartz, 1998). These notions are entrenched in the aforementioned theories as the attachment and communication theories together postulate that the ability of an individual to form interpersonal attachment via appropriate communication modes lends a degree of stability, which the IPT method aims to implement via humanistic application of interpersonal sensitivity to act as support channels for recovery (Brown & Harris, 1989; Hall, Andrzejewski, & Yopchick, 2009). 

Conceptualization of Change:  The conceptualization of change in the CBT method pertains to the recognition of negative thoughts and behaviour as this method believes behaviour cannot be changed directly and needs to be altered via change in thoughts and emotions (Chambless & Ollendick, 2001). Thus, the purported change is conceptualized through collaboration in which the therapist sets out certain skills which need to be acquired to induce improvement and further, aids the consumer in achieving the same by addressing the acquisition process directly in the form of discourse and providing relevant homework (Cully & Teten, 2008).

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