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Operant conditioning hypothesises that with the initial issues starting in university, George may have removed himself from the anxiety causing situation by isolating himself. It was also noted that George kept himself distracted by keeping the TV on. By doing this and also isolating himself, George has negatively reinforced the feeling of reducing the aversive consequences. When his anxiety causing issues redeveloped recently, George has reverted to handling the current problem by isolating himself from his family just like he did in university. Leaving his job and sleeping more can be seen as a distracter from the current problem and therefore linked to his university strategy of leaving the TV on to distract himself (Aeschleman, Rosen & Williams, 2003)
Ego psychology was initially suggested by Freud in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926). The theory was refined by Hartmann , Loewenstein, and Kris in a series of papers and books from 1939 through the late 1960s. Leo Bellak was a later contributor. This series of constructs, paralleling some of the later developments of cognitive theory, includes the notions of autonomous ego functions: mental functions not dependent, at least in origin, on intrapsychic conflict. Such functions include: sensory perception, motor control, symbolic thought, logical thought, speech, abstraction, integration (synthesis), orientation, concentration, judgment about danger, reality testing, adaptive ability, executive decision-making, hygiene, and self-preservation. Freud noted that inhibition is one method that the mind may utilize to interfere with any of these functions in order to avoid painful emotions. Hartmann (1950s) pointed out that there may be delays or deficits in such functions.
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