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  1.  Mental Health and illness    





    To test your ability to explain the causes of a particular mental illness from different perspectives within psychology e.g. medical, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and humanistic (Criterion 2.1); and to explain the different approaches for treating a particular mental illness from different psychological perspectives e.g. medical, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and humanistic (Criterion 3.1).
    ESSAY: Please see attached Guidance. WORD LIMIT: Max 1500 words (± 10%)
    2.1. Explain the causes of a particular mental illness from different perspectives within psychology e.g. medical, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and humanistic.
    3.1. Explain the different approaches for treating a particular mental illness from different psychological perspectives e.g. medical, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and humanistic.
    Demonstrates excellent understanding of the different perspectives associated with the area of study.
    makes excellent use of relevant theories with excellent levels of analysis.
    Is structured in a way that is consistently logical & fluent.
    TASK B. – ESSAY (criteria 2.1 and 3.1)
    demonstrate a very good understanding of the perspectives and how this is reflected in the different treatments. You must show your understanding of the relevant theories by explaining them in an objective and succinct manner and clearly relate them to MDD. You will need to present an essay that is structured in a way that is generally logical & fluent, using psychological terminology accurately. Your writing should conform to standard conventions and you will be expected to use the Harvard format for the bibliography with some accuracy and you will be expected to keep broadly to the word limits.
    TASK B – Essay Criteria 2.1 and 3.1
    Discuss the different psychological approaches to understanding and treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).





Subject Essay Writing Pages 9 Style APA


Mental Health and illness     


Mental disorder refers to array of mental health illnesses which impact one’s behavior, thinking, and mood. An example of a mental disorder is Borderline personality disorder which has been discovered to affect the way people feel and think about themselves and others, resulting in problems like abnormal body functioning (Conway et al., 2018, p. 32). Borderline personality disorder consists of a pattern of impulsiveness, extreme emotions, distorted self-image, and unstable intense relationships.  Individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder have intense fear of instability or abandonment, and find it hard to tolerate loneliness. The disorder often arises by early adulthood and may worsen in late adulthood. 

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

Behaviorist Perspective

            Behaviorism looks at how stimuli or environmental factors affect Borderline Personality Disorder. The behaviorist perspective suggests two major processes, namely operant conditioning and classical conditioning, whereby individuals learn from their environment: Behaviorism is quite dissimilar from other perspectives as it views persons as controlled by their environment. Many environmental factors appear to be widespread and common amongst persons having Borderline Personality Disorder, including being a victim of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse or being neglected by the parents (Ronningstam, 2018, p. 210). Other people may also contract the illness due to exposure to chronic distress or fear during childhood or growing up with family members who have serious mental health conditions like bipolar disorders life (Conway et al., 2018, p. 121). It is important to note that an individual’s relationship with his or her family and parents strongly influences what he or she believes about other people and how he or she comes to see the world.

Psychodynamic Perspective

            Sigmund Freud believed that events in one’s childhood are likely to have a momentous effect on his or her behavior during the adulthood. Freud, furthermore, believed that individuals have little free-will to make decisions as well as choices in their lives. Instead, their behaviors are determined by the childhood experiences and the unconscious mind and can lead to mental illness (Conway et al., 2018, p. 45). Therefore, people who suffered higher rates of childhood sexual trauma are likely to develop Borderline Personality Disorder. This is evidence is also supported by Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study findings which established a significant relationship between the type and number of childhood traumas and personality disorders.

Cognitive Perspective

            The cognitive perspective, on the other hand, focuses on the “mental” functions like attention, perception, and memory. Cognitive psychologists assert that memory has three phases including encoding, storage, and retrieval. Any interference with any of the memory stages caused by factors such as anxiety or depression can lead to Borderline Personality Disorder. Furthermore, cognitive theory concentrates on the significance of social learning with respect to personality developments. Dr. Beck explains that there exist a direct relation between the severity and amount of one’s depressive symptoms and negative thoughts life (Conway et al., 2018). It is, therefore, crystal clear that negative thoughts result in Borderline personality disorder. Furthermore, Dr. Beck also states that loneliness created by lack of social interaction can also lead to personality disorders such as Borderline personality disorder.

Humanistic Perspective

            Humanistic perspective studies the whole person and looks at human behavior. Humanistic psychologists are certain that a person’s behavior is associated with his or her self-image and inner feelings. For example, the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from bottom to top includes physiological, safety, love and belongings. Maslow, however, states that persons have to meet first the lower needs before moving to satisfy the higher level growth needs (Conway et al., 2018, p. 32). It is important to note that every individual is able has the desire to progressively move up the hierarchy towards the level of self-actualization; however, progress is usually messed up by the failure to satisfy the lower level needs life (Conway et al., 2018). The failure can be as a result of life experiences such as loss of a job or divorce which can lead to mental illness such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Medical Perspective

            Theorists in the medical perspective, who study behavioural genomics, look at how genes impact behaviour. The biological perspective asserts that most behaviors are inherited and have an evolutionary or adaptive function. The genes one inherits from his or her parents may make him or her more vulnerable to contracting Borderline Personality Disorder.  A study that explored genetic links established that fear, anxiety, and aggression traits play an integral role in borderline personality disorder life (Conway et al., 2018, p. 34). Particularly, research shows that any variation in the gene that controls the manner in which the brain uses serotonin can be associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. It seems that people who have this particular discrepancy of the serotonin gene are more in the offing to develop Borderline Personality Disorder if they as well experienced difficult childhood happenings, for instance, separation from parents.

Approaches for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Behaviorist Perspective

            One of the best approaches for borderline personality disorder is psychotherapy. It involves the patient talking about his or her condition with a mental health provider (Bateman, Gunderson & Mulder, 2015). Psychotherapy plays an integral role as the invalid gets to learn about his or her condition as well as behavior, thoughts, feelings, and moods. With the knowledge and insights the patient gains, he or she can learn stress management skills and how to cope with the condition. Psychotherapy exclusively focuses on behaviors together with feelings and thoughts that may be causing the illness. The behavioral therapy also looks at learned behaviors as well as how the environment impacts the behaviors. Classical conditioning part of the behaviorist approach would enable the patient form association with the stimuli to evoke response, thus doing away with some symptoms of the condition such as intense relationship.

Psychodynamic Perspective

            Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) is the best approach under psychodynamic perspective to treat borderline personality disorder. The approach is a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy which focuses on interpersonal dynamics in patients’ lives as their consequential passionate emotive state (Bateman, Gunderson & Mulder, 2015). The invalid’s inherent inter-personal dynamic emerges as he or she associates with the psychotherapist in the transference, and are conjointly evaluated to solve the split amidst the bad  and good which drive instabilities in relationship. Freud believed that individuals have little free-will to make decisions as well as choices in their lives. Instead, their behaviors are determined by the childhood experiences and the unconscious mind and can lead to mental illness. Therefore, Transference-Focused Psychotherapy mechanism of change happens via assisting a patient accomplish more coherent, integrated, and balanced way of thinking about other people and about oneself.

Humanistic Perspective

Client-centered therapy would play an integral role in treating the disorder. It offers a supportive atmosphere where the patient can re-establish his or her true identity. Client-centered therapy is founded on the notion that fear of judgment averts an individual from sharing his or her true self with the people round him or her, making him or her to instead create a public identity in order to circumnavigate the hypercritical people (Bateman, Gunderson & Mulder, 2015, p. 741). It is important to note that the ability to re-establish his or her true identity can assist the person understand himself or herself. Client-centered therapy aims at producing positive as well as stable changes as it focuses on personal transformation. It also concentrates on the techniques as well as skills which allow a person to become more aware of his or her mood and feelings, because as stated by Maslow life events such as job lose can lead to stress. Therefore, client-centered therapy would focus on giving the patient hope, inspiration as well as motivation.

Medical Perspective

            Under medical perspective, Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) is the best approach that can help treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Mentalization-Based Treatment states that Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms arise when an invalid ceases mentalizing, resulting in patients operating from morbidly certainty about other peoples’ motives (Bateman, Gunderson & Mulder, 2015, p. 740). Mentalization-Based Treatment aims at stabilizing the problems of Borderline Personality Disorder through strengthening the invalid’s capacity and ability to mentalise through the stress of attachments activations. A Mentalization-Based Treatment therapist would adopt an attitude of curiosity to encourage the patient so as to evaluate his or her interpersonal and emotional situation via a more benevolent, flexible, and grounded lens.

Cognitive Perspective

Antidepressant is the best approach under cognitive perspective that can be used to treat borderline personality symptoms such anxiety and depression. Antidepressant can also aid improve symptoms like lack of interest in events or activities, difficulty concentrating, sadness, lack of energy as well as hopelessness (Bateman, Gunderson & Mulder, 2015, p. 736). It is important to note that antidepressants are effective for treating the disorder because they do not cause dependency and are also not addictive. The antidepressants would identify maladaptive reactions, beliefs, cognitions appraisals, and thoughts with an aim of influencing and impelling any destructive negative emotion. The antidepressant works through balancing the chemicals in the brain referred to as neurotransmitters which impact the emotions and moods. The depressions medications can aid improve the patient’s mood, increase concentration and appetite.


In conclusion, Borderline personality disorder, also referred to as BDD, is a personality disorder that affects the way people think about themselves as well as others, which in effect has varying consequences on the body’s functionality. In a bid to understand the causes of this disorder, various psychological perspectives including Behavioural, Psychoanalytic, Cognitive and Humanistic have been applied in the essay. All the four perspectives bring into light how an individual’s environment and people around them, as well as their upbringing affects their way of thinking.

The same approaches could be applied to treat the disorder, but only if one first understands the cause of the BDD. In this line, Psychotherapy, Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP), Client-centered therapy, and Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) are the best approaches that can be employed to treat it.






Bateman, A.W., Gunderson, J. and Mulder, R., 2015. Treatment of personality disorder. The Lancet385(9969), pp.735-743.

Conway, C.C., Hopwood, C.J., Morey, L.C. and Skodol, A.E., 2018. Borderline personality disorder is equally trait-like and state-like over ten years in adult psychiatric patients. Journal of abnormal psychology127(6), p.590.

Choi-Kain, L.W. and Gunderson, J.G., 2016. Borderline Personality and Mood Disorders. Springer-Verlag New York.

Ronningstam, E., 2018. Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Borderline Features. In Borderline Personality Disorder (pp. 163-175). Springer, Cham.




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