He developed his approach because he did not agree with the widely popular psychoanalytic approach to therapy (NACBT, 2008).
Before the 18th century studies and conceptualizations in mental and psychiatric health was still interpreted in terms of the supernatural and the moral notions of human ills (McGuire, n.d). The Rationalist theory, introduced in the 18th century, was later able to establish patterns of thinking. conceptualizations of the social contrast. and other concepts of criminal behaviour, motivation, and morality. Other more scientific rationalizations soon followed. Cognitive psychology was very much rooted in the rationalist theory through Wudt and his colleagues’ studies on sensation and perception (McGuire, n.d). In this instance, the understanding of psychology was very much a cognitive one – later to be known as structuralism because it focused on sensory and perceptual events related to it (McGuire, n.d).
More introspections and innovations among psychologists led to behaviourism. Behaviourism was founded through the writings of John Watson who collected data on behaviour itself and how the organism acted. According to Watson, it is not enough to observe the mind (McGuire, n.d). It is important however to see human behaviour as a result of learning and he points out the teachings and the lessons learned by Ivan Pavlov in his experimentations. More studies on the infra-human species and the concepts of stimulus, response reinforcement, and extinction were also developed. This saw the introduction of BF Skinner’s work on operant conditioning (McGuire, n.d).
The introduction of the behaviourist patterns of therapy did not stop the work of the cognitive therapists. Moreover, their work also focused on memory, perception, and related areas. Their analysis was not in any way related to behaviourists. and their research progressed well in relation to children.