Personality Theories and Approaches


Case studies are used in psychology to illustrate important concepts or ideas by giving a detailed example of a person’s life or situation in narrative form. Famous case studies in psychology include Phineas Gage (man who in the 1800s lived after he had a metal rod explode through his head) and Genie (child who was discovered in the 1970s who had no language because of an abusive early life). This is a case study of Thomas, a man whose life is described for you to analyze based on some of the personality theories discussed in the course. This will give you an opportunity to apply some of the concepts and ideas learned over the different units to a single case. There is no single correct answer as many different theories will apply to this case. Your task is to discuss
how the personality described can be explained by two of the theories listed below. Do your best to pull out the relevant pieces of the case study illustrating your chosen personality theories/approaches.
Choose two of these theories/approaches:
a) Adler /Horney (Neo-Freudian)
b) Rogers/Maslow (Humanism)
c) Skinner/Watson, Bandura (Behaviorism/social learning)
d) Beck/Ellis (cognitive)
e) Trait/Biological approach.
Include the following:

  1. How might you describe Thomas’s personality? Why does he act the way he does?
    a. Support your description of his personality based on specific examples provided in the case study. In addition, consider how Thomas is doing in terms of personality functioning (is he having problems? Is he doing OK?).
    b. Discuss how your chosen theorists/theories would explain Thomas’ personality. Elaborate in detail about the theoretical concepts and how they relate to Thomas’s personality.
  2. You may notice that there are many ways to explain Thomas’s personality. Give your thoughts on what that means for personality theory in general?

• Incorporate all ideas into your own words.
• 5-7 pages in length, excluding the Title and Reference pages.
• Use at least two scholarly resources to support your ideas.
• The document should conform to APA format, including in-text citations for referenced works.
• Complete your work in a Microsoft Word document.
Be sure to read the criteria by which your work will be evaluated before you write and again after you write.

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