Mike Tyson: A Case Study

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Mike Tyson is one of the most celebrated and notorious professional boxers of all time. Once a ferocious and feared fighter in the ring, Tyson is often remembered by what he did outside of the boxing ring during his career. His violent and aggressive outbursts have drawn in the attention of the media and fans around the world. Tyson grew up in an environment that facilitated his learned behavior of violence and aggression towards other people. The behavioral model of development will show how Mike Tyson was conditioned by other people and his life experiences to behave in an abnormal and dysfunctional lifestyle.

Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30, 1966, to parents to Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Tyson in Brooklyn, New York. Mike grew up with his mother and two siblings after his father left the family when he was two years old. His early childhood offers a good look into the many different ways Mike was affected by conditioning. He was often made fun of as a kid, being a small boy with a high pitched voice made him a social target for kids in the neighborhood. When Mike was around 11 years old he had an incident with another peer that would prove to be a turning point in his development as a man. Mike raised carrier pigeons in his neighborhood and one day an older, larger kid pulled one of the heads off of his birds. Tyson became enraged and beat the boy to a bloody pulp (Heller, 1995). He was surprised at how strong he was and learned from this experience that he could use his strength and rage to empower himself and dominate the people around him. This was to become a dangerous pattern in the life of the man they called “Iron Mike”.

As a young teen Tyson started to run with a group of thugs in the n...

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...n clinical application by role playing situations where Mr. Tyson has ordinarily been unable to produce a normal response. Situations like this could include discussions with family and friends, issues with the media and people Tyson has always had a general mistrust. The addition of cognitive-behavioral techniques could be useful in regards to the anger experienced by Tyson. The likeliness of success for treatment would depend largely on Mr. Tyson’s level of participation and involvement in his own treatment. The outlook for his condition is good as long as he follows his treatment plan, avoids situations where he has had emotional difficulties and uses his new learned patterns of behavior in his daily life.
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