Behaviourist treatments of phobias

  • Created by: Georgia
  • Created on: 06-05-19 16:11
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  • Behaviourist treatments of phobias
    • Systematic desensitisation
      • 1) Develop hierarchy of fear
      • 2) Taught relaxation techniques
      • 3) Gradually complete hierarchy
      • Reciprocal inhibition - anxiety and relaxation cannot co-exist
      • In vivo - physical contact with stimulus
      • In vitro - imagined completion of hierarchy
    • Flooding
      • Immediate exposure to phobic stimulus
      • 1) Patient immediately exposed so stimulus is unavoidable
      • 2) Initially overwhelmed; subsides due to reciprocal inhibition
      • 3) Anxiety drops; extinction of phobia
    • SD Evaluation
      • Patient is in control so they can go at their own pace
        • Low refusal and attrition rates
      • Suitable for a wide range of patients, inc. elderly and children
      • Much slower process than flooding
      • Only treats symptoms which can increase risk of relapse
      • Needs multiple sessions so not cost-effective
    • Flooding evaluation
      • Cost-effective and needs less time (only one session)
      • Wolpe (1973) PPs w/ driving phobia, initially highly anxious but calmed when they realised they were safe
      • Could enhance phobia instead instead of removing it
      • Unsuitable for children, disabled, elderly
      • Unethical due to extreme stress levels


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