Evaluation of behavioural treatments

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  • Evaluation of behavioural therapies (classical conditioning)
    • Appropriate therapy for treating anxiety disorders
      • Relatively quick in comparison to psychodynamic therapy
      • No side effects
    • Effectiveness
      • McGrath et al (1990) - 75% effective for those treated with systematic desensitization.
      • Systematic desensitization is the preferred therapy for individuals
      • Ost et al (1991) exposed patients to a hierarchy in one session of several hours and found 90% of those with spider phobias seemed to be cured.
    • Effectiveness in treating agoraphobia
      • It is the hardest phobic disorder to treat yet 60-80% are treated
      • However, 50% end in relapse (Craske and Barlow 1993)
    • Combining treatments
      • Systematic desensitization alone was equally effective as behavioural therapy and drug treatment
      • Beurs et al. (1995) found that systematic desensitization combined with medication was the most effective treatment for panic disorder with agoraphobia
    • Symptom substitution
    • Unpredictable effects of therapy
      • cannot anticipate the effects of the therapy
      • Dangerous consequences:hyperventilation, raised blood pressure. Extremely unethical
  • Systematic desensitization alone was equally effective as behavioural therapy and drug treatment

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