Phobias

  • Created by: aryan26
  • Created on: 12-02-19 10:29
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  • Phobias
    • Persistent, irrational fear of an object or situation
    • 3 catagories: specific- of an object. Social- of a situation  agoraphobia- being outside
    • Emotional characteristics
      • Feelings of fear, anxiety and panic
        • Triggered by encountering the feared object or situation
        • Or simply by imagining or anticipating it
      • Level of fear is irrational because it is out of proportion to the threat
    • Cognitive characteristics
      • Based on the process of information processing
      • Aware that the fear is irrational but they cant change it
      • Irrational beliefs about the stimulus or about the inability to cope which increase anxiety
      • Focus of attention can become narrow of the stimulus is present
    • Behavioural characteristics
      • Behave in a certain way- high levels of anxiety- wanting to escape
      • May panic- crying and screaming
      • Main behaviour is avoidance
        • Can interfere with everyday functioning- if have to go to great lengths to avoid it
      • Endurance- remains in the presence of stimulus but experiences high levels of anxiety
    • behaviorist explanation
      • phobias are learned- Mowrer: two-process model
        • caused initially by classical conditioning- maintained by operant conditioning
      • learning through association: pairing a response naturally caused by one stimulus with another
      • maintenance through operant conditioning- responses learned via classical conditioning tend to fade via extinction
        • avoidance of the phobic stimulus is negatively reinforced
          • unpleasant consequence is successfully avoided
            • strengthens and maintains avoidance behaviour
      • supporting evidence- Watson&Rayner- little Albert
        • Dinardo et al- 60% of dog phobics could recall a frightening experience
        • however, in a control group same % reported a frightening
          • some people develop phobias without a frightening experience
          • individual differences pose a problem
      • unable to explain why some phobias are more common
        • Seligman- incorrect in its focus. believed evolutionary factors
          • genetically primed to quickly learn to fear
          • more to explaining than classical conditioning
      • fails to account for cognitive factors
        • but has resulted in effective treatments: if learned via conditioning they can be unlearned
      • treatment:
        • systematic desensitisation:
          • 3- exposed to phobic stimulus- using the relaxation techniques at each stage of the hierarchy
          • 2- deep muscle relaxation- taught breathing exercises and maybe meditation
          • 1-hierarchy of fear- working up from least frightening
          • aims to unlearn a response
          • 4- only progress to the next stage when the patient feels relaxed enough to do so- gradually exposed to the whole hierarchy
          • 5- the client will eventually be able to remain calm when confronted by the phobic stmulus
          • highly effective- McGrath: 75% of patients respond
            • Capafons: when used with aerophobics who had undergone SD reported lower levels of fear and lower psychological signs
              • both perception of fear and bodily fear were reduced
          • Gilroy: long lasting- arachnophobicsless fearful than a control who had only experienced relaxation training 33 months later
          • doesn't work for all phobias nor is it 100% effective
          • generally suitable- requires less effort from the patient: can be used with children and those with learning difficulties
          • no ethical objections- hierarchy only occurs when they feel confident enough
        • flooding
          • worst possible stimulus is identified- taught relaxation techniques then exposed without the possibility of escape
          • eventually fear subsides- partly due to relaxation but adrenaline naturally decreases over time(2-3 hrs)
          • through classical conditioning, a relaxation response is learned which extinguishes fear
          • can be carried in vivo or via virtual reality or imagination alone
          • Wolpe- adolescent girl with agoraphobia: put into the back of a car and drove around for 4hrs
            • at first she was hysterical but was calm by the end
              • highly effective and rapid treatment
              • no data on long term effectiveness
                • other studies show continued improvement for as long as 9 yrs
          • ethical concerns: but Shipley&Boudewyns found only 0.2% of patients experienced side effects
          • mixed evidence compared with SD- Choy flooding to be superior Craske: no difference
          • individuals have to be highly motivated and drop out rates are high- reduces appropriateness
  • systematic desensitisation:
    • 3- exposed to phobic stimulus- using the relaxation techniques at each stage of the hierarchy
    • 2- deep muscle relaxation- taught breathing exercises and maybe meditation
    • 1-hierarchy of fear- working up from least frightening
    • aims to unlearn a response
    • 4- only progress to the next stage when the patient feels relaxed enough to do so- gradually exposed to the whole hierarchy
    • 5- the client will eventually be able to remain calm when confronted by the phobic stmulus
    • highly effective- McGrath: 75% of patients respond
      • Capafons: when used with aerophobics who had undergone SD reported lower levels of fear and lower psychological signs
        • both perception of fear and bodily fear were reduced
    • Gilroy: long lasting- arachnophobicsless fearful than a control who had only experienced relaxation training 33 months later
    • doesn't work for all phobias nor is it 100% effective
    • generally suitable- requires less effort from the patient: can be used with children and those with learning difficulties
    • no ethical objections- hierarchy only occurs when they feel confident enough

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