The Behavioural Approach to Explain/Treat Phobias

  • Created by: Camay
  • Created on: 29-01-19 19:50
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  • The Behavioural Approach to Explaining and Treating Phobias
    • Explaining   AO1
      • Phobias are learnt by Classical Conditioning and maintained by Operant Conditioning. This is called the Two Process Model
        • Classical Conditioning: Watson and Raynor (1920) Little Albert study
          • 1. The loud noise made close to his ear (UCS) caused a fear response (UCR)
            • 2. The white rat (NS) did not create fear until it had been paired with the loud noise several times
              • 3. Albert associated the NS with the UCS, and showed fear every time he came into contact with the rat (CS)
                • Little Albert also showed fear in response to other white furry objects
        • Operant Conditioning: Maintenance by negative reinforcement
          • We avoid coming into contact with our phobias by not going to certain places and not doing certain things
            • This reduction in fear negatively reinforces the avoidance behaviour, and the behaviour is maintained
    • Treating     AO1
      • Systematic Desensitisation
        • 1. Anxiety Hierarchy: List of situations related to the phobia put in order from least to most frightening
          • 2. Relaxation: Patient is taught to relax as deeply as possible. They are made to do breathing exercises or meditation
            • 3. Exposure: Finally the person is exposed to phobia while in a relaxed state. This takes place across several sessions
      • Flooding
        • Exposing the patient to phobia without gradual build up. Immediate exposure to frightening situation
    • Treating    AO3
      • (P) A strength of Systematic Desensitisation is that it is very effective
        • (E-E) Gilroy found that 42 patients who had the full treatment it were less fearful that the group that just did the relaxation part
          • (L) Therefore, systematic desensitisation is effective because of its method, making is an effective treatment for phobias
      • (P) A limitation of Flooding is that it is unethical
        • (E-E) It could be very traumatic for people to go through with their fears. It puts them under unnecessary harm
          • (L) Therefore, flooding is not the best way to treat phobias as it may be doing more harm than good
    • Explaining  AO3
      • (P) A strength of the Two Process Model is that it has good explanatory power
        • (E-E) The explanation of how phobias can be maintained has important implications for therapy. Explains why patient needs to be exposed to feared stimuls
          • (L) Therefore, its application to therapy makes it an effective way of explaining phobias
      • (P) A limitation of the Two Process Model is that it is an incomplete explanation of phobias
        • (E) Bounton (2007) - evolution has an important role in phobias
          • (E) Past generations acquired phobias of things that was dangerous. Fears are adaptive
            • (L) Suggests there is more to acquiring phobias than simply conditioning, making this an incomplete explanation of phobias

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