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Psychological methods of stress management
STRESS INOCULATION THERAPY
Michenbaum suggested that we can change the way we think about stress even if
we can't change the cause of the stress. SIT is a cognitive behavioural therapy
designed specifically to deal with stress.
3 main phases:
Conceptualisation The therapist helps the individual to identify their stressors and
how they respond to these and how successful these responses have been. Patterns
of selfdefeating internal dialogue (i.e. negative thoughts) are identified.
Skill acquisition and rehearsal The therapist teaches the client coping skills that
may be general or event focused. For example replace negative thoughts with
positive ones.e.g statements like, `relax, you are in control' etc.
Application and follow through The client applies what they have learned to real
life situations. Various techniques could be used such as imagery, role play,
modelling etc. Booster sessions are offered later on.
Effectiveness Michenbaum compared SIT to systematic desensitisation. Compared
clients who had experienced one or the other. Both were effective but SIT helped
clients deal with a second phobia. This suggests that can help against future
Preparation for future stressors This gives the client the skills and confidence to
deal with future stressors. It focuses on skill acquisition, providing longlasting
effectiveness so the individual is less affected by stressors in the future.
Time consuming and high motivation SIT requires alot of time, motivation and effort
Unnecessary complex May be that the effectiveness is due to certain parts of the
therapy and not all of it. The time could be reduced without losing the effectiveness.
E.g just learning to talk more positively and relax more could be just as effective.
How to teach hardiness?
Maddi and Kobasa introduced this training. The aim was to increase self confidence,
self confidence and to make the person more successful.
Focusing client is taught to recognise biological signs of stress eg muscle tension
and increased heart rate. Also taught to recognise the source of the stress.
Reliving stress encounters client relives the stressful situation and is helped to
analyse the situation. Identify their current coping strategy and how it can be more
Selfimprovement the insight gained now helps them to move forward and learn
new ways of dealing with stress. They are taught to see the stressor as a challenge
which they should take control of.
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The student support service at Utah valley state college offered hardiness training to
their at risk students. The training helped them to stay in and graduate from the
school. They developed themselves personally and professionally.
Hardiness training has been effectively by UK Olympic swimmers to ensure that they
are committed to the challenge of increased performance levels.…read more