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Psychological Methods of Stress

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Stress Inoculation Therapy
Meichenbaum (1985) said that although we can't change
the cause of the stress in our lives, we can alter the way
we think about the stressors
Negative thinking can lead to negative outcomes such as
anxiety and depression
So, positive thinking should lead to positive attitudes and
This should help to reduce feelings of stress
Stress Inoculation Therapy (SIT) is a type of Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy, developed by Meichenbaum
The therapy is a way of learning how to cope with stress
before the problem starts…read more

Slide 3

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Stress Inoculation Therapy Cont.
The main stages are:
Conceptualisation phase: the client and therapist develop a
relationship and the therapist explains to the client the nature and
impact of stress.
Skills acquisition phase (and rehearsal): Coping skills are taught to
the client and practised, at first in a controlled environment and then
in real life. Skills taught include: relaxation, attention diversion, time
management, using social support, positive thinking and positive
thinking. The skills use both cognitive and behavioural techniques
which allows the client to think in a different way and to learn more
adaptive behaviours.
Application phase (and follow-through): the client applies what they
have learnt in different situations which become more and more
stressful. The client may also help to train others and follow-up
sessions are offered later…read more

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Strengths of SIT
SIT was compared with systematic desensitisation as a
method of treating phobias. Both methods reduced the
phobia but SIT was more effective as the techniques
learnt could be applied to other phobias, whereas with
systematic desensitisation only one specific phobia was
treated (Meichenbaum, 1977)
Sheehy and Horan (2004): SIT helped to reduce stress
and anxiety in students. The students also achieved more
in class than had been predicted
SIT provides a way of dealing with future stress-related
problems unlike other methods. Its effects are long-
lasting…read more

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Limitations of SIT
SIT is very time-consuming (although even short
sessions have proven fairly effective)
The process requires a lot of motivation and effort
The process can be expensive due to the number
In some cases, certain parts of SIT which are used
are not necessary- the process could be simplified…read more

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Hardiness Training
Maddi created the Hardiness Institute in California,
it aims to help with people's confidence and sense of
Focussing: the client learns to recognise the biological
symptoms of stress and to identify the sources of the stress
Reliving stress encounters: the client relives stressful past
events and is helped to analyse them so that they can discover
their existing coping techniques
Self-improvement: new techniques are learnt for dealing with
stress. The client is taught to see stressors as a challenge (&
something they have control over) rather than a problem…read more

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