Psychological stress management techniques
Psychological stress management techniques try to deal with the root cause of the stress (e.g. the way we think about a stressor). The idea is that if the stressor is removed, then the stress induced symptoms will also be removed.
Stress Innoculation Therapy
Stress Innoculation Therapy - a form of cognitive behavioural therapy, developed specifically to deal with stress. Meichenbaum (1985) suggested that a person should develop a form of coping before the problem arises and 'innoculate' themselves against the 'disease' of stress in the same way they would against infectious diseases. Although we cant usually change the causes of stress in our life, we can change the way that we think about these stressors. Such as negative thinking, may lead to negative thoughts. He proposed three main stages:
Conceptualisation phase: The therapist and client establish a relationship, and the client is educated about the nature and impact of stress. E.g. the client is asked to see threats and a problem to be solved, which enables the client to think differently about their problem.
Skills acquistion phase (and rehearsal): Coping skills which are tailored to the client and their problems are taught which are then praticed in the clinic and then gradually rehearsed in real life. These include positive thinking, relaxation, social skills, using social support systems and time managment. Skills taught are both cognitive and behavioural as they encourage the client to think and learn in different ways.
Application phase: Clients are given an opportunity to apply the new learned coping skills in different situations, becoming more stressful. Various techniques such as imagery, modelling, and role playing may also be used. Clients may also be asked to help train others. Booster sessions are offered later on.
Supportive evidence for the effectiveness:
MICHENBAUM, SIT was more effective as it helps with any phobias, can innoculate against future stressors.
SHEEHY AND HORAN, SIT on anxiety, first year students, participants displayed lower levels of anxiety, effective in the long run.
Positives/Negatives of SIT:
Deals with root cause, work with therapist to identify stressor, after treatment the stressor wouldn't return,
Skills for life, can implamnet skills of their own negative automatic thoughts & challenge them, appropriatness.