Psychopathology AS


Behavioural Approach to Phobias

Types of Phobias:

-specific = object/situation

-social = social situation

-agoraphobia = public spaces


-Behavioural = Panic/Endurance/Avoidance  PEA

-Emotional = Anxiety

-Cognitive = Selective attention/Irrational Beliefs/Cognitive Distortions  SIC

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Behavioural approach to explaining Phobias

2-Process Model:

Mowrer(1960) - based on behavioural approach - phobias acquired by classical conditioning and     maintained by operant conditioning. Classical Conditioning: Watson and Rayner(1920) - 'Little Albert' - conditioned Albert to show fear of a white rat by                                                            associating it with loud noise. Conditioning generalised to similar                                      objects such as a non-white rabbit and a santa beard. Operant Conditioning: - Individual avoids unpleasant situation = negative reinforcement - avoidance results in desirable consequence of escaping anxiety = positive reinforcement

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B.A to explaining Phobias +/-

+      Application:

  •   useful in therapy to stop avoidance behaviour

-       Incomplete Explanation:

  •    Bounton (2007) - Evolutionary factors
  •    Seligman (1971) - Biological preparedness

-        Not all Phobias follow Trauma:

  •     many phobias do not follow trauma
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B.A to treating Phobias - S.D with +/-

Systematic Desensitisation:

- Behavioural therapy designed to gradually lower anxiety

- Counterconditioning = C.C to learn a new response to phobic stimulus

- Reciprocal Inhibition = can't be afraid and relaxed at the same time

1) Anxiety Hierarchy                               2) Relaxation                            3)Exposure

+    Effective 

+    Acceptable to Patients

+    Suited to many people  (disabilites, etc)

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B.A to treating Phobias-Flooding +/-


-Immediate exposure to an extreme form of phobic stimulus

-1 long session

- Stops phobic response very quicky as there is no option of avoidance behaiour - extinction

- Can be unpleasant so needs full informed constent

+   Cost Effective

-    Traumatic

-    Not effective for all phobias (social phobias have more cognitive aspects)

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Types of Depression:

- Major depressive disorder = severe but short term

- Persistent depressive disorder = recurring

- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder = childhood temper tantrums

- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder = prior to / during period


Behavioural = Aggression/Activitylevels/Disruption to Sleep and Eating   

Emotional = Anger/Low mood/Low self-esteem    ALL

Cognitive = Poor Concentration/Absolutist thinking/Negative dwelling       PAN

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