Definiton: An anxiety disorder. instances of irrational fears that produce a conscious advoidance of the feared stimulus or situation.

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Behavioural characteristics

avoiding stimulus or situation completely

freezing or fainting in fear 

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persistant and obvious fear- excessive & unreasonable

anxiety & panic

cured by presence or anticipation of ceratin objects or situations

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irrational thought process 

identify own behaviour as irrational 

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two process model

classical conditioning: phobia is initiated through association

operant conditioning: phobia is maintained via rewarding outcomes when behaviour is repeated 

Proposed by Mowrer

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Systematic desensitisation

-Taught relaxation techniques

- Create desensitisation hierarchy each one causing more anxiety than pervious one.

-Gradually work through hierarchy. Visualiising each anxiety and using relaxation techniques 

-Once mastered each step move onto next one. have to remain in relaxed state.

-Master feared situation 

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Effectiveness supported by research

useful for people who lack insight e.g. children 

there are quicker alternatives 

may suffer from symptom substitution 

vivo techniques rely on imagination may not be effective 

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Taught how to relax muscles

Remain in vivo or vr situation until calm either through using relaxation techniques or adrenaline levels naturally decreasing 

master feared situation 

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relatively quick

effective if done correctly 

may suffer from symptom substitution 

highly traumatic 

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Definition: Mood disorder that makes feel sad and/or lack interest in usual activities 

irrational negative thoughts

raised or lowered activity levels 

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-low mood

-inability to get out of bed



-low self esteem

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feelin guilt-ridden

feeling hopeless & helpless

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Disturbed sleep

lack of energy

change in appetite 

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difficulty concentrating 

continuous low mood or sadness 

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Becks negative triad

1. negative view of self (i am undeserving)

2. negative view of world (its a hostile place)

3. negative view of future (i will always be useless)

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Ellis's ABC model

A. an activating event 

B. an individuals beliefs- rational/irrational]

C. a consequence

The irrational thinking may produce undesirable behaviours

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Musturbatory thinking

thinking certain ideas must be true in order to be happy

1. i must be approved of/ accepeted by people i find important 

2. i must do well or i am worthless

3. world must give me happiness or i will die

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treatments based on cognitive approach are effective 

found people with depression/anxiety do have irrational/ negative thought patterns

faulty thinking may be consequence of mental condition rather than cause 

negative thinking may be realistic & reasonable

blames individuals rather than sitiuational factors

doesnt consider why/how developed faulty thinking

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Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT)

Therapist helps client identify particularly negative thoughts 

challenges negative thoughts by introducing positive incidence 

behavioural component is in setting small achievable goals to boost self-effectiveness

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challenges irrational thoughts & maladaptive behaviour

maintain negative & self defeating themselves how inadequate they are 

client & therapist work together to identify situations that produce negative emotions

Therapist challenges these thoughts 

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Challenging irrational thoughts


D. disputing irrational thoughts

E. effects of disputing & effeective attitudes to life

F. new feelings that are produced

REBT focuses on challenging & disrupting irrational thoughts & replacing them 

- logical disputing: self defeating beliefs dont follow logically from available info

- empirical disputing: self defeating beliefs may not be consistent with reality

- pragmatic disputing: emphasing lack of usefullness of self defeating beliefs

set homework for patient that challenges truth of their irrational thoughts

unconditional positive regard: makes person feel worthy by providing respect & appreciation for client. 

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At least as effective as drugs

Ellis claims 90% success rate for REBT

Gives patient control over own condition 

Can be combined with other treatments 

Individual differences- less suitable for people who are resistant or experiencing levels of stress

CBT only works with drugs

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