Behavioural approach to treating phobias

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  • Created by: Magdalene
  • Created on: 26-04-16 15:15

Systematic desensitisation:

Gradually reduce phobia anxiety. The person is cured when they learn to relax in the presence of the phobia

Processes involved in SD:

  • The anxiety hierachy: patient is put in situations to create anxiety (starting from least going to most frighteneing situations) 
  • Relaxation: patient is taught how to relax (e.g. breathing exercises)
  • Exposure: patient is eventually put in the presense of the phobic stimulus when in a relaxed state


Systematic desensitisation is is effective

  • e.g. Gilroy et al (2003) found that his patients became less stressed in the presence of a spider after systematic desensitisation



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