- Created by: LydiaMae1401
- Created on: 21-11-19 09:54
Systematic Desensitisation (SD)
- Wolpe developed the SD technique for the treatment of phobias of specific objects e.g. snakes, enclosed spaces.
- Based on the basis that what has been learned (conditioned) can be unlearned.
- Based on classical conditioning. Idea is to replace the anxiety/ fear with feelings of relaxation.
- New response to a phobic stimulus is learned (Phobic stimulus is paired with relaxation instead of anxiety). This is called counter conditioning.
- Impossible to be afraif and relaxed at the same time, so one emotion prevents the other. This is called reciprocal inhibition.
Three main processes are involved in SD:
Techniques are taught to the patient these include:
- Focussing on breathing and taking slow, deep breaths as when we are anxious we breathe quickly so slowing this down helps us to relax. [7/11]
- Being mindful of the 'hear and now' [mindfullness]
- Focussing on a particular object or visualising a peaceful scene.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is also used where one muscle at a time is relaxed.
- At the beginning of therapy, the therapist and the patient create a hierarchy from most to least fearful stimuli.
- SD works by gradually exposing the patient to fearful situations one step at a time. At each stage the client practices relaxation so the situation becomes mroe familar and their anxiety reduces.
- Treatment is successful when the patient can remained relaxed in situations high on the hierarchy.
Step 1: Relaxation techniques are taught.
Step 2: Construct a hierarchy of fear.
Step 3: Start at the bottom of the hierarchy. Practice relaxation techniques.
Step 4: Move up the hierarchy.
Step 5: Eventually the fear of phobia is replaced…