Psychological Methods of Stress Management.

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Although some of the most frequently used psychological treatments to stress management are relaxation and meditation, some experts believe that truly successful management includes intervention whereas the individual is trained to appraise stressful situations differently or to increase the resistance to stress.


  • CBT is cognitive behavioural therapy and is designed to change the way an individual thinks and therefore behaves. 
  • The idea of changing a person's thoughts is based on the cognitive approach to psychology which states problems occur when an individual has faulty/irrational thoughts.
  • The idea of changing a person's behaviour is based on the behavioural approach - the idea that all behaviour is learned and can therefore be unlearned.
  • CBT links these 2 ideas by challenging the faulty/irrational thoughts and teaching patients behavioural techniques such as rewarding desirable behaviours.

Michenbaum devised Stress Inoculation Training - he suggested that stress could be innoculated in much the same way as other diseases and illness i.e. people are trained to deal with large stressors by working on smaller ones - just like a vaccine works. Michenbaum believed although we cannot always change the cause of stress, we can change the wa we think about it. The therapy is different from other stress treatments becaus eit is about developing a form of coping before a problem arises. This is the idea of inoculation against the 'disease' of stress.

  • Stage 1 - Conceptualization:
    • Therapist and client establish a relationship.
    • Client is educated about nature and impact of stress.
    • Client is taught to view stress as problems to be solved and to break down big stressors into small components that can be coped with.
    • This enables the client to think differently about their problem.
  • Stage 2 - Skills Aquisition and Rehearsal:
    • Coping skills are taught and practiced primarily in the clinic then gradually rehearsed in real life.
    • A variety of skills are taught and tailored to the individuals own specific problems.
    • Skills taught include - positive thinking/relaxation/using support systems/time management.
    • Clients may also be taught to use coming self-statements eg. relax, you're in control.
    • The skills taught are cognitive because…


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