Treatments of Dysfunctional Behaviour (Behavioural)

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Behavioural Perspective:

  • behaviour is learnt
  • has very little to do with the individual
  • more to do with situational explanations

Background Information:

  • Behaviours such as phobias can be unlearnt through conditioning
  • Pair the phobic stimulus with a pleasant stimulus or something relaxing = systematic desensitisation
  • McGrath (1990) - successful treatment of noise phobia and how it can be applied to reduce other phobias

McGrath (1990):

Aim: Treat a girl (case study) with a noise phobia through systematic desensitisation

Method: case study that records progress of reduction in noise phobia in one girl

Participant: Lucy, 9 years old, feared sudden loud noises (balloons, party poppers, guns, and fireworks). Lower than average IQ, not depressed, anxious or fearful (psychometric testing)

Design: case study/single-participant design


1. Pps attended the therapy session - parents informed of programme and gave consent

2. first session: pps made hierarchy of feared noises (doors banging, cap guns, balloons)

3. Taught breathing and imagery to


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