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Outline and evaluate two methods of stress management

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Introduction

Outline and evaluate two methods of stress management. One physiological method of treatment is Biofeedback. Physiological methods help people cope with the effects of stress by changing the way the body responds to it. With biofeedback the aim is to teach the client how to relax. The person learns how to regulate the symptoms of stress in real-life stressful situations. There are 4 steps involved. Firstly, the person is attached to a machine that monitors the body's response to stressors and then gives feed back on heart rate and blood pressure etc. The person then learns to control these symptoms and reduce the effect that stress has on the blood pressure etc. They may learn to take deep breaths which slows down the heart rate and makes them feel relaxed. ...read more.

Middle

Another advantage would be that it has no side-effects or harmful addictions attached etc. It is also voluntary and not invasive for example in drug treatment withdrawal symptoms may be distressing. Biofeedback can be used for an unlimited time, as it is not addictive in the way that BZ's (for example) can be (as they are only used for a maximum of four weeks to prevent this) so biofeedback is seen as more of a long term cure of stress. However, biofeedback has the drawback of being extremely costly and time consuming. It needs specialist equipment and expert supervision, although attempts have been made to produce a more accessible therapy by using cards - the client would put their thumb on a card and it would measure the stress levels (stressed, tense, normal, calm) ...read more.

Conclusion

They still maintain contact with the therapist so the support and back up is sustained. This method has been shown to work for both short term stressors such as preparing for public speaking, and for long term stressors such as medical illness, stress at work or divorce. However, despite proven effectiveness of such treatments, it can be argued that this type of training would only suit a small band of individuals who are very determined and able to cope with the long term application of this training. Also, the research done into stress inoculation training was done on those who could afford it, like white-collar business men so any results should not be generalised - as this therapy may not be effective for all social groups. Also, it has not yet been applied to other cultures, and procedures are extremely lengthy and costly and require considerable time and effort from both client and therapist. ...read more.

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3 star(s)

Like many student essays, this one stops short of the main point. There needs to be a final analysis and evaluation leading to a conclusion: So which is better - biofeedback or stress inoculation? This could be decided by assessing what advantages and disadvantages they share e.g. lack of side effects, no addiction, costly and time consuming, proven effectiveness. These can then be compared with the differences e.g. biological & behavioural vs cognitive approaches, focus on symptoms vs cause of stress etc. Given this, stress inoculation wins because it does address the root cause - the perception of threat, whereas biofeedback just deals with the biological response. Overall then, 3 stars.

Marked by teacher Jo Wilcox 10/04/2012

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