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Report on Shirley's case the three treatments, perspectives offered, and the conclusions one came to after discussing the pros/ cons of each form of therapy.

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Psychology Homework Charlene Payne Report on Shirley's case the three treatments, perspectives offered, and the conclusions one came to after discussing the pros/ cons of each form of therapy. Obsessions are recurrent, unwanted and intrusive thoughts or images that the individual feels that they have no voluntary control over. The thoughts experienced are morally repugnant or intensely distressing. The compulsions are the ritualistic actions that the individual feels compelled to perform and repeat many times over. The patient is probably well aware that the compulsive acts are unnecessary. However, they feel that without performing these rituals something dreadful will happen. (In Shirley's case she may have carried out her obsessive thought.) Obsessions increase anxiety levels and compulsions help to reduce the anxiety levels. Cognitive Therapy In our everyday lives, on occasions we may experience unwanted thoughts although we are usually able to dismiss them. In Shirley's case of obsessive compulsive disorder these thoughts have led her to become unbearably anxious. This anxiety coupled with the compulsion to act upon these thoughts; Shirley has obsessive thoughts about harming her two-year-old son and, believes that if she does not check her son regularly then something disastrous will happen. ...read more.


Behavioural therapists aim to break the link between the obsessive thoughts which leads to increased anxiety, and consequential compulsion to check her son and reduce anxiety. Behavioural therapists use several methods for the treatment of obsessive compulsion disorder. It is considered that exposure and response prevention is effective in breaking the link between obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. Exposure and response prevention works by exposing Shirley to some anxiety provoking stimuli. (Perhaps newspaper reports on maltreatment of children.) This should raise Shirley's anxiety to the level that would normally initiate the compulsive behaviour. Shirley would then be prevented from enacting the compulsive behaviour until her anxiety levels reduced. Without the result of anxiety reduction (or the compulsive behaviour) here being the result of negative reinforcement. With this method the link between obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour may be disrupted. Another method of breaking the link is systematic desensitisation. This involves gradually reducing the anxiety levels in a series of stages. In Shirley's case the therapist would limit the amount of times Shirley could check on her son (Perhaps with the use of a baby monitor). ...read more.


Mood is very much implicated in obsessive compulsive disorder so drugs are effective in raising the levels of serotonin which will effect Shirley's mood. As Shirley's mood is causing her to question and doubt her own ability as a parent, which leads to anxiety and the compulsive behaviour. Raising Shirley's levels of serotonin may therefore be beneficial in reducing the moods that lead to obsessional thoughts and consequential compulsive behaviour. The biological therapists raise levels of serotonin to the brain, which is an attempt at tackling the symptoms of anxiety. However, drugs can only treat the symptoms and not the cause of anxiety. It would also be cause for concern if Shirley's body developed a tolerance to the intake of these drugs. Eventually she would need a stronger dosage to achieve the same level of anxiety reduction enjoyed previously. Raising serotonin levels can take up to 12 weeks and failure to take her medication would mean that the obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms would recur. As a therapist for Shirley's obsessive compulsive disorder I would recommend a combination of cognitive and behavioural treatments to overcome her disorder. This is because cognitive treatments tackle the cause of the anxiety and behavioural treatments tackle symptoms of the anxiety. I believe that it is unethical to include biological treatments in tackling obsessive compulsive disorder. ...read more.

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