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Discuss the Behavioural Approach to Treating Phobias

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Behavioural approach (12 marks) This approach has emphasis of behaviour on environment and how behaviour is enquired and primarily concerned with observable behaviour. The first theory is classical conditioning is learning through association and best explains the development of phobias. The unconditioned stimulus leads to a conditioned response, with a conditioned stimulus leading to a conditioned response. For example, a fear of spiders and associated with another stimulus which creates the phobia. Then there is operant conditioning is learning with rewards and punishments. This theory could leads to anorexia. For instance, if someone losses weight and they are complimented. It?s a reward and they are more likely to repeat it which may lead to eating disorders. ...read more.


This reduces the validity of the approach Support comes from treatments such as systematic desensitisation which can be effective for treating disorders such as phobias but not for complex disorders like schizophrenia. The theory is also reductionistic reduces complex psychopathological problems to simple learning and ignores the influence of biological and cognitive approaches. Treatments The first treatment is Systematic desensitisation. This is when you form of counter conditioning where the therapist attempts to replace the fear response by an alternative and harmless response. This Involves using a hierarchy of increasingly fearful situations. For spider phobias the therapist would ask the personal to list situations from least to most fearful. Therapist trains the client in deep relaxation techniques is the alternative and harmless response which aim to replace fear with relaxation. ...read more.


This aims to associate undeniable behaviour with an unpleasant stimulus. This can be used as therapy for addictive states. Then you pair an unpleasant or punishing stimulus with, for instance smoking or drinking. One way to do this is to make the person feel sick using pills whilst they are smoking. Through classical conditioning the feeling of sickness is associated with smoking and should act to prevent smoking in the future. Assumption of the behavioural approach, that all behaviour is learned through simple conditioning principles, mean that therapy targets these associations. Systematic desensitisation can be very effective in phobias. The success rate 60 and 90% have been reported for spider phobias and blood infection phobias. However there are ethical issues. It can cause the patient intense fear and anxiety. Therefore it?s important to be careful when monitoring them to ensure there are no long term negative consequences for the client ...read more.

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