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26 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What does desensitization of Fears use?
Uses reciprocality and extinction
What assumption does desensitization of fears rely upon?
Based upon assumption that if CS is presented w/o US, the CR will extinguish
Why doesn't extinction occur?
fear is so strong person avoids exposure to CS so extinction does not occur
How would you desensitize a fear?
Have person experience an emotion that is reciprocally inhibitory to anxiety (e.g., relaxation) and gradually bring in CS in very small steps.
What allows exposure to CS so extinction of fear CR to occur?
a written agreement between two parties in which one or both parties agree to engage in a specified level of a target behavior(s)
behavioral contract
one person seeks to change a target behavior and arranges reinforcedment or punishment contingencies with a contract manager who implements the contingencies
one party contract
(also known as a bilateral contract) both parties identify target behaviors forchange and the contingencies that will be implemented for the target behaviors. it is written between two people who have some relationship with each other.
two party contract
one thing is given in return for another
quid pro quo contract
a separate contingency is establish for each person's target behaviors rather than making one person's target behavior the consequence for the other person's target behavior. separate contingency for each person's target behaviors.
parallel contract
types of contingencies in a behavioral contract
+ reinforcement
- reinforcement
+ punishment
- punishment
components of a behavioral contract
1. identifying target behavior
2. stating how the target behavior will be measured.
3. stating when the behavior must be performed
4. identifying the reinforcement or punishment contingency
5. identifing who will implement the contingency
What are the 3 stages of Systematic Desensitization?
Stage 1
Training in deep muscle relaxation

Stage 2
Construction of anxiety hierarchy (ies)

Stage 3
Progression through hierarchy
A list of stimuli on a common theme ranked in descending order according to the amount of anxiety they evoke.
Anxiety Hierarchies
Anxiety heirarchies have data from...and can be...
Data from:
The client’s history
Willoughby Questionnaire – which reveals anxiety in certain interpersonal contexts
Fear Survey Schedule
Special probings into all possible situations in which the patient feels unadaptive anxiety

...Classify into themes (if require more than one)
Procedural Issues
Some people have difficulty learning relaxation

Hierarchy must be appropriate for client’s fear

Inclusion of irrelevant items or omission of relevant ones

Rate of progression through hierarchy
Poor Candidates for Systematic Desensitization
People with multiple fears

People who have difficulty with imagery (obsessives, psychotics, etc.)

People whose problem is based in a genuine skill deficit

Where secondary gain is involved
When SD in Vivo is Not Possible
When cannot present the CS (e.g., fear of eternal damnation, death)


If fear is too intense. Can start with imaginal first, then run in vivo if necessary
Involves presenting the CS at full intensity from the outset

Sometimes referred to, or involves, response prevention (the response prevented is escape)

Usually done in vivo

Works because most important feature is there: exposure to the CS

Works but easier to “sell” SD so not used as often
In order for extinction of avoidance responses to occur, the patient must be prevented from performing the avoidance behavior, if only in imagination, and forced to experience the intense anxiety in the absence of any real aversive consequences

Always done in imagination

Only “behavioral” technique which has psychodynamic theory associated with it -- Avoidance behaviors are caused by childhood traumas

Imagery is directed toward the usual conflict areas that the therapist, from previous experience knows concern most individuals

Research on effectiveness is mixed
Attempt to develop conditioned aversion to positively reinforcing stimuli by pairing them contiguously with negative experiences.

This is a classical conditioning paradigm. Here we try to alter the valence of the stimulus by contiguously pairing it with an aversive stimulus.

Based on idea that an object or an activity that is repeatedly associated with aversive experiences acquires some of the negative properties of the aversive stimulus
Aversive Counterconditioning
Pharmacological agents
Electrical stimulation
Unconditioned Stimuli in Aversion Therapy
In vivo
Conditioned Stimuli in Aversion Therapy
Is process governing conditioned aversion
automatic or self-control?

Avoidance responses established in this manner are typically reinforced by supplementary conditioning trials at monthly intervals for first year

Build other, competing, appropriate behaviors

Generalization and follow-up problems:
discrimination between lab and real life situations
Issues in Aversion Therapy
Based on empirical, cumulative research

Can demonstrate and replicate effectiveness

Can demonstrate accountability

Principles relatively easy to understand and to
teach to nonprofessionals

Cost effective and short-term

Can be used with severely handicapped populations for whom traditional treatments are unsuitable
Advantages of Behavior Modification
Enhancing generalization

Development of comprehensive treatments

Individualization of treatment

Focus on functional analysis and antecedent control

Development of alternatives to aversives

Social validation

Dissemination and acceptance
Current Trends and Issues in Behavior Modification