Classical Conditioning Principles

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In what ways can classical conditioning principles be used to treat problem behaviours in humans?

This essay seeks to present and show how the classical conditioning principles can be used and applied to treat problem behaviours in humans. First the concept of classical conditioning will be briefly defined after which the concept of learning through conditioning will be examined. The paragraph after that will concentrate on defining and presenting the core idea of behavioural therapy. After that three different behavioural therapy types will be presented. The first one will be systematic desensitization, also referred to as exposure therapy, followed by aversion and finally flooding, also known as implosion or implosive therapy.

The fundamental
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He argued that neurotic reactions are under the laws of conditioning and learning just as much as other responses to stimuli. According to him this pattern of learning and conditioning allows the creation of treatment methods that are based on this learning theory (Eysenck, 2013).

Behavioural therapy is a tool for treating unwanted behaviours such as addictions phobias or anxiety disorders. Many of its branches’ derive from classical conditioning principals which are modified in order to create different forms of therapy. The goal of these therapy types is to treat problematic behaviours in order to live better (Boundless,
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The fundamental idea of aversion therapy is to get the patient to associate a bad habit such as addiction to alcohol or drugs to an unpleasant stimulus (Britannica). There are various stimuli that are used to create the conditioning from which two will be presented in this paragraph. The first one is called chemical aversion in which the patient is given a drug that makes him feel nauseous in association with the bad habit. Even if the stimulus is effective, one must take into consideration the possible side effects that the drug can have as well as the fact that people have different reactions to it (Wardlaw, 1979). The second type of aversion therapy is electrical therapy in which the patient is given an electrical shock in association of the problem behaviour. The shock should feel unpleasant but be safe for the human body. Electrical aversion can be argued to be more precise compared to chemical aversion as the electric shocks can be given exactly when the time is ideal and the reactions do not have delays (Arif and Westermeyer,

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