Behavioral And Cognitive Approaches In The Management Of Anxiety

Essay by DUNIS September 2006

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Downloaded 168 times

Compare and Contrast Behavioural and Cognitive Approaches in the Management of Anxiety

The Behavioural Model sees the cause of abnormality as the learning of maladaptive habits. It aims to discover, by laboratory experiment, what aspect of the environment produced this learning, and it sees successful therapy as learning new and more adaptive ways of behaving. There are two kinds of basic learning processes that exist: Operant and Pavlovian conditioning. These have generated a set of behavioural therapies.

Pavlovian or Classical therapies begin with the assumption that emotional habits have been acquired by the contingency between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditional stimulus. The formerly neutral conditioned stimulus now produces a conditioned response, which is the acquired emotion. Two Pavlovian therapies, Systematic Desensitisation and Flooding, extinguish some maladaptive emotional habits quite successfully.

Systematic Desensitisation is a behaviour therapy primarily used to treat phobias and specific anxieties. The phobic is first given training in deep muscle relaxation and is progressively exposed to increasing anxiety-evoking situations (real or imagined).

Because relaxation and fear are mutually exclusive, stimuli that formerly induced panic are now greeted calmly. A classic demonstration of this therapy was carried out by Jones (1924). She successfully treated a young boy's fear of rabbits by having him eating in the presence of a rabbit, while gradually bringing the rabbit closer to him over a number of occasions. The encourage of a pleasant response such as eating is incompatible with fear.

In Flooding the phobic is exposed to situations or objects most feared for an extended length of time without an opportunity to escape. In one study, agoraphobics went through several sessions in which they had to go out into the street and walk alone until they could no longer manage. A few such sessions led to a marked improvement as...