• Treatment of psychiatric disorders by using psychological methods.
  • Most important method – Behavior therapy.

Behavior therapy:

  • Psychological treatment where patient’s maladaptive behaviors changed to improve quality of life.
  • “Behavior therapy” is generic term – Used to describe a variety of specific techniques intended to remove maladaptive behaviors. 

Techniques of behavior therapy: 

  • Systematic desensitization.
  • Therapeutic graded exposure or in vivo exposure (or exposure & response prevention)
  • Flooding (Implosion).
  • Modeling (Participant modeling).
  • Assertiveness training.
  • Social skills training.
  • Aversive conditioning (Aversion therapy).

Systemic desensitization:

  • Based on “reciprocal inhibition” principle.
  • According to this principle, f anxiety-provoking stimulus provided while a person is in relaxed state, the anxiety gets inhibited.
  • Used in treatment of phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders & certain sexual disorders.

Therapeutic graded exposure or in vivo exposure (or exposure & response prevention):

  • Similar to systematic desensitization except that no relaxation techniques used & real-life situations used.
  • Used in phobias & obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Flooding (Implosion):

  • Patient made to confront feared situation directly, without any hierarchy (as in systematic desensitisation or graded exposure & no relaxation exercises used).

Modeling (Participant modeling):

  • Therapist himself makes contact with phobic stimulus & demonstrates patient.
  • Patient learns by imitation & observation.

Assertiveness training:

  • Person is taught to be assertive (asking for his rights & refusing unjust demands of others).

Social skills training:

  • Involves imparting skills required for dealing with others & living a social life.
  • Used in schizophrenia.

Aversive conditioning (Aversion therapy):

  • Clinical use of classical conditioning principle.
    • An association created between unwanted behavior & painful stimuli —> unwanted behavior ceases.
  • Now rarely used due to ethical considerations.
  • Used for unwanted behaviors treatment (paraphilias).

Indications for behavior therapy:

  • Primarily in anxiety disorders treatment (like phobia, panic disorders).
  • Also used in depression, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, sexual disorders, personality disorders, substance used disorders & schizophrenia.

Exam Important

  • Most important method in psychotherapy is behavior therapy.
  • Techniques used in behavious therapy includes Systematic desensitization, therapeutic graded exposure or in vivo exposure (or exposure & response prevention), flooding (Implosion), modeling (participant modeling), assertiveness training, social skills training & aversive conditioning (aversion therapy).
  • Systemic desensitization is based on “reciprocal inhibition” principle.
  • Systemic desensitization used in treatment of phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders & certain sexual disorders.
  • Therapeutic graded exposure is also referred as in-vivo exposure/exposure & response prevention.
  • Exposure & response prevention is used in phobia treatment.
  • Aversive conditioning is used for unwanted behaviors treatment (paraphilias).
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