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PSYB45H3 Lecture Notes - Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation

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Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 24: Fear and anxiety reduction procedures
First, problems involving fear and anxiety are described in terms of operant and respondent
behaviours. Next, procedures used to treat these problems are discussed.
These procedures are based on principles of operant and respondent conditioning.
Fear: composed of both operant and respondent behaviour. Person is afraid of a particular
stimulus or stimulus situation. Person experiences unpleasant bodily responses, autonomic
nervous system arousal.
Anxiety: bodily responses(automatic arousal) that are called respondent behaviours. It is an
establishing operation that makes it more likely that the person will engage in escape or
avoidance behaviour at that time.
Example: fear of dogs
oRunning away from a dog or avoiding places where dogs are located -- operant behavior
oRapid heart rate, increased muscle tension and other bodily responses are elicited by the
sight of a dog -- respondent behavior
Procedure to reduce fear and anxiety:
Three components involved in all relaxation training procedures:
Muscle tension reduction
Relaxed breathing
Attention focusing
oRelaxation training Procedures:
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): the person tenses and relaxes each of the
major muscle groups in the body. Tensing and relaxing the muscles leaves them
more relaxed than in their initial state.
Diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing) : the person breathes deeply in a slow,
rhythmic fashion.
Attention-focusing exercises: produce relaxation by directing attention to a neutral
or pleasant stimulus to remove the persons attention from the anxiety-producing
stimulus. Examples are meditation, guided imagery, and hypnosis all produce
relaxation through a mechanism of attention focusing.
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