9: Behavior Therapies
abnormal behavior – mostly acq. & maintained w/ same principles as normal
assessment – continuous, focuses on CURRENT determinants of behavior
people = what they think, feel & do in specific situations
treatment – derived from theory & experimental findings of scientific psychology
o methods: precisely specified, replicable, RIGOROUSLY TESTED.
o individually tailored to different problems & different people.
o Goals & methods: mutually contracted w/ client
Research – evaluates effects of specific techniques on specific problems
Outcome – initial induction of behavior change, its generalization to real-life settings,
& its maintenance over time.
Radical: symptom = problem
Behaviorists disagree w/ one another: are self-reports of subjective units of distress
acceptable? Small-n rigorous or large group w/ placebo & no-treatment?
3 C’s of behavior therapy: counterconditioning, contingency mgmt, c-b modification.
* Most therapists work with techniques from all 3 viewpoints.
“Reciprocal Inhibition” – systematic desensitization:
Based on Respondent Conditioning:
Wrote Psychotherapy By Reciprocal Inhibition (1958)
Conditioned fear of buzzer (paired w/ shock)– wouldn’t eat w. buzzer on. Thought maybe he
could use eating to inhibit anxiety – fed cats in cages increasingly similar to the cage where
the shocks originally happened extinguished anxiety.
Use of deep relaxation or sexual arousal to inhibit anxiety, assertive responses to inhibit
Reported >90% success w/ his counterconditioning method THEORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Anxiety causes most behavior disorders (pattern of responses from sympathetic nervous
- phys changes: blood pressure & rate increase, decreased circulation to stomach &
genitals, more to voluntary muscles, pupil dilation, dry mouth.
- can be learned: a response evoked in temporal contiguity w/ a given stimulus &
subsequently the stimulus can evoke the response (but couldn’t before.)
classical respondent conditioning: Pavlovian
generalization: stimuli physically similar to original conditioned stimulus evoke same
response. generalization gradient / anxiety hierarchy.
What about generalized / free-floating anxiety? – Conditioned to fear omnipresent stimuli,
like your body
Anxiety can lead to secondary symptoms like disturbed sleep, impaired memory, tremors,
And then THESE can ELICIT anxiety as well! vicious cycle
Also often AVOIDANCE.
So cuzza these stuffs “Anxiety” is often not the primary complaint.
Also you can have more than 1 anxiety, so fixing your elevator phobia might not cure your
Symptom substitution: myth of ppl who see all behavior as interconnected by 1 underlying
dynamic conflict. Successful elimination of a specific anxiety & specific secondary sx will
NOT new sxs
In vivo desensitization
Graduated homework assignments
Sexual Arousal Sensate focusing
– “Behavior Modification”
- Behavior Analysis
Based on Operant conditioning
THEORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Reinforcements & Punishments
1. Operationalize Target Behavior
2. Identify Behavioral Objectives
3. Measures (behavioral, baseline)
4. Naturalistic Observation
5. Monitor Results
Categories of Contingency Management Procedures:
mutual control / contracting
THEORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY