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Chapter 24

Chapter 24

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 24
Fear and Anxiety Reduction Procedures
Problems involving fear and anxiety are described in terms of operant
and respondent behaviors
Fear and anxiety reduction procedures are based on principles of
operant and respondent conditioning, so they address both types of
behavior involved in fear and anxiety problems
Defining Fear and Anxiety Problems
Fear composed of both operant and respondent behavior; typically, a
person is afraid of a particular stimulus or stimulus situation; when
the stimulus is present, the person experiences unpleasant bodily
responses (autonomic nervous system arousal) and engages in escape
or avoidance behavior
Anxiety the bodily responses are respondent behaviors; the
autonomic nervous system arousal involved in anxiety is an
establishing operation that makes it more likely that the person will
engage in escape or avoidance behaviors at that time
Most problems that we would label as fears or anxiety disorders are
characterized by a combination of:
oRespondent behavior, in which the bodily response of anxiety is
elicited by a particular CS, and
oOperant behavior, in which escape or avoidance behaviors are
reinforced by removal of the feared stimulus and reduction in
the unpleasant anxiety
Often it is not known how the CS (the feared stimulus) became
conditioned to elicit the CR of anxiety
oRecall chapter 8 (neutral stimulus becomes a CS when it is
paired with a US or another CS)
In many cases, the person with the fear cannot remember a past event
that may have conditioned the feared stimulus; knowledge of how the
fear was conditioned is unnecessary to help the person overcome the
What is important is to identify all the stimuli that currently function
as CSs and elicit the fear responses (CRs)
Sometimes a problem that appears to be a fear or anxiety problem is
simply an operant behavior with no respondent behavior or fear
oIf it is a fear, you experience the respondent behavior of
autonomic arousal that we call anxiety

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Procedures to Reduce Fear and Anxiety
(1) Relaxation Training
oStrategies that people use to decrease the autonomic arousal
that they experience as a component of fear and anxiety
oThe person engages in specific relaxation behaviors that result
in bodily responses opposite to the autonomic arousal such as
decreases in muscle tension, heart rate, and breathing rate and
warming of the hands
oOnce the person produces these opposite bodily responses, he or
she reports a decrease in anxiety
oA. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
The person systematically tenses and relaxes each of the
major muscle groups in the body
Tensing and relaxing of the muscles leaves then more
relaxed than in their initial state
The person must first learn how to tense and relax each
of the major muscle groups in the body learn this from
Then the client can begin the relaxation procedure:
Get into comfortable position in a comfortable chair such
as a recliner, should be in a quiet room with no
Client closes eyes and tenses and relaxes each muscle
group (start with dominant hand/arm) tense for 5
seconds then release the tension
When the process is complete, the muscles of the body
should be less tense or more relaxed than they were at the
beginning of the relaxation exercise
People often use a cue word when practicing PMR and
then later recite the cue word to help themselves relax
the cue word develops into a CS that elicits relaxation as
a CR
oB. Diaphragmatic breathing
Also called deep breathing or relaxed breathing in which
the person breathes deeply in a slow, rhythmic fashion
At each inhalation, the person uses the muscles of the
diaphragm to pull oxygen deep into the lungs (because
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