An Experimental Analysis of the Efficacy of Anxiety-Relief Conditioning

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One of the newer techniques to be utilized in the treatment of a variety of behavioral disorders is anxiety-relief conditioning (Thorpe, Schmidt, Brown, and Castell, 1964; Solyom and Miller, 1967; Wolpe and Lazarus, 1966). In its theoretical formulation, reciprocal inhibition by anxiety-relief is similar to Wolpe's reciprocal inhibition by progressive relaxation (Solyom and Miller, 1967). Whereas Wolpe's method utilizes Jacobsonian relaxation principles to provide the medium through which anxiety is reciprocally inhibited, the procedure employed in anxiety-relief conditioning utilizes the relief following termination of an aversive stimulus to set an occasion which will permit reciprocal inhibition to take place. Many ... continued below

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iv, 22 leaves

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Vance, Ivan Noel December 1973.

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  • Vance, Ivan Noel

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One of the newer techniques to be utilized in the treatment of a variety of behavioral disorders is anxiety-relief conditioning (Thorpe, Schmidt, Brown, and Castell, 1964; Solyom and Miller, 1967; Wolpe and Lazarus, 1966). In its theoretical formulation, reciprocal inhibition by anxiety-relief is similar to Wolpe's reciprocal inhibition by progressive relaxation (Solyom and Miller, 1967). Whereas Wolpe's method utilizes Jacobsonian relaxation principles to provide the medium through which anxiety is reciprocally inhibited, the procedure employed in anxiety-relief conditioning utilizes the relief following termination of an aversive stimulus to set an occasion which will permit reciprocal inhibition to take place. Many of the problems encountered in relaxation induction and control are thus avoided (Wolpe, 1958; Thorpe et al., 1964). Anxiety-relief conditioning appears to have been successful in patients that previously had been unsuccessfully treated by psychotherapy and chemotherapy for as long as 20 years (Myers, 1957; Thorpe et al., 1964; Solyom and Miller, 1967). Solyom and Miller reported successfully treating six of seven phobic patients who complained of severe depression, difficulty in interpersonal relationships and anxiety attacks when meeting people, as well as excessive fear of crowded places. These patients had an average length of illness of 11.1 years, ranging from 2 to 20 years. Patients were treated for a mean of 19.5 sessions with no evidence of symptom substitution or reappearance of the phobic fear upon follow-up (Solyom and Miller, 1967). Although the authors cited above have all reported case studies of successful therapeutic applications of anxiety-relief conditioning techniques, there have been few experimental studies of the efficacy of this technique. A recent experiment failed to refute the hypothesis that noxious stimulation and/or habituation, rather than aversion-relief, contribute to the beneficial therapeutic effects noted. This study left unanswered the question of which variables contribute to aversion-relief conditioning (Solyom, L., McClure, Heseltine, Ledwidge, and Solyom, C., 1972). The present study was undertaken to further explore the relevant variables in aversion-relief conditioning. It was hypothesized that reduction of fear to a phobic stimulus would be significantly greater among subjects who viewed the phobic stimulus while experiencing the pleasant sensation associated with aversion-relief than among subjects who viewed the phobic stimulus after the effects of aversion-relief had presumably dissipated.

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iv, 22 leaves

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  • December 1973

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  • June 24, 2015, 9:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 30, 2016, 12:17 p.m.

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Vance, Ivan Noel. An Experimental Analysis of the Efficacy of Anxiety-Relief Conditioning, thesis, December 1973; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc663811/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .