The following are five behavioral techniques;
(a) Systematic Desensitization (b) Shaping (c) Grandma’s Rule (d) Token Economies (e) Time Out
The rational behind these techniques: Behavioral techniques are based on an educational model. Behavioral techniques based on the scientifically supported assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, the goal of these techniques is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and to learn a new way of reacting. Therefore, behavioral techniques have nothing to do with "just talking". People can "just talk" with anyone. The educational emphasis of behavioral techniques has an additional benefit -- it leads to long term results. When people understand how and why they are doing well, they know what to do to continue doing well. Behavior therapy or behavior modification, in psychology, is the treatment of human behavioral disorders through the reinforcement of acceptable behavior and suppression of undesirable behavior. The technique had its roots in the work of Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist who observed that animals could be taught to respond to stimuli that might otherwise have no effect on them. B. F. Skinner developed the technique in the United States, using positive or negative rein forcers to encourage desirable behavior and punishments to discourage undesirable behavior. Behavior therapists believe that, in many cases, behaviors can be learned or unlearned through basic conditioning techniques; unlike traditional psychoanalysis, the method has little regard for the unconscious processes underlying personality disorders. Behavior therapy uses such techniques as aversive conditioning, where unwanted habits are paired with unpleasant stimuli, and systematic desensitization, where a stimulus that causes anxiety is paired with a pleasant one.
(a) Procedure of Systematic Desensitization: Systematic desensitization is a technique used to treat phobias and other extreme or erroneous fears based on principles of behavior modification. Systematic desensitization is used to help the client cope with phobias and other fears, and to induce relaxation. In progressive relaxation, one first tightens and then relaxes various muscle groups in the body. During the alternating clenching and relaxing, the client should be focusing on the contrast between the initial tension and the subsequent feelings of relaxation and softening that develop once the tightened muscles are released. After discovering how muscles feel when they are deeply relaxed, repeated practice enables a person to recreate the relaxed sensation intentionally in a variety of situations. After learning relaxation skills, the client and therapist create an "anxiety hierarchy." The hierarchy is a catalogue of anxiety-provoking situations or stimuli arranged in order from least to most distressing. For a person who is frightened by snakes, the anxiety hierarchy might start with seeing a picture of a snake, eventually move to viewing a caged snake from a distance, and culminate in actually handling a snake. With the therapist's support and assistance, the client proceeds through the anxiety hierarchy, responding to the presentation of each fearful image or act by producing the state of relaxation. The person undergoing treatment stays with each step until a relaxed state is reliably produced when faced with each item. As tolerance develops for each identified item in the series, the client moves on to the next. In facing more menacing situations progressively, and developing a consistent pairing of relaxation with the feared object, relaxation rather than anxiety becomes associated with the source of their anxiety. Thus, a gradual desensitization occurs, with relaxation replacing alarm. Several means of confronting the feared situations can be used. Specific phobias are one class of mental illness often treated through the behavior therapy or cognitive-behavioral process of systematic desensitization. When individuals possess irrational fears of an object, such as height, dogs, snakes, and close spaces, they tend to avoid it. Since escaping from the phobic object reduces their anxiety, patients’ behavior to reduce fear is reinforced through negative reinforcement, a concept defined in operant conditioning. The goal of Systematic Desensitization is to overcome this avoidance pattern by gradually exposing patients to the phobic object until it can be tolerated. This will be challenging for the patient at first to deal with the fear, but gradually, most will overcome this fear. In classical and operant conditioning terms the elicitation of the fear response is extinguished to the stimulus (or class of stimuli).
Merit and Demerit: Research has shown that systematic desensitization can be effective for any phobia, with the following considerations: Systematic desensitization is more effective for Specific Phobias than for disorders involving “free-floating” anxiety, such as Social Phobia or Agoraphobia. Successful outcome of systematic desensitization is more likely when skill deficits are not causing the anxiety. That is, if you develop anxiety about taking exams in school, and if you have a tendency not to study or do your homework, your anxiety is probably the result of not knowing the material; systematic desensitization may not be of much help in such a case. But if you know the material “backwards and forwards” and develop anxiety, then systematic desensitization might be used to desensitize you to performance fears. The effectiveness of systematic desensitization does not appear to depend on the intensity of your anxiety, the duration of your anxiety, or on whether the anxiety was acquired suddenly or gradually. Some evidence suggests that systematic desensitization may not be as effective in treating anxieties that could have an underlying evolutionary survival component—such as fear of the dark, fear of heights, or fear of dangerous animals—as in treating phobias that have been acquired from personal experience. Systematic Desensitization is ineffective in psychosis disorders.