Systematic desensitization is a type of behavior therapy used to help people overcome phobias and other anxiety disorders. It involves gradually exposing a person to the object or situation they fear, while teaching them relaxation techniques to manage their fear and anxiety. Flooding, on the other hand, is a type of exposure therapy that involves exposing a person to the object or situation they fear all at once and for a prolonged period of time. It is a more intensive form of exposure therapy, and can be more effective in some cases, but can also be more difficult for people to manage.

Flooding (psychology)

form of behavioral therapy

floodssometimes referred to as in vivo exposure therapyit’s a way of behavioral therapy and desensitization-or exposed therapy– based on the principles of respondent conditioning. As a psychotherapeutic technique is used to treat phobia and anxiety disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder. It works by exposing the patient to his painful memories, with the aim of reintegrating his repressed emotions with your current consciousness. The flood was invented by psychologist Thomas Stampfle in 1967. It is still used in behavioral therapy today.

Flood is a psychotherapeutic method for overcoming phobias. To demonstrate the irrationality of the fear, a psychologist would put a person in a situation where he would face his phobia. Under controlled conditions and using psychologically proven relaxation techniques, the subject tries to replace his fear with relaxation. The experience can often be traumatic for a person, but it may be necessary if the phobia is causing significant disruption in life. The advantage of flooding is that it is fast and generally effective. There is, however, the possibility that a fear could occur spontaneously. This may be less likely with systematic desensitizationanother form of a classic condition procedure for eliminating phobias.

How it works

“Flooding” works with the principles of classical conditioning or respondent conditioning-A way of pavlovin classical conditioning— where patients change their behaviors to avoid negative stimuli. According to Pavlov, people can learn through associations; therefore, if someone has a phobia, it is because they associate the feared stimulus with a negative result.

Flooding uses a technique based on classical Pavlovian conditioning that uses exposure. There are different forms of exposure such as imaginary exposure, virtual reality exposure, and in vivo exposure. Whereas systematic desensitization can use these other types of exposure, flooding uses in vivo exposure, actual exposure to the feared stimulus. A patient is confronted with a situation in which the stimulus that provoked the original trauma is present. The psychologist usually offers very little assistance or reassurance beyond helping the patient use relaxation techniques to calm down. Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation are common in these types of classical conditioning procedures. The theory is that the adrenaline and fear response has a time limit, so a person must eventually have to calm down and realize that their phobia is unwarranted. Flooding can be done through the use of virtual reality and has been shown to be quite effective in patients with a phobia of flying.

Psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe (1973) performed an experiment that demonstrated flooding. He took a girl who was afraid of cars and drove with her for hours. Initially the girl was panicked, but she eventually calmed down when she realized her situation was safe. From then on, she associated a sense of ease with cars.[citation needed] Psychologist Aletha Solter used floods successfully with a 5-month-old baby who showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress after surgery.

Flood therapy is not for everyone, and the therapist will discuss with the patient the levels of anxiety they are prepared to endure during the session. It may also be true that exposure is not for all therapists and therapists seem to avoid using the technique.

See too

References


Source: Flooding (psychology)
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