4 Chief Techniques used by the Behaviourists in Building up New Habits for Behavior Counselling



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Dent treated alcoholics by giving them a drug that produces extreme nausea when mixed with alcohol in the stomach.

The people were encouraged, in fact, instructed to drink, and each time they did they became violently sick. Gradually they began to feel sick everytime they even saw a bottle of whisky.

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3. Desensitisation:

It is another technique for reducing irrational behaviour. In this technique, if a client has described several anxieties producing situations, those situations are ranked from the lowest to the highest in terms of disturbance. The client is instructed in relaxation technique.

When this is accomplished each anxious situation is presented starting with the one that produces the least anxiety.

As the situation is recalled by the client he is reinforced by the relaxation process until there is no anxiety. Behaviourists have used decentralisation to cure phobias about snakes, heights, closed rooms and sex.

4. Reciprocal Inhibition:

There are individuals who feel anxious and unhappy most of the time. Wolpe feels behaviourists can treat diffused anxiety.

Here the therapist establishes a hierarchy, from the least to the most anxiety provoking situations. Next he teaches the client to clear his mind, release tense muscles and relax.

In some cases, he may use drugs or mild hypnosis to produce relaxation. Once the client has mastered the technique of deep relaxation, they begin at the bottom of his anxiety hierarchy.

The therapist asks the person to imagine the least threatening scene and to signal when he begins to feel tense.

At the signal, the therapist tells him to forget the scene and concentrate on relaxing. After a short period, he instructs him to return to the scene. This process is repeated until the person feels completely relaxed.

Gradually they move up the list until the client is able to imagine the situation he most feared without anxiety.

Wolpe is of the opinion that the clients learn to inhibit anxiety responses with incompatible, deep muscle relaxation.

It is obvious that the success of behavioural counselling depends upon the following:

(i) Establishing a valid hierarchy by the client and the therapist;

(ii) Discovering an adequate reinforce (cooper ant conditioning) by the therapist; and

(iii) Lack of counter conditioning outside the therapy sessions.

Some psychologists are critical of behavioural counselling. They feel that by concentrating only on behaviour, it presents an over-simplified version of human psychology.

These psychologists feel that an individual’s mental behaviour is just as important in therapy as his overt behaviour.

It is also felt that the behavioural counselling is symptom- oriented. Effort is made to smother the neurotic symptoms, no effort is made to remove the conflict that caused them. There is always a danger of the client relapsing into his original condition.

Wolpe defends his approach with follow-up studies of 249 people he treated for neurotic problems, only four developed new symptoms.

Guidance and Counselling: Individual Situations:

We have stated earlier that every action or behaviour pattern of the individual affects his image and status, which in other words career. Similarly various situations in human life do have a bearing on the career of the individual.

Counselling as a component of guidance helps individuals to face the situations effectively so that their adverse effect on the personality or to say career of the individual is minimised or negativities and the career of the individual gets a boost.

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