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An Analysis of Stimulus Confrontation as Self-Help for Specific Phobias: A Scholarly and Personal Narrative

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Perhaps by some ingrained sense of human preparedness, phobias are an outlier in the world of conditioning. Again and again, they are highlighted as the only thing which avoidance makes

Perhaps by some ingrained sense of human preparedness, phobias are an outlier in the world of conditioning. Again and again, they are highlighted as the only thing which avoidance makes worse, rather than alleviates. My own fear of insects had reached its most severe level just as I began learning about phobias, and avoidance, in my undergraduate psychology courses. There, I learned that avoidance of the phobic stimulus \u2014 in my case, insects \u2014 seemed to be a fundamental element of maintaining a phobia, and I was more than guilty of it. Following this realization, I endeavored into what I would later come to call Stimulus Confrontation: A self-designed therapeutic course of action to overcome my fear. This thesis, then, is the record of this project. It weaves together my scholarly research on phobias with my own personal narrative concerning the employment of Stimulus Confrontation, beginning with the etymology and proposed etiologies of phobias, followed by an overview of contemporary treatment options available and a recounting of Stimulus Confrontation as applied to my own phobia. Told from her own perspective, English writer and journalist Jenny Diski's book, What I Don't Know About Animals, tells of her own arachnophobia, and includes an honest account of the fear and anxiety it caused for her, as well as her own journey to overcome it. Like my own, Diski's phobia \u2014 arachnophobia \u2014 had come to affect her everyday life. Prior to seeking treatment for her fear at the age of 58, Diski too had learned to avoid the thing which she so feared. Inspired by What I Don't Know About Animals, the personal anecdotes I have included throughout this thesis serve to elaborate upon my personal experience with my own insectophobia, and the cessation of avoidance that led to substantial progress in overcoming my fears. Throughout this thesis, I refer to this cessation of avoidance as Stimulus Confrontation, with the intention that following the same process I did may benefit others in overcoming their own specific phobias.

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  • 2015-12

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Self-Help Mindfulness Group to Increase Mindfulness and Improve Stress Management in Those with Substance Use Disorders

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Stress is the direct source of some health issues and the precursors to many illnesses. The effects of stress are felt by the majority of the population and is usually

Stress is the direct source of some health issues and the precursors to many illnesses. The effects of stress are felt by the majority of the population and is usually undertreated or overlooked as a norm of life rather than a potential source of illness. Though everyone has different thresholds of stress, chronic or constant stress is debilitating for some and can manifest itself in limitless ways. For adults with substance use disorders (SUDs), research supports that mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) could be beneficial for stress management. The techniques incorporated in mindfulness based practices can decrease the baseline stress of its practitioners by increasing their awareness and mindfulness within daily life and during stressful situations.

This increase in awareness and mindfulness has shown numerous benefits that may be crucial in increasing the likelihood of sobriety for those with SUDs. Some of these benefits may include, improved stress management, improved mitigation of craving symptoms, reduced incidences of relapse, and a better quality of life. A 4-week self-help mindfulness pilot program was conducted twice within two separate residential substance recovery settings. The participant’s satisfaction and the internalization of mindfulness concepts were measured within the pre and post implementation of a self-help mindfulness class. In the pilot program, participants rated high satisfaction of the mindfulness class and showed increased levels of mindfulness through the use of the client satisfaction questionnaire (CSQ-8) and the five facets of mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ-39).

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  • 2018-05-01