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Associative Learning and Conditioning TheoryHuman and Non-Human Applications$
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Todd R. Schachtman and Steve S. Reilly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735969

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735969.001.0001

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Behavioral Techniques to Reduce Relapse After Exposure Therapy

Behavioral Techniques to Reduce Relapse After Exposure Therapy

(p.79) Chapter 4 Behavioral Techniques to Reduce Relapse After Exposure Therapy
Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory

Mario A. Laborda

Bridget L. McConnell

Ralph R. Miller

Oxford University Press

Pavlovian phenomena have long served as models for the etiology, treatment, and relapse from treatment of diverse disorders (e.g., phobias, addictions). Here, the chapter briefly reviews Pavlovian conditioning models of anxiety disorders, experimental extinction models of exposure therapy, and recovery from extinction models of relapse following exposure therapy. It then focuses on how research on experimental extinction has led to the development of specific behavioral techniques to reduce recovery from extinction and hence relapse from exposure therapy. These techniques include conducting extinction treatment in multiple contexts, giving a massive amount of extinction, increasing the time between extinction trials and between extinction sessions, administering extinction in the presence of a second excitor, and testing in the presence of a retrieval cue from extinction. It is concluded that these behavioral techniques, all of which were discovered in the experimental laboratory, are potent and important tools to be considered by psychotherapists trying to make their patients less susceptible to relapse.

Keywords:   Pavlovian conditioning, extinction, renewal, spontaneous recovery, exposure therapy, relapse

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