Discuss applications of learning principles in treatment of maladjustive behaviours.
The principles of learning have great value for enriching human life in all spheres of life. Some of the applications of learning principles in treatment of maladjustive behaviours are as follows:
(i) In the case of those children and adults who exhibit irrational and unfounded fear with accompanying avoidance behaviour, implosive therapy and flooding are used. Implosive therapy starts with the person imagining their most feared form of contacl with the feared object, accompanied by vivid verbal descriptions by the therapist. The therapist functions as a coach. On the other hand, flooding is exposure that ( takes place in vivo. (e.g., with an actual feared object) and is considered to be the most effective of all treatments for fear.
(ii) To help those suffering from excessive anxieties and fears, the technique of systematic desensitisation is used. It is a form of behaviour therapy used to reduce phobic patients anxiety responses through counterconditioning, i.e. an attempt to reverse the process of classical conditioning by associating the crucial stimulus with a new conditioned response.
(iii) In order to eliminate habits that are undesirable and injurious for health and happiness, aversion therapy is used. The therapist arranges things in such a way that occurrence of maladjustive habits generates painful experiences and to avoid them clients learn to give them up. For example, alcohol is paired with an emetic drug (which induces severe nausea and vomiting) so that nausea and vomiting become a conditioned response to alcohol.
(iv) Modeling any systematic use of reinforcement for shaping and developing competence are extensively used.
(v) Persons suffering from excessive shyness and having difficulties in inter personal interactions are subjected to assertive learning. This therapy is also based on the principles of learning.
(vi) There are persons who lose mental peace with accelerated rate of breathing, loss of appetite, and rise in blood pressure at the slightest provocation. In such cases psychotherapists give biofeedback treatment. This technique is based on the interaction between classical and instrumental conditioning. In biofeedback, a bodily function (such as heart rate or blood pressure) is monitored and information about the function is fed back to the person to facilitate improved control of the physiological process.