A hierarchy of fear exposure is established for people to resolve their fear of a specific object or circumstance, by confronting their fears in a way that is regulated and systemic for systematic desensitization purposes. Systematic desensitization is described as a kind of action that is effectively used in psychology to eliminate specific phobia and anxiety disorders. Exposure-graduated therapy may also be named. A South African psychiatrist named Joseph Wolpe developed a counter-conditioning treatment (1947). Systematic desensitization occurs in three steps, which include identification of fear stimulus and where a fear hierarchy will be identified. The second step of systematic desensitization is learning the coping mechanisms a therapist learns such as relaxation techniques, e.g. mediation. The third step of systematic desensitization is to connect the the stimulus that brings fear with the coping method. At this stage, an individual is presented with unpleasant level of the feared object in utilization of deep mediation.
This paper will address acrophobia, fear hierarchy and relaxation procedures associated with acrophobia. Ultimately, the individual with acrophobia will be able to confront his/her fear.
Acrophobia is the most common phobia experienced by people. It refers to the fear that one gets when she/he is on a tall building. This can also be described as the fear of heights. It simply means the fear of heights. Also, the fear hierarchy of the same and provide a relaxation tape will be described.
The first point to consider is the process of establishing a stimulus hierarchy, which includes various types of fear associated with the tall heights. There are many types of phobia that include but are not limited to photophobia (fear for pictures) or glossophobia, which is the fear of the audience. To experience this, an individual will need to go to a very tall building, start walking at the edge and then stop walking as soon as he/she feels any fear. In this way, one can become aware of the fear and stimulus will be established.
The second step entails learning various coping mechanisms of incompatible responses. The patient will be taken through processes of relaxation of muscles to ease the anxiety. This is known as exposure to situational fear, which means that for the second time a person is walking at the edge of a tall building, he/she will be aware of the feelings. The most important thing to do at this stage is to avoid running away as compared to the first time. At this point, an individual makes a choice that he/she is in full control of the situation. Thus, there is no need to develop fear.
The third point is connecting the response to the stimulus above. The therapist should try to associate the stimulus with the failure to relax the muscles. This stage will teach the patient the method of coping with his/fears. The patient will need to practice tensing and relaxing parts of the body until the patient reaches serenity.
Step four involves facing the fears as they are. The patient should put in mind that if he/she doesn’t act, the fears would remain intact. The patient is thus urged to involve in these activities to keep fear away. It is recommended that the patient keeps engaging in this activity continually and persistently.
The last step is connected with practicing, which means turning the learned theory into practice. At this stage, an individual will be able to confront the object of his/her fear repetitively. For instance, when an individual walks up the tall building, he/she identifies his stimulus of fear and then eliminates that fear by learning the coping mechanisms. After that, the patient should be able to get rid of acrophobia.
The fear hierarchy would be as follows:
The patient is taken to the top of stair case. With the eyes closed, he/she should visualize the situation. He/she should place some few blocks in front and walk over them. Then, the patient should climb upstairs till he/she reaches the top of the building and look at pictures of tall building around. The next thing to do is to take him to the real building to be used and have a scene from ground floor. After reaching the building, he/she should be able to climb stairs one by one and do it every day till anxiety expires.
The patient should start at the edge and walk towards the other edge at a distance. The steps should be steady in everything as walking speed is advancing. Breathing very fast at an abnormal rate will uncontrollably worsen the situation. After some time, he/she should walk a bit closer to the edge of the building and do this repeatedly. After practicing this for a long time, the patient will be able to confront his/her fear.
The longer the patient is exposed to the thing you_x0092_re he/she is afraid of, the more he/she will get used to it and feel less anxious when facing it the next time. The more the patient stays at the top of high cliff, the greater will be the likelihood of getting rid of the anxiety. Confidence builds with time. It_x0092_s advisable to reduce steps or speed if an individual is not coping with the stimulus.
Relaxation Script. for systematic desensitization of acrophobia.
Now we are going to tense and relax our muscles of your body….pretend that you are climbing stairs slowly with eyes closed….close both eyes….move up the stairs slowly until you approach no wall….then open your eyes suddenly…….. take a deep breath….and notice the frequency and rate of the heartbeat is reduced……..go down the stairs……then we start again…..close your eyes….climb up the stairs…..go a distance slightly longer than the previous one…climb on top of arranged bricks on top of the building…..open your eyes….notice the frequency and rate of your heartbeat and relax….how do you feel?….repeat the same thing…but this time you go up the stairs…reach the top of the building….climb the edge of the building slowly….slowly….stand at the edge of the building for a while until you are stable…there you go….then open the eyes….notice the rate and frequency of heartbeat…..then relax your legs and the body….remember you are doing it at a slow speed.
for the rest of the times…you are going to increase your speed gradually. Now you are going to come at a moderate speed….with eyes open…..and climb to the edge of the building….then stare down….after this, walk along the edge of the building when relaxing muscles…..relax your toes…don’t shake any part of the body…relaxed?
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