Friday, 12 June 2009

Panic attacks and why desensitisation in behavoural therapy did not work for me.

Remember in my earlier posting I mentioned my adventure with psychoanalysis and the guy who had a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle, the behavuoral therapist is what in physical terms what I would term a pig with lipstick.

As fate would have it, my behavoural therapist resembled a pig with lipstick (no offence intended). . Is it just my bad luck that all the therapists I have ever attended would not make the cover page of Playgirl of Men's Health? Anyway the main idea for treating phobias in behavourial therapy is a mixture of learning relaxation techniques and systematic desensitization. This is how wikipedia describes it.

"Systematic desensitization is a type of behavioral therapy used in the field of psychology to help effectively overcome phobias and other anxiety disorders. More specifically, it is a type of Pavlovian therapy / classical conditioning therapy developed by a South African psychiatrist, Joseph Wolpe. To begin the process of systematic desensitization, one must first be taught relaxation skills in order to control fear and anxiety responses to specific phobias. Once the individual has been taught these skills, he or she must use them to react towards and overcome situations in an established hierarchy of fears. The goal of this process is that an individual will learn to cope and overcome the fear in each step of the hierarchy, which will lead to overcoming the last step of the fear in the hierarchy. Systematic desensitization is sometimes called graduated exposure therapy.[courtesy of]"

I like the pic as it shows for me clearly the fight with a phobia.

So Tuesday's and Thursday's at 8 a.m. in typical German fashion off I went. The idea is to face the actual phobia in increasing degrees until ultimate you are desensitized and your fear or phobia is gone. Coupled with this was learning a type of deep body relaxation and articulating my thoughts. I had always the recurring vision of being inside at the top of a lighthouse. The room was round and in the room was a large cage with a massive ugly bird with no features. I was stuck between the cage and the wall waiting for the bird to attack me. Comments welcome!

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