Louis had a fear of going to the dentist. He had not gone for 3 or 4 years. He avoided making appointments; the last time he had an appointment, he did not show up for it. Louis went to a psychologist, who used systematic desensitization with him. They developed a hierarchy of scenes related to going to the dentist. Louis learned relaxation skills and relaxed himself as the psychologist described each scene in the hierarchy. After six sessions of systematic desensitization, Louis was able to relax himself as he imagined sitting in the dentist’s chair and submitting to dental work. After Louis could stay relaxed while imagining the dental treatment, the psychologist told him that they were done with treatment.
What is wrong with the use of systematic desensitization in this case? How could it be improved?
Garth was a freshman at a university. He came from a small town and was not used to crowds of people. At parties or other large gatherings, he was nervous and uncomfortable. His muscles were tense, his heart beat faster, and sometimes his stomach felt upset. He stayed at parties for a while, but he felt better once he left. Garth decided to see a counselor about his anxiety. The counselor told Garth he needed to learn relaxation skills and gave him an audiotape with instructions for progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). The counselor told Garth to listen to the tape and he would be more relaxed at parties.
What is wrong with the use of PMR in this example? How could it be improved?
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