Aversion Therapy

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  • A type of therapy based on aversion conditioning, in which nausea, painful electrical shocks, or other unpleasant stimuli are paired with a behavior or habit that one aims to extinguish. Aversion therapy relies on behavioral therapy approaches, with the central tenet of aversion therapy being that behaviors can be unlearned through conditioning techniques. Just as behaviors are learned through their pairing with pleasant consequences (or rewards), behaviors can be unlearned through their pairing with unpleasant consequences (or punishment). Behavioral therapy has been used most commonly to treat smoking, gambling, substance use dis orders, and paraphilic behavior. For more information, see Flor, Birbaumer, Hermann, Ziegler, and Patrick (2002).

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