Description of the Strategy

Flooding procedures can be subdivided according to cues presented (psychodynamic cues vs. symptom-contingent cues). In implosive therapy as originally developed by Stampfl, the therapist presents a complex of conditioned stimuli to the patient without primary reinforcement and without allowing an avoidance response. The therapist tries to maximize anxiety throughout treatment, which eventually leads to extinction. Sessions are continued until a significant reduction in anxiety is achieved. It is essential to the implosive approach that the patient be exposed to aversive stimuli assumed to be underlying the patient's problems (hypothesized-sequential cues). Hypothesized cues are defined as “those which are not directly correlated with symptom onset but which represent ‘guesses’ as to the remaining components of the avoided CS [conditioned stimulus] ...

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