Treatments of Dysfunctional
Biological / medical
The biological /medical approach
 The medical approach has several
interventions in mental health including
ECT electro convulsive therapy, surgery
and most commonly use of drugs.
 Karp and Frank1995 studied the effects of
drug therapy on depression compared to
non medical interventions.
Karp and Frank 1995
 They reviewed research on depression in
 Some patients had drug treatments, others had
one psychological treatment, others combined
treatments and other placebo treatment.
 Depression was measured using depression
inventories (psychometric tests) both before,
after and sometimes during the treatments
Karp and Frank 1995
 Findings:
 Many studies found that adding psychological
treatments to the drug therapy did not increase
the effectiveness of the drug therapy.
 Occasionally studies did show less attrition
when combined therapies were used (people
were more likely to continue with treatment if
cognitive therapy was given with drug therapy).
Karp and Frank 1995
 Conclusions:
 The evidence is that there is no improved
effect when given combined therapy as
compared to only drug therapy.
 Drug therapy is an effective way to treat
Behavioural treatments
 McGrath 1990 effective
treatment for noise phobia (you
need to be able to explain
classical conditioning theory if
this is a question in an exam)
 A case study of the treatment
of a 9 year old girl who had a
fear of sudden noises including
poppers, fireworks, balloons
etc. She had a lower than
overage IQ but was not
depressed, anxious and fearful
on psychometric tests so only
had one specific phobia.
McGrath and noise phobia
 Lucy was brought to therapy sessions and
at first heard a hierarchy of noises ranging
from doors banging to balloons and
unexpected party poppers.
 Lucy was taught breathing and imagery to
relax and was told to imagine herself at
home on her bed with her toys. She also
had a pretend fear thermometer to rate her
level of fear from 1 – 10.
McGrath and noise phobia
 She was given a stimulus of noise and told to
pair the stimulus with her relaxation and deep
breathing and imaging being at home with her
toys. After 4 sessions she learned to feel calm
when the noise was presented.
 Findings: at the end of the first session Lucy
cried and had to be taken out when a balloon
popped. At the end of the session Lucy was able
to pop the balloon herself. This progess
continued with party poppers and guns etc.
McGrath and noise phobia
 By the 10th session Lucy’s fear thermometer had
gone from 7/10 to 3/10 for balloons popping.
 The researcher concluded that noise phobias in
children as susceptible to systematic
desensitisation. Important factors seems to be
giving Lucy control over the fear response to say
when and how the noises were made and then
to use inhibitors of the fear response such as
relaxation and a playful environment.
 YouTube - Beating Phobias and Anxiety Graded Exposure/ Systematic Desensitization
Beck and cognitive therapy and
 Beck aimed to compared drug therapy
with cognitive therapy and depression.
 Independent design experiment with
participants randomly allocated to one of
two conditions, cognitive or drug therapy.
 44 patients diagnosed with moderate to
severe depression were assessed using
Beck’s Depression Inventory and two
other rating scales.
Beck and cognitive therapy and
 For 12 weeks patients wither had 1 hour
cognitive therapy sessions twice a week or 100
Imipramine capsules. The therapy session were
prescribed and controlled and observed to
ensure reliability.
 Findings: both groups show a decrease in
depression on all three scales. However the
cognitive therapy group showed a significantly
greater reduction in symptoms than the drug
alone group.
Beck and cognitive therapy and
 The drop out rate was 5% in the cognitive
therapy group and 32% in the drug
therapy group.
 Conclusions: cognitive therapy leads to
better treatment of depression than drug
therapy and also better adherence to the
 YouTube - Cognitive Therapy: The Case
of Tim
Exam question
 Outline one way in which dysfunctional
behaviour can be treated. (10)
 Evaluate treatments of dysfunctional
behaviour (15)
Next Section of the Paper
 The last section of the paper asks you to choose one
disorder (phobia (anxiety), schizophrenia (psychotic) or
depression (affective) and understand that one disorder
in some depth.
 For your chosen disorder you should know 3
explanations and 3 treatments.
 The question would then be:
 Outline characteristics, explanations or treatments of one
disorder (10)
 Evaluate explanations or treatments of your chosen
disorder (15)

Treatments of Dysfunctional Behaviour