Tag Archives: systematic desensitization

New Episodes of Mind Changers!

BBC Radio 4 program Mind Changers, a series hosted by Claudia Hammond in which she¬† explores “the development of the science of psychology during the 20th century,” has just returned with new episodes. Now available online are episodes on the work of Joseph Wolpe (right) and Julian Rotter. Wolpe most famously developed and perfected the technique of systematic desensitization for the treatment of phobias, while Rotter developed the I-E scale to measure locus of control, or the degree to which individuals believe they have control over events in their lives.

You can find the full audio catalogue of previous Mind Changers episodes online here and AHP’s previous posts on the series here. Titles and descriptions of the Wolpe and Rotter episodes follow below.

Joseph Wolpe and Systematic Desensitization

When the South African psychiatrist, Joseph Wolpe, took up his post at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1965, he brought with him the treatment he’d developed for patients with phobias. Systematic Desensitization involved a lengthy process of relaxation and gradual exposure to the object of the phobia. It was known as Behaviour Therapy, with its concentration on learning a different response to a stimulus. It paid no attention to the patient’s childhood or underlying psychological experiences and was thus a radical departure from the Freudian, psychoanalytic approach that was the established method of psychiatry in the US at the time. He brought about a sea change, which sees him regularly listed as one of the top twenty most influential psychologists of the 20th century.

Claudia Hammond visits Philadelphia to meet two of Joseph Wolpe’s former colleagues, Michael Ascher and Allan Cristol to hear about the man and his work. Continue reading New Episodes of Mind Changers!