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September 1958

Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(3):399-400. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340090135025

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Abstract

There is, perhaps, no more devastating way to review a book than to quote passages from it that sound uninformed or doctrinaire out of their qualifying context. However, Dr. Wolpe himself insists that the following are his essential theses:

Experimental Basis of His Work

(Pp. ix-x) "Only three kinds of processes are known that can bring about lasting changes in an organism's habit of response to a given stimulus situation: growth, lesions, and learning. Since neurotic behavior demonstrably originates in learning, it is only to be expected that its elimination will be a matter of 'unlearning.'...

"The experimental observations came first. They were made on cats in which lasting neurotic states had been induced by the administration of several punishing but nondamaging shocks in a small cage. The neurotic anxiety and other reactions were subsequently in every case entirely removed by getting the animals to eat in the presence of

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