Give a brief account of psychological methods of stress management and consider their strengths and limitations.

Essay by nimrod_121University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Stress management involves finding ways to deal with the effects of stress, this can be done either psychologically or physiologically. It refers to a range of techniques to help reduce our stress levels. The psychological method involves stress inoculation and increasing hardiness, whereas the physiological includes biofeedback and therapeutic drugs. Therapeutic drugs are simply drugs which reduce the physical effects of stress, whit out actually deterring the cause, and biofeedback is a method by which we learn to control the effects of stress by relaxation and meditation. I will be concentrating on the psychological methods, which include stress inoculation and increasing hardiness. Stress inoculation is a form of cognitive restructuring. It aims to change the way people think about their lives and themselves, in effect, changing their emotional responses and also their behaviour. Increasing hardiness is simply learning people to become tougher, and therefore less susceptible to stress.

Firstly I will evaluate stress inoculation, looking at its advantages and limitations.

It assumes that people only find things stressful because they think about situations in pessimistic ways, and take things out of perspective. By using this approach, the therapist helps the patient to think positive statements, for different situations. They gradually build up to a very stressful situation, with guidance on what to be thinking all the time. This way of dealing with stress has been so far successful, as it takes things slowly, and the patient is faced with increasingly difficult situations, not just asked to cope with a very threatening situation straight away. Meichenbaum found that positive thinking can successfully change peoples behaviour. This would seem plausible as it is re-teaching peoples thinking patterns. However, it may be hard to change the way people think, if they have a strong mindset, and are not easily influenced.

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