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Patience, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 291
Experience:  MA Clinical Psychology; BS Health Sciences
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Customer Question

how can be developed through classical conditioning
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Patience replied 4 years ago.
Hi- Thanks for your interesting question!
I think you are asking how fear can be developed, is that right?

With classical conditioning, a particular stimulus initiates a particular behavior in such a way that they will be paired together in the person's thoughts and actions. This happens when the behavior is consistently reinforced (punished or rewarded) in the presence of the stimulus.

If a person associates something with either a bad experiences in or a possible future catastrophe, they will react with fear and anxiety to what may have been a previously neutral stimulus as if it were an actual threat. Classical conditioning is an automatic emotional response that bypasses rational thought because when we perceive that something is threatening, our emotional centers send out an alarm before the rational centers of our brain can even process what is actually happening. This is why you can know that something isn’t threatening and yet still feeling afraid.

For example, driving a car is an event that should not elicit an intense fear response. But, if you associate driving with an accident or a potential one because of a bad experience, you can become conditioned to panic when faced with driving.

Often avoidance and anxiety develop as coping mechanisms to such fear. For example, a common response to the anticipation of a terrifying experience is to take measures to avoid it. That avoidance behavior is then negatively reinforced/rewarded because your anxiety is stopped by doing it. You stop worrying because you think you'll be successful at avoiding something bad. But then problems develop because even though the anxiety is temporarily avoided , the coupling of fear to the original stimulus event is still maintained. The fear will still be there, lurking in the back of your mind ready to cause problems at a later time. The person never learns that he or she can approach the feared stimulus without a bad outcome.

Obviously, this is a complex topic. Please ask any further questions you need for clarification.

Please be sure to rate my response using the star system so that I can be credited for my time. After that, I will I will be happy continue our discussion if you need any additional information or insight.

Good customer service is one of my highest priorities! Please use the REPLY tab with any issues that come up regarding the service you have received. Come back soon and remember to ask for Patience P!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your very detailed answer. I am writing a paper for school and would like to be able to cite this correctly, I am going to cite this as an interview, but I just need to know how you would like me to be able to cite the information correctly. Thank you again, for the assistance with this portion of my paper.
Expert:  Patience replied 4 years ago.
You are most welcome for the assistance. I hope your paper comes out good! BTW it's your call, but you can also just cite this as information rather than an interview, since you now have the actual references. These citations are in correct APA format. For quick help with references, etc., see the APA format guide at

For the first two paragraphs:
Binggeli, N. CBT techniques, part 3: Exposure therapy. (2011, February 5). Retrieved from

For the paragraph starting, "Often avoidance...":
Basco, M., Glickman, M., Weatherford, P., & Ryser, N. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: Why and how it works. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 64(3), A52.

Please rate my response so that I can get credit for my work with you. Be sure to use my services again if you need help with any of your psych papers again. I've had to write a lot of 'em in my time, lol! Best of luck to you.

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