The papers, book manuscripts, articles, notes, and audiotapes and video tapes of Dr. Joseph Wolpe, the important South African-born
American psychiatrist who helped usher in behavior therapy. Wolpe is probably best known for urging his colleagues to view
psychotherapy as an applied science in which the effectiveness of treatment is evaluated through controlled experiments.
Dr. Joseph Wolpe, the South African-born (April 20, 1915) American psychiatrist, helped usher in behavior therapy with his
treatment to desensitize phobia patients by exposing them incrementally to images of their fears. In addition to establishing
the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy and founding the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry,
he helped to develop assertiveness training as an approach to combating depression and other emotional problems. Wolpe is
probably best known for urging his colleagues to view psychotherapy as an applied science in which the effectiveness of treatment
is evaluated through controlled experiments. The techniques of behavior therapy and relaxation techniques, guided imagery
and other scientifically validated exercises were based on theories of learning derived from the classical conditioning research
carried out by Ivan Pavlov and from the work of B.F. Skinner, John B. Watson, and Andrew Salter. A specialist in the study
and treatment of neurosis, Wolpe produced scientific data that phobias are based on learned behavior, as opposed to repressed
conflict, and can therefore be "cured" in far fewer sessions than needed in traditional psychotherapy. Wolpe's influence can
be felt in today's managed care, which favors short-term, empirically supported treatments over long-term psychotherapy.
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