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A language behavior therapy program for couples seeking a better sexual adjustment

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Title: A language behavior therapy program for couples seeking a better sexual adjustment
Authors: Terpstra, Margery Williams
Keywords: Sex (Psychology)
Issue Date: 1972
Publisher: [Honolulu]
Abstract: A conceptual basis for a broad behavioral approach to therapy, with direct application of learning principles to clinical treatment, has been advanced by Staats. In a break with traditional behavioral approaches, Staats has suggested that a "personality level" of theory is necessary between the basic learning theory and the actual behavior of the individual. Language repertoires which the individual begins learning very early are critical components of personality repertoires and determine his behavior in many situations. Because of the complex nature of language repertoires, deficient and inappropriate behaviors should be accessible to change through verbal means, utilizing both oral and written language. This expectation is based upon the functional aspects of the language repertoires as they control motor behavior, elicit emotional or attitudinal responses, and serve as reinforcing and discriminative stimuli. Recent research has supported clinical observation that many problems in sexual adjustment have roots in language mediated behaviors. Attitudes, taboos, ignorance and misdirection involve language in their formation and perpetuation. Therefore, it is hypothesized that language repertoires may be effectively utilized in the treatment of non-organic sexual dysfunction. Based upon a review of literature related to marriage and sexual problems and a behavioral analysis of a typical dysfunction, the objectives of a course of treatment for married couples seeking a better sexual adjustment were established: 1) the development of more positive attitudes toward sexual expression; 2) improved communication between iv spouses of intimate feelings, desires and preferences; 3) training in techniques which have proved useful in treating sexual problems; 4) se1fdirected application of the information to goals of the marital units; and S) the creation of a marriage climate conducive to sensitivity and sexual responsiveness. Language behavior therapy procedures, including didactic presentations, discussion, reading materials, relaxation, counterconditioning, desensitization, a structured communication exercise, and "homework" assignments, were developed. The treatment program was conducted by a female therapist in five two hour group and two private interview sessions. Sixty-one individuals participated, 21 as members of the treatment groups and 30 as control subjects. Assignment was not random but was based upon self-selection and time factors. The sample included a wide range in terms of age, education, and racial extraction but socio-economic level was middle or upper-middle class. Assessment devices were selected or developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in furthering progress of the couples toward achieving course objectives. Evaluation included statistical analysis of systematic self-report by treatment subjects of progress toward objectives and scores of the treatment and control subjects on the Sex Knowledge Inventory and on both the Sexual Vocabulary Word Usage and Pleasant/Unpleasant Rating Scales. Informal evaluation was also recorded. The results supported seven of the nine research hypotheses. A significant number of treatment subjects reported progress toward achieving personal objectives (H1), more positive attitudes (H2), improved communication (H3) , increased information (H4) and more sensitivity to the spouse's needs (H5). A significant number of the women in the treatment groups reported increased sexual responsiveness (H6). This was not true for the men. A larger number of men entered treatment believing that they were already very responsive. There was a significant difference in favor of the treatment subjects on the Sex Knowledge Inventory (H7). and the Pleasant/Unpleasant Rating Scale (H9) but not on the Word Usage Rating Scale scores (H8). The group method of treatment can be recommended to therapists who feel competent to deal with problems of sexual dysfunction. Further research ,would be necessary to compare the relative effectiveness of group as opposed to private treatment, or to assess the effectiveness of the individual procedures which comprised the global treatment approach.
Description: Typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1972.
Bibliography: leaves 151-157.
viii, 157 l illus., tables
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Educational Psychology

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