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Clinical-Psychological Treatment of Epileptic Seizures: A Controlled Study

  • Niels Birbaumer
  • Thomas Elbert
  • Brigitte Rockstroh
  • Irene Daum
  • Peter Wolf
  • Anthony Canavan
Chapter
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)

Abstract

One possible strategy in the development of clinical-psychological treatments lies in the study of the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying effective medical remedies, and to “model” the behavioural therapy upon these processes. We ourselves, for instance, have studied the orthopaedic treatment of scoliosis and kyphosis with supportive corsetry, and have shown that a learning-theory mechanism, rather than a passive support function, accounts for the positive effects of such corsets: Postural changes involving curvature of the spine result in a contingent pain stimulus because of the increased contact between particular parts of the body and the corset. This pain stimulus works as a continuous punishment for incorrect posture, that the patient can escape by making appropriate postural adjustments. On the basis of this analysis, we developed a “psychological corset” that achieved the same effects through positive reinforcement, without involving pain stimuli (Dworkin et al., 1985).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Birbaumer
    • 1
  • Thomas Elbert
  • Brigitte Rockstroh
  • Irene Daum
  • Peter Wolf
  • Anthony Canavan
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Physiological PsychologyEberhard-Karls-Universität TübingenTübingenGermany

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