Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy is based on the principles of classical conditioning. The aim of this therapy is to help an individual eliminate bad habits, self-destructive, and undesirable behaviors by pairing the behavior with something unpleasant. The expectation is that the problematic behavior is a learned behavior, and as such, can be unlearned or changed with the appropriate conditioning. The main stimuli used in this therapy are chemical (nausea-inducing medications), electrical shocks, and imagined aversive situations. Even though aversion therapy is used to help s person eliminate unwanted behaviors, two of the most common programs of this treatment approach over the years are drugs and alcohol programs and rehabilitation programs for sex offenders. The video below is a clip from the movie DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story exemplifying this therapy. In this example, White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is a health fanatic who self-created this therapy by pairing his favorite food, a donut (an aversive stimulus) with a painful shock (a stimulus that elicits an undesirable response).  


  1. It is very good that these issues are addressed as it can be very detrimental to families. It is sad to see how hard breaking these habits can be. From what we have seen it just becomes an addiction and your brain starts to rely on it.

  2. I think it is hard to be able to help or fix a bad behavior, well eliminate into a good behavior. I feel like it will take awhile for these types of behaviors to change for the better. Some people do not understand how hard it really can be to be able to go through with something like this. It is heartbreaking.


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