Aversion Therapy is a type of behavior therapy thats main goal is to associate an unwanted behavior with displeasure. It can be used for a wide variety of unwanted behaviors such as bad habits, alcoholism, anger issues, addictions, and smoking. During this type of therapy the client partakes in the behavior that they enjoy and at the same time are exposed to something that makes them feel discomfort like an infliction of pain (shocks), a bad smell, a bad taste, etc. An example of this could be if the client is smoking cigarette while they do it they have to snap a rubber band on their wrist. As the discomforting act become associated with the unwanted behavior, the behavior begins to decrease and ultimately extinguish all together. The effectiveness of Aversion therapy relies on factors such as the client's willingness as well as the methods that are being associated with the behavior. While under supervision of a therapist, aversion therapy usually works great. However, there is a very high risk of relapse once the client is on their own. There are many criticisms also associated with aversion therapy. Many believe that their is not enough scientific research on the effectiveness of this type of therapy. It also seems to be ethically challenged because of the use of negative punishment in order to deter a behavior. Researchers have found that many forms of anxiety, depression, have been associated with aversion therapy which can ultimately interfere with the treatment process. In some instances clients have sustained serious injury as well as fatalities while undergoing aversion therapy. Even with all of the criticisms this type of therapy has correlated with it, aversion therapy is still widely used today especially for addiction.
Cherry, K. (2020, September 17). How does aversion therapy work to fix unwanted behaviors?. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-aversion-therapy-2796001