Sign In   |    New User?   Sign Up Psychology that makes sense. Sign up for full access to Psychologist World Psychologist World

Search Psychologist World:

Home Behavioral Psychology Aversion Therapy

Aversion Therapy

Posted in Behavioral Psychology
Print   |  Permalink

Aversion therapy uses the behavioral approach principles that new behavior can be 'learnt' in order to overcome addictions, obsessions or, as demonstrated in Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange, violent behavior.

Patients undergoing aversion therapy are made to think of the undesirable experience that they enjoy, for example, a violent person might be shown images of violent crime, or an alcoholic might be made to drink, while drugs or electric shocks are administered. In theory, the patient will, over time, come to associate their addiction with the negativity of electric shocks or seizures.

Uses of Aversion Therapy
  • Habits
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Gambling
  • Violence
  • Homosexuality (historically)
Success of Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy's long-term success in treating patients is questionable; patients may appear to be treated by therapy, but once out of the view of doctors, where the deterrent drugs or electric shocks are removed, they may feel able to return to their addictions or undesirable behavior.

Criticisms of Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy has endured much criticism in previous decades in its use in abusing patients. At a time when homosexuality was considered by some to be a mental illness, gay people were made to undergo aversion therapy for their lifestyles. A number of fatalities have also occured during aversion therapy.

A Clockwork Orange

Aversion therapy was utilised in Anthony Burgess' 1962 book A Clockwork Orange, which was later adapted as a film by Stanley Kubrick. The story, set in a dystopia of violent crime, looks at the treatment of a young Alex de Large, whose is offered freedom from a long jail sentence if he is prepared to undergo aversion therapy for his violence. De Large is shown a series of violent images, whilst being given ECT and drugs so that he would associate violence with personal suffering.


Sign Up for Full Access

Access hundreds of theories, approaches, study and experiment overviews, plus a range of psychology guides including Body Language Reading and How to Interpret Your Dreams.

Sign Up Today ›

Tagged as: Electric ShocksTreatments
More in Behavioral Psychology:

Behavioral Psychology
Biological Psychology
Body Language Reading
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Dream Psychology & Interpretation
Freudian Psychology
Influence & Personality Psychology
Memory Psychology
Personality Tests
Psychology Issues
Psychology of Emotions
Sleep Psychology
Stress Management

Psychology by Area:

Live Site Help
Psychology Approaches:
Psychology Studies:
Learn about Disorders:
Self Help Psychology:

Dream InterpretationDream Interpretation Guide
Learn to interpret the hidden meanings in your dreams.
Learn more »

More Guides:

Sign Up for Full Access:

Learn psychology skills and access premium content with a site membership:

  • Learn to interpret your dreams
  • Understand people using body language
  • Psychology experiments unwrapped: what their results show us
  • Insights into theories and explanations of human behavior, emotion and thinking
  • Unlimited access to more compelling psychology content

Sign Up Now »

Share this page:

© 2014 Psychologist World and partners. Parts licensed under GNU FDL. Secure online payments provided by, Inc.
Terms of Use  |  About  |  Contact  |  Privacy & Cookies  |  Returns & Refunds  |  Hypnosis Scripts  |  Live Site Help  |  Psychology Articles  |   What's New  |  Link to this Page