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
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
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.
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