In the mid-1950's, Joseph Wolpe, M.D., introduced a new procedure for the treatment of phobias. He labeled this new technique “systematic desensitization”. Since its introduction, Dr. Wolpe’s procedure has gained widespread acceptance. Its use, however, has been constrained due to the demands its delivery places upon the clinician.
As a clinical procedure, office-based desensitization is laborious, repetitive, time-consuming, and inefficient for the clinician. Those very qualities make it suitable for computerization. Now, LifeMAX® Systems makes available an easy and affordable means for clinicians to provide computer-based Desensitization Procedure in their own offices. Use by staff and patient is simple and straightforward; only minimal training is required.
Via the computer, this new technological advance maintains the traditional format of systematic desensitization whilst delivering the procedure in an easy-to-use, affordable way without the laborious demands that existed heretofore. It is computer-based, meaning that the computer essentially does all the work. Typical of all LifeMAX® products, the Utility gently takes the patient by the hand, initially instructing the patient in Relaxation Procedure then leading the patient step-by-step through the hierarchy of choice. It keeps a record of progress for each item of the chosen hierarchy and presents a printed copy of that record with the click of a button.
The list of available hierarchies includes the most common, sixteen stimuli eliciting phobic responses. It also has a “generic” option if the clinician wishes to construct a custom hierarchy for an individual patient. For those clinicians wishing to customize the Utility itself, it allows for replacing any item of any hierarchy with one of the clinician’s choice.
The LifeMAX® Utility does not involve visual "virtual reality". Although of interest and promise, use of virtual reality to treat phobias remains demanding and expensive to implement. How best to achieve added therapeutic value over traditional delivery also remains relatively undocumented.
Accordingly, without the inconvenience and expense of virtual reality, the LifeMAX® Desensitization Clinical Utility propels systematic desensitization from the 1950's into the 21st century. Dr. Moss, designer of the Utility and long-time member of the editorial board of the journal founded by Dr. Wolpe, characterizes the LifeMAX® Utility as "the kind of technological advance that, I believe, would make Joe Wolpe even more proud of his clinical achievement".
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