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Comfort Training Manual

Authors: Kelly Woolaway-Bickel & Norman B. Schmidt

ISBN: 1-57256-017-7


While the detrimental effects of anxiety in people with developmental diabilies have been increasingly recognized, the field has lacked a broadly applicable protocol for helping people in this population to overcome their fears. Comfort training was designed to address specific fears in people with learning problems, and is written in a way that should be useful to mental-health professionals at all levels of training as well as anyone else who works with and cares about this population. Sections discuss the nature of anxiety, the initial assessment, orientation to comfort training, and exposure training. The appendix includes a letter for parents, safety aid chicklist, and "exposure graphs" and "fear thermometer" figures. The manual was developed by members of the psychology department at Ohio State University.

Table of Contents

What is anxiety
If anxiety and panic are normal, why are they problematic?
Causes of fear
Fear provoking beliefs
Overcoming unrealistic fears
Safety Aids

STEP 1- The Initial Assessment
Anxiety vs. Lack of motivation
Assessing disorder severity
Signs of other psychological disorders

STEP 2- Orientation to Comfort Training
Trainee education
Parent/ Group home education

STEP 3- Exposure Training
Identifying specific situational fears
Assessing situational fear
Constructing a fear hierarchy
Conducting exposure sessions
Massed vs. distributed exposure
Safety aids and exposure sessions
Fear correcting statements


APPENDIX A- Letter to Parents/ Group home
APPENDIX B- Safety Aid Checklist
APPENDIX C- Exposure graph-Heart rate monitor
APPENDIX D- Exposure graph- Fear Thermometer
APPENDIX E- Fear Thermometer Figures

Contact Info:
Name:Dr. Robert Fletcher
Title:Executive Director
Address:132 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone:(845) 331-4336 or (800) 331-5362
Fax:(845) 331-4569

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