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The Match-mismatch theory & Psychoanalytical theory

The Match-mismatch theory & Psychoanalytical theory

The Match-mismatch theory

This theory is based on the idea of the subject having an inaccurate expectation of the fear that a situation may provoke. This can work both ways in that an underprediction tends to be followed by an increase in predicted fear. Also fearful people tend to overpredict.

Avoidance behaviours and anticipatory fear are influenced by mismatches.

Psychoanalytical theory

In some forms of psychoanalysis, there is a belief that anxiety states are the result of repressed emotion, usually from childhood. The emotion, which is often thought to be a result of something sexual, is too strong for the child to cope with, thus it is repressed. The mind however, makes a symbolic representation of whatever caused the emotion and causes a symptom or symptoms as a result.

The theory states that this original emotion must be found or symptom substitution will occur. In writing this course we searched the psychological literature for evidence of this. The only studies we found which reported symptom substitution were in cases of severe eating disorders and tourettes syndrome. Most studies found symptom substitution did not occur. Also one paper found that by giving full consideration to the concept of secondary gain, symptom substitution was avoided.

One study refers to symptom substitution following “sudden removal of symptoms with hypnosis”. As will be shown later, we do advocate any such “sudden removal of symptoms”!

There is an important difference between this theory and the others. This is the relevance of the symbolic connection. That is that the source of the anxiety may not seem to have any connection to the state produced. For example, a person with a phobia of spiders may not even have been anywhere near a spider when the original event occurred, but later the subconscious mind linked the two together.

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