A Review of the Research Supporting (and Not Supporting) Inhibitory Learning Strategies

In my posts about exposure therapy, I’ve written about inhibitory learning theory a bit. I’ve particularly focused on how inhibitory learning theory has supplanted emotional processing theory (EPT) as the best supported model for exposure.

I recently came across a thorough review article that walks through the major inhibitory learning principles and recommended procedures—as well as some not explicitly tied to inhibitory learning –and assess the degree to which these principles and strategies are supported by research to date

The authors conclude:

Collectively, research support for exposure augmentation techniques aimed at optimizing inhibitory learning has fallen short of theoretical expectation in several respects. Though the literature strongly suggests that this theory provides a better mechanistic explanation for the results of exposure therapy than alternatives such as EPT (at least as originally proposed), findings regarding particular enhancement strategies have been quite inconsistent; even among studies in support of specific techniques, the majority of effects are modest at best.

As a summary can’t do justice to this article, I recommend you check it out yourself. If you have any interest in exposure therapy, it is essential reading.

Weisman, J.S, & Rodebaugh, T.L. (2018). Exposure therapy augmentation: A review and extension of techniques informed by an inhibitory learning approach. Clinical Psychology Review, 59, 41-51.

Here’s a link to the author’s ResearchGate page, where you can request a copy of the article.

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENTS

May 15, 2020, 1:00 pm – 4:15 pm · Portland, OR · Details

Psychedelic assisted therapy is garnering increasing evidence for its effectiveness across a range of psychological conditions and appears poised to have a major impact on mental health treatment in the next decade. This workshop will provide health care professionals an overview of this new clinical area. First, a history of the use of psychedelics will be reviewed that includes an appreciation for their long-standing use by many indigenous cultures. Differences between the most common psychedelics will be outlined, as well as their unique psychological and physical effects. Next, the two major waves of psychedelic research will be summarized, with emphasis on more recent and rigorous clinical trials. The basic model of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will be explained so that workshop participants will have a better sense of how this treatment works. Read more