Essay on Joseph Wolpe 's Development Of Classical Conditioning

Essay on Joseph Wolpe 's Development Of Classical Conditioning

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Joseph Wolpe was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 20, 1915. He grew up in South Africa and received his M.D. from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Wolpe then joined the South African Army during World War II and served as a medical officer as well as worked in a military hospital. In 1948, he married Stella Ettman and they had two children. After the war, Wolpe returned to the University of Witwatersrand where he later moved to the United States to work at the University of Virginia for five years before becoming a professor at Temple University Medical School as a professor of psychiatry. During his time at Temple, he also served as the second president of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. Wolpe stated that Ivan Pavlov was one of his main influences in Wolpe’s research because of his development of classical conditioning. He would continue to teach at Temple University until 1988 and move to California. His wife Stella died in 1990 and Wolpe remarried Eva Gyarmati in 1996. Joseph While in California, he lectured at Pepperdine University for nine year up until his death. Wolpe died of lung cancer in Los Angles, California on December 4, 1998 (Pace, 1998)
Right after Wolpe received his M.D. from University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, World War II broke out and he joined the South African Army is a medical officer. During his time in the military, soldiers were coming back with “war neurosis”, which would later be known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the medication that the doctors were prescribing were not working. In 1934, the Union of South Africa parliament enacts the Status of Union Act, this stated that South Africa becomes an independent state. This added on into ...


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...g it was to their lives. Wolpe realized that if someone can learn fear through classical conditioning, like in Little Albert, then someone can unlearn fear as well. I also think that he is important to the field of psychology because Systematic Desensitization is still one of the most effective ways to help people learn to get over their phobias or fears. Wolpe not only lead the path to a new therapy for phobias but one that is still used for over 60 years. These soldier were living at a state of constant fear and had no clue what they could do to not go into a severe panic attack when they hear a loud noise. But no only soldiers are having trouble functioning in society, many people with irrational fears of public speaking, spiders or open space can also keep people from having a normal life. This behavioral therapy is one way that people can have their lives back.

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