Thought-stopping treatment for obsessive ruminations was described by Wolpe and Lazarus (1966) and more recently there have been several case-reports in some of which components of the method were unsystematically varied (Stern, 1970; Kumar et al., 1971; Yamagami, 1971). The present study examined one of these variables while holding constant the other components. When thought-stopping is given, the subject is usually relaxed (using a standard set of instructions to relax his muscles) and then asked to ruminate about the obsessive thought. The therapist then shouts 'Stop' while making a sudden noise at the same time. At this point the patient is told that he must stop thinking his obsessive idea ; after a pause, this interruption is repeated several times until the obsessional rumination ceases. This procedure was compared to a similar technique in which the patient imagined a neutral ('control') thought instead of an obsessive one prior to the onset of the 'stop' instruction. In every other way the two procedures were identical. © 1973.
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