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Special User Sections > The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009

Looking for people willing to do a simple exercise

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Paul Keith:
(Both quotes from Wikipedia:)

Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy intended to treat anxiety disorders and involves the exposure to the feared object or context without any danger in order to overcome their anxiety.[1][2] Procedurally it is similar to the fear extinction paradigm in rodent work.[3][4] Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as PTSD and specific phobias.[5]

Exposure-based therapy may be effective in preventing the progression from acute stress disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in the June 2008 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.[6]

It is also very closely related to exposure and response prevention, a method widely used for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder.
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Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a treatment method available from behavioral psychologists and cognitive-behavioral therapists for a variety of anxiety disorders, especially Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is an example of an Exposure Therapy.

The method is predicated on the idea that a therapeutic effect is achieved as subjects confront their fears and discontinue their escape response.[1] The behavioral process is called Pavlovian extinction or respondent extinction [2] An example would be of a person who repeatedly checks light switches to make sure they're turned off. They would carry out a program of exposure to their feared stimulus (leaving lights switched on) while refusing to engage in any safety behaviors. It differs from Exposure Therapy for phobia in that the resolution to refrain from the avoidance response is to be maintained at all times and not just during specific practice sessions. Thus, not only does the subject experience habituation to the feared stimulus, they also practice a fear-incompatible behavioral response to the stimulus. While this type of therapy typically causes some short-term anxiety, this facilitates long-term reduction in obsessive and compulsive symptoms.[3]

Recent results (Lovell et al., see below) indicate that ERP can be carried out effectively with minimal face-to-face contact between the therapist and the subject.[4]
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Exercise:

Replace the definition of productivity on your systems/software with your interpretation of ERP above and measure if you've become more productive/just as productive or less productive. (You don't have to gather data for everything, even 1 or 2 examples on your task list would suffice.)

Paul Keith:
Someone from subjot expressed difficulty with the exercise above and they haven't confirmed whether my guess as to why they felt the exercise was complex is indeed accurate but I thought for the sake of the lurkers, I'd share that post here:

The #1 dilemma is always how to get a CTA from the general internet populace. This especially applies to someone like me who's a poor communicator and has no academic background. Worse, if CTAs are vast then it feels too open ended.

This leads to dilemma #2: Online surveys asking for people's experiences are not very effective since you can't control the situation and you also can't guarantee that no one is subconsciously lying.

Dilemma #3 makes this worse: Everyone has a different way of applying productivity. Especially personal productivity. Yet that's the element I'm trying to gather here. Global personal productivity experience. At least within the space of who ever wants to participate.

Then there's dilemma #4: What exactly is exposure therapy "specifically". I'm not sure people get that either. I'm not an expert but this reads obvious to me but I can't be sure that people have the same interpretation as me. The easiest instruction then is an open instruction. After all, the important key is not the system. People would obviously feel strongly for each of their preferred systems. The key can't be the ERP either. It's very scenario-centric and yet productivity (esp. systems) aren't. Some have pure paper planners and some have software and some have mixed.

mwb1100:
What's a "CTA"?  Call to action?

Paul Keith:
Yep. Subjot's a micro-blogging site so I had to put aside my bias for opting against acronyms. I apologize for not considering people who may not know what CTA means.

I'm also using the term loosely. Not as a marketing concept for those who google for what call to action means.

iphigenie:
I have heard of a technique which tries to do this via exercise - the idea being that you go on a treadmill and get yourself worked up to a certain level. This way you already have adrenalin up (which comes when in fear too) but also endorphins etc.
Then you do the exposure (object,image, imagination through a scenario) and somehow the physical reactions of fear will be less because your body is already in a positive state of stress. And that can help reprogram the reactions over time, sometimes quite dramatically.

Sounds plausible - won't help if your phobia is a phobia of exercise though ;)

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