What Is Stress Inoculation Training?
Stress inoculation training is a therapy that teaches patients to how to cope with stress. It could help anyone who feels extreme stress in their lives without any structured way to deal with it.
The idea behind stress inoculation training is that if the patient’s confidence in their own ability to cope with and manage anxiety and stress is improved, stress becomes less of a detrimental factor in the first place. This type of training also deals heavily with altering the patient’s perception of stressors.
In essence, stress inoculation training is a natural way to help people overcome stressful situations so that it does not negatively impact other aspects of their lives. Many people deal with stress in harmful ways that hurt themselves or the people around them.
People do everything from overeating, engaging in violence, drinking, using drugs, verbally abusing others, and lashing out at authority figures as a result of extreme stress. Stress inoculation training aims to give people the tools to turn stressful situations into opportunities for growth.
There are three phases of general stress inoculation therapy that we will cover in the latter part of this article.
Who Would Be A Good Candidate For Stress Inoculation Therapy?
Since stress is such a widespread problem in American society, nearly everyone is a good candidate for stress inoculation therapy. Of course, there are those who need it more than others. Prime candidates for this type of training and therapy include:
- Military Personnel – According to a recent study, about 7% of all Americans will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) at some point in their lives. Many of these Americans are ex-military veterans who have seen combat. This group represents people who may need stress inoculation therapy the most.
- Trauma Victims – PTSD can come from events outside of combat as well. People who have suffered prolonged spousal, verbal, psychological, and physical abuse may also benefit mightily from stress inoculation therapy.
- Workers – People who have high-stress jobs or are burdened by being the sole financial provider for their families are also good candidates for stress inoculation therapy.
- Athletes – Athletes competing at a high or public level often feel the pressure to perform at maximum capability which can take a massive psychological toll. For this reason, Pro athletes, amateur athletes, and even casual athletes can also be good candidates for high-stress training of some kind.
- Anxiety Patients – People who are or who have been diagnosed with anxiety could also greatly benefit from high-stress training. Even if you have a history of anxiety with no recent flareups, you may still be a prime candidate.
The Basics Of Stress Training
Stress training, or high-stress training as it is sometimes referred to, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that may attempt to do two things:
Provide the patient with tools they can use to protect themselves against stressful situations
Alter the way the person sees the stressors, in the first place, to neutralize the threat of stress
In an ideal situation, high-stress therapy would eventually teach the person to do both of these things. The first goal may be simply to help the person learn to avoid stressful situations and help remove themselves from things that trigger anxiety.
The second goal is much more complex and will do a more thorough job of equipping the patient with tools that will help them in case they are unable to remove themselves from stressful situations. The second part is what usually takes more intensive therapy for stress.
The Three Stages Of Stress Inoculation Therapy
There are three main phases of therapy for stress. Each one has its specific place and needs to be done in a certain order:
- Initial Conceptualization – This stage of the specified therapy for stress involves changing how the person views stressful situations and how they appraise such situations.
- Skills Acquisition – This stage of the therapy for stress involves teaching the patient exercises they can use once they are feeling stressed to alleviate it.
- Application – In the final stage, the patient may engage in role-playing scenarios with the therapist to practice the techniques they have learned in the earlier stages of therapy for stress.
Does It Work For PTSD?
Stress inoculation therapy has proven beneficial and effective for a wide group of people. It is even used for soldiers before they go to situations where they are likely to see combat. In fact, in many respects, stress inoculation therapy was developed specifically for PTSD and to alleviate the stage of stress that results in detrimental actions.
This type of therapy that helps people identify the stage of stress that is most harmful to their psyche has also proven to be very effective with survivors of sexual assault who later exhibit symptoms of PTSD.
The Most Common Stress Inoculation Training Questions
Yes, there have been many studies that show that this type of therapy is very effective for helping the patient identify the stage of stress that is most detrimental and how to cope with it healthily.
When you are at the stage of stress that manifests itself to you first in your mind. This type of therapy is also very effective for people with PTSD. Stress inoculation therapy should be considered if you are experiencing chronic stress and find yourself tempted to deal with it in unhealthy or passive ways.
All of the elements are important, but the goal is to master the final phase.