Therapist warmth as a factor in automated systematic desensitization

Richard J. Morris, Kenneth R. Suckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Assigned each of 23 female snake-phobic Ss to 1 of 3 treatment conditions: warm automated therapist procedure, cold automated therapist procedure, or no-treatment control. All groups were equated with respect to their pretest behavioral avoidance scores, and the 2 desensitization groups were equated in their pretherapy instructions, number of therapy sessions, and automated procedure. The only procedural difference between these 2 groups was the manner in which the taped therapist verbalized the treatment procedure. Ss in the warm automated therapist group improved significantly more than Ss in either the cold automated therapist or control groups, and there was no significant difference between the cold automated therapist and control groups. This relationship was largely maintained during the follow-up evaluation. Results are discussed in terms of the role of relationship variables in successful systematic desensitization. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1974
Externally publishedYes


  • therapist warmth, automatic systematic desensitization, snake-phobic females

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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