Exposure and Response Prevention in the Treatment of an Okeanophobic Triathlete

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Gary M. Farkas University of Hawaii

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An in vivo exposure and response prevention procedure consisting of seven treatment and generalization sessions was used to aid a 50-year-old woman with a lifelong fear and avoidance of swimming in the ocean. Subsequent to treatment, the subject, already a competent pool swimmer and an accomplished athlete, swam in the ocean, reduced her swim time by over 50%, and placed second in her age group while competing in a major triathlon. A 1-year follow-up indicated that she was still swimming in the ocean and participating in triathlons. The athlete/sport psychologist relationship is discussed in reference to the athlete’s compliance with treatment recommendations.

Gary M. Farkas is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, 2430 Campus Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822.

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