Stress Inoculation Training

Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) is a multifaceted and flexible form of behavior therapy. Its individual-based and can help you cope with stressful events and inoculate you to future and ongoing stressors. Three phases of intervention are used:

Phase I (Conceptualization phase)

In this phase, the therapist educates you about stress and its impact. You are also introduced to the function of appraisal processes and nature of stress (it is transactional) using the Socratic-type of exchange. You will be encouraged to view provocations and perceived threats as problems and identify the problems that can be changed.

You will be taught to develop short, intermediate, and long-term goals for coping with stressors. After the interview, you will be subjected to psychological testing and your response to stress is reconceptualized and built-up. The therapist offers you individually-tailored solutions.

Phase II

This phase deals with acquiring and rehearsing coping skills in a training or clinic setting. Once youre well practiced in the skills, you can gradually introduce them into your life to deal with stressors (e.g., military combat, sports competition, surgery, job stress, traumatic stressors, chronic illness, etc.).

Some of the skills taught include fostering meaning-related activities, using social support systems, attention diversion procedures, interpersonal communications skills training, problem-solving, cognitive restructuring, self-instructional training, relaxation training, self-soothing and acceptance, and emotional self-regulation.

Phase III

In the last phase, you will apply the skills you learned to cope with higher levels of stressors. Techniques such as role playing, modeling, behavioral rehearsal, and imagery are applied.

SIT has been used for treating:

      Acute time-limited stressors stress related to preparing for medical exams, surgery, and performance evaluations

Chronic intermittent stressors stress related to physical conditions such as recurring headaches; also includes military combat

Chronic continual stressors stress related to occupations such as combat, teaching, and police work; stress related to illness such as arthritis, burns, cancer, chronic pain, hypertension, asthma, and mental illness

Stressor sequence stress related to events such as rape, unemployment, and divorce

SIT is also used to treat adults and adolescents who have problems controlling their anger.