Applied tension in the treatment of Blood Phobia


  • Belén Nieto Centeno Servicio de Psicología Aplicada. Facultad de Psicología. UNED
  • Blanca Mas Hesse UNED



Blood-phobia, biphasic response, applied-tension, exposure in vivo


Blood phobia differs from other simple phobias in the fact that it presents a consistent and unique physiological response patern consisting of a initial increase in heart rate and blood pressure followed by a sharp decrease, leading to a reduction of the circulation of the blood in the brain that causes the typical dizziness and faints of this disorder. This kind of response is called biphasic response. It is advisable to tense the main muscles of the body to block the sharp decrease of blood pressure in order to stop the drop and reverse the process. The present paper shows a case study in which this kind of paradigm has been used in different in vivo exposure situations which was elaborated by Öst (1986), is called Applied Tension. The aim of the treatment programme was to train the patient to be able to suffer any kind of medical intervention implying punctures and/or blood tests/injections or similar situations. After the treatment process and at 6 month and a year follow ups, the subject showed a complete recovery and was registered as a blood donator.


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How to Cite

Nieto Centeno, B., & Mas Hesse, B. (2012). Applied tension in the treatment of Blood Phobia. Acción Psicológica, 1(2), 185–193.



Estudios de casos [Case studies]