Aversion therapy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Aversion therapy is a form of psychiatric, mental health or psychological treatment in which the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. This conditioning is intended to cause the patient to associate the stimulus with unpleasant sensations in order to stop the specific behaviour.

Aversion therapies can take many forms, for example: placing unpleasant-tasting substances on the fingernails to discourage nail-chewing; pairing the use of an emetic with the experience of alcohol; or pairing behavior with electric shocks of various intensities.

Popular culture

  • Both Ken Kesey and Anthony Burgess explored the concept, and its moral implications, in their respective 1962 novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and A Clockwork Orange.
  • An Aversion Therapy is used in A Change of Mind, an episode of the 1967 television series The Prisoner. The room where this is performed has a securely locked door with the words "Aversion therapy" written on it.
  • A radio commercial in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas refers to the practice of aversion therapy.
  • The television show Robot Chicken opening has a scientist torturing a robotic chicken in the same matter.
  • The movie Latter Days includes a scene in which a character is subjected to aversion therapy in an attempt to change his sexual orientation.
  • In the movie But I'm a Cheerleader, the character Sinead, an inmate at True Directions, more than likely a self-harmer, gives herself aversion therapy and explains to the main character, Megan, why she does so. In another scene, Megan gives herself aversion therapy for a period of time.
  • In season 1, episode 4 of The Simpsons, "There's No Disgrace Like Home" - the family are strapped to electric chairs and are given the opportunity to give electric shocks to each other. The therapy is unsuccessful as no such aversion is attained, and the family does not stop shocking each other until Dr. Monroe pulls the plug.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Aversion therapy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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