The therapeutic approaches to treating phobias

This essay describes Phobias, their symptoms, the different curative attacks to handling phobic disorder, and surveies that demonstrate the effectivity of different interventions. Three cardinal attacks to understanding phobic disorders and their intervention will be evaluated, including the psychodynamic, societal, and behavioral attacks. An accent will, nevertheless, be placed on the behaviorist attack and the successful intervention of phobias via cognitive behavior therapy ( CBT ) .


Phobias are the most common signifier of anxiousness upset in the UK, with there being an estimated 10 million people populating with phobic disorders. Phobias are characterised by irrational and inordinate frights of objects or state of affairss. These frights can do symptoms of utmost terror, perspiration, palpitations, fainting, and palsy ( Iris Health, 2006 ) . There are two chief types of phobic disorder: specific and societal. Social phobic disorder are an inordinate fright of embarrassment in societal state of affairss, whilst specific phobic disorder are an inordinate fright of peculiar objects or state of affairss. Examples of specific phobic disorders include claustrophobia ( i.e. fright of closed infinites ) and arachnophobia ( i.e. fright of spiders ) . The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders ( DSM-IV ) standard for a diagnosing of phobic disorder is that the fright must be inordinate or unreasonable and provoked by an object or state of affairs. Furthermore, exposure to this object or state of affairs instantly produces anxiousness, and turning away of this fright interferes with the sick person ‘s life ( APA, 1994 ) .

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Phobias can be treated successfully, although complex phobic disorder can take a important period of clip. Treatments include speaking therapies such as reding or behavioral therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Some of these interventions are discussed following, along with grounds of their effectivity.

Psychodynamic Approaches

Psychodynamic theories propose that phobic disorder in maturity are the consequence of negative childhood experiences ( Freud, 1909 ) . In peculiar, Freud grounds that phobic disorder are the consequence of sexual repression, as he attempts to show in his celebrated instance survey of Little Hans. Small Hans was a 5-year old male child who had a phobic disorder of being outside with Equus caballuss, coachs, and carts incorporating luggage. At the same clip, Small Hans besides showed marks of the Oedipus composite ( a immature male childs desire to be sexually involved with his female parent and kill his male parent ) , ensuing in fright of emasculation. Freud proposed that Equus caballuss resembled Small Hans ‘ male parent since he wore spectacless that were comparable to the Equus caballus ‘s flashers. Freud farther explained that Equus caballuss ( which represented Hans ‘ male parent ) would seize with teeth Small Hans “ because of his want that it ( his male parent ) should fall down ” ( Freud, 1909, p.90 ) . After conversations between Freud, Little Hans, and his male parent, Small Hans was able to get the better of his sexual repression and therefore his phobic disorder.

Social Approachs

Social theoreticians province that life events and manners of rearing can lend to the development of phobic disorder. Harmonizing to these theories, people with phobic disorders are more likely to hold experienced negative or traumatic life events than people who do n’t hold phobic disorders. Kleiner and Marshall ( 1987 ) found that 84 % of persons with agoraphobia ( fright of unfastened infinites ) reported household jobs in the months before developing panic onslaughts. Barrett ( 1979 ) found that patients reported unwanted life events 6-months before developing panic onslaught. In footings of rearing manner, Silove et Al. ( 2001 ) found that people with societal phobic disorder and agoraphobia experienced less fondness from their parents than people without such phobic disorder. It has besides been found that kids who experience separation anxiousness are likely to develop phobic disorder in maturity ( Pincus, Eyberg, and Choate, 2005 ) . Despite grounds proposing a nexus between phobic disorders and societal factors, there is no intervention that is chiefly based on this attack.

Behavioral Approachs

The behaviorist attack to phobias provinces that there are different ways in which people learn to fear certain objects or state of affairss, including through direct negative experiences, detecting fright in others, or through repeated negative experiences. In other words, phobic disorders are the consequence of ‘classical conditioning. ‘ Classical conditioning is the term used to depict the procedure of larning new behaviors or responses based on their effects. Watson and Rayner ‘s ( 1920 ) research with Little Albert is one of the most cited illustrations of how the behavioral attack can help in understanding phobic disorder. Watson and Rayner ( 1920 ) showed how a 9-month old male child could be conditioned into fearing a rat. Small Albert originally expressed no fright of the rat, but was fearful of loud noises. By partner offing the loud noise with the visual aspect of the rat, Little Albert bit by bit started to demo fright in response to the rat entirely. Not merely did he larn the association between the rat and loud noises, but he besides learnt that avoiding the rat meant avoiding the noise, which was an of import facet of the development and care of the phobic disorder.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The literature suggests that the most effectual intervention for phobic disorder is that which is based on the behavioral attack. The implicit in premise of such interventions is that anything that is learned can be unlearned ( Goodwin, 1983 ) . The first widely used behavioral intervention based on this premise was ‘flooding ‘ ( Wolpe, 1958 ) . Deluging involves exposure to the feared object or state of affairs at full strength in order to see that no injury consequences from the feared object or state of affairs ( Marsh and Ollendick, 2004 ) .A A WolpeA ( 1973 ) carried out a flooding experiment with a immature miss who was scared of autos. By locking the miss in a carA and driving her around for hours, until she finally realised she was safe, the miss transitioned from craze to a calmer province. The grounds suggests, nevertheless, that deluging can non be endured by everyone ( Jaeger et al. , 2009 ) .

Ost ‘s ( 1989 ) One-Session-Treatment ( OST ) has been shown to be peculiarly effectual in handling phobic disorder. This begins with a behavioral analysis of the sick person so intervention can be tailored specifically, before a individual 3-hour session exposes them to a high strength of their fright. During those 3-hours, the psychologist guides the sick person through gradual additions in exposure to the stimulation whilst analysing and disputing maladaptive ideas. Ost ( 1989 ) states that exposure through a series of trials instead than immediate full strength encourages a faster alteration in their anxiousness and turning away. Ost, Svensson, Hellstrom, and Lindwall ( 2001 ) emphasise the demand for continued exposure post-treatment in order for success to be maintained. One-Session-Treatment has been found have a 90 % success rate, with continued success at 1-year followup ( Ost, Svensson, Hellstrom, and Lindwall, 2001 ) .

A more modern illustration of behaviour intervention of phobic disorder is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy challenges the negative ideas and knowledges that maintain a phobic disorder, assisting the individual to reframe their thought. Aspects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy include contingency-management and cognitive self-denial. The former is based onA operantA conditioning. Alternatively of turning away of fearful objects or state of affairss being a wages ( due to anxiety decrease ) , facing the fright is followed by positive effects such as congratulations or positive support. This bit by bit alters an person ‘s idea forms. Cognitive self-control marks maladaptive ( or irrational ) ideas, promoting people with phobic disorder to utilize positive alternatively of negative statements to get by, such as non knocking their attempts towards confronting the fright ( Davey, 1997 ) . In this manner, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used to develop people to replace their negative associations with positive 1s. Research suggests that taking into consideration the function of conditioning is cardinal to why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works so efficaciously ( Goodwin, 1983 ; Ost, 1989 ) . A big constituent of handling phobic disorder is the cognition that specific phobias relate to one stray state of affairs or object. Therefore, if the fright response can be removed from that object or state of affairs, the phobic disorder should logically be cured, whether learnt through injury or association. Furthermore, since turning away of feared objects or state of affairss Acts of the Apostless as a wages, this facet of phobic disorder demands to be addressed in intervention, as is the instance in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which challenges such turning away ; with continued turning away, there is no chance to ‘unlearn ‘ the fright ( Goodwin, 1983 ) .


Phobias are a complex unwellness and their intervention is merely as complex. Conditioning is widely believed to lend to the development and intervention of phobic disorder. Therefore, the most promising intervention is a method that incorporates conditioning into the curative procedure. Cognitive-behavioural therapy does merely this, which is why the grounds shows it to be so effectual. Of the interventions discussed in this essay, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has most support. Kendall et Al. ( 1997 ) achieved a success rate of 71 % in the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention of kids with a assortment of anxiousness jobs. By comparing, success rates for self-exposure interventions range from 18-33 % ( Goodwin, 1983 ) . Since Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a cost-efficient, short-run intervention, its usage in the intervention of phobic disorder is supported.

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