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Treatment for Phobias
Treatment for Phobias

Tuhin Sarkar
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Friday, March 29, 2013
Simple or specific phobias have been quite effectively treated with behavior therapy Marks 1987 . The behaviorists involved in classical conditioning techniques believe that the response of phobic fear is a reflex acquired to non-dangerous stimuli. The normal fear to a dangerous stimulus such as a poisonous snake has unfortunately been generalized over to non-poisonous ones as well. If the person were to be exposed to the non-dangerous stimulus time after time without any harm being experienced the phobic response would gradually extinguish itself. Also this assumes that the person does not also experience the dangerous stimulus during that same extended period of time. In other words one would have to come across ONLY non-poisonous snakes for a prolonged period of time for such extinction to occur. This is not likely to occur naturally so behavior therapy sets up phobic treatment involving exposure to the phobic stimulus in a safe and controlled setting. Foa and Kozak 1986 call this exposure treatment so called because the patient is exposed to the phobic stimulus as part of the therapeutic process. One simple form of exposure treatment is that of flooding where the person is immersed in the fear reflex until the fear itself fades away. Some phobic reactions are so strong that flooding must be done through one s imagining the phobic stimulus rather than engaging the phobic stimulus itself.

Posted On : 10/16/2013 1:04:49 AM

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