Psychology

How are Phobias Treated



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A Phobia is an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. Phobias often result in great panic and anxiety when exposed to the stimulus feared. Different treatments treat different aspedxts of the phobia. Some treatments try to treat the root cause of the phobia, be it faulty thought processes or childhood experiences. Other treatments focus on treating the symptoms of the phobia meaning that the phobia is never really cured.

-Medication-
One of the most common treatments for most things in society today is medication, and why not, it quickly rids people of their problems. The root of many people's phobias is neuro-chemical imbalances; some medications can improve such imbalances. However, some medications are prescribed simply to minimise the symptoms of phobias such as anxiety, This does not cure the phobia, meaning that in some cases medication is not necessarily a treatment.

-Behavioural Therapy-
Behavioural therapy is a form of psychotherapy based largely on the theories of operant conditioning (learning through reinforcement) and classical conditioning (learning through association). Behaviourists believe that all responses, including phobias, are learnt. Behavioural therapy entails un-learning phobias and the behaviour associated with them. The treatment consists of one-on-one sessions with a therapist; these sessions involve slow exposure to the stimulus in question, this should slowly reduce and eventually extinguish the phobia. Behavioural Therapy is a highly effective form of phobia treatment, unfortunately, theses therapy session and the number of sessions need to make a sufficient change are very expensive.

-Cognitive Therapy-
Cognitive approaches focus on the thought process involves when dealing with various situations. Cognitive therapy or cognitive restructuring consists of three steps, assessing the validity of the patients beliefs (i.e how realistic is their fear?), assessing what the patient predicts and investigating their attributions for the causes of events. The therapy would involve changing the patient thoughts about what they fear, this could mean making them aware that a fear of spiders is irrational as they do not live near poisonous spiders and all spiders are less than a 100th of their size.

-Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy-
Cognitive behavioural therapy stems from cognitive and behavioural approaches. It involves identifying the negative thoughts (cognitive processes) that influence behaviours; in relation to phobias, this means outlining the thoughts that occur when confronted with what causes the fear and what happens as a result of these fears. Cognitive behavioural therapy teaches the patient to see the lack to rationale to their fear and, in turn, change their behaviour. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most effective forms of phobia treatment and due to the speed of the treatment; it is generally cheaper than most therapy approaches.

-Relaxation Techniques-
This involves coping with the reactions that arise when exposed to the frightening stimulus. When treating someone with Brontophobia, it would involve teaching them to remain calm through an outbreak of thunder.

-Hypnotherapy-
Hypnotherapy involves teaching people to reprogram the subconscious "programs" that may be part of a phobia. When these programs are "de-bugged" the symptoms of phobia often are minimized. As hypnotherapy stems from hypnosis, it is not completely effective. Hypnosis in works on people who believe in it.

-Energy Psychology-
This involves combining Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, Relaxation Techniques and Hypnotherapy. Energy psychology allows you to quickly and easily change your behaviours, change you way of thinking, relax and of course, rid yourself of you phobia. Energy Psychology has slowly proven itself to be a highly effective way of treating phobias.

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