Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Phobias
Phobias are often unrecognised and left untreated as people try to cope on their own. Left untreated, people may develop strategies for reducing their anxiety, known as ‘safety behaviours’. Examples include: avoiding drawing attention to themselves; or keeping an eye on an escape route. In some cases the ‘safety behaviour’ is to avoid the situation altogether. Whilst these behaviours feel to the person as if they are helping to keep them safe, they actually help to maintain, and in some cases, worsen the phobia over time.
After a careful assessment a treatment plan will be devised collaboratively with the patient. Cognitive behaviour therapy helps the person face their fears by developing alternative and more helpful ways of responding to problem situations, rather than automatically reacting by resorting to ‘safety behaviours’. Treatment may involve assisting people to gradually test out the accuracy of their fears in a step by step approach that is developed in the therapy session.
As part of normal life, many of us feel uncomfortable or fearful of at times about certain objects or situations. If such experiences become feared and disrupt life to the point where we are unable to enter social situations or to carry out work and every day activities, this may be due to an anxiety disorder called a phobia.
A phobia is an extreme, irrational fear of an animal, object, place or situation that most people would not fear. People who have phobias either avoid the situations they fear or are intensely anxious in them. They may develop panic attacks either in the situation or at the thought of being in the situation.
There are two types of phobia - specific and complex:
Complex phobias involve several anxieties. Examples include:
In instances where the persons phobia involves situations or objects that are difficult to avoid in every day life, their avoidance can lead to daily activities becoming increasingly limited, leading ultimately to depression.
Conditions We Treat
Dr Tim SweeneyPostgraduate Diploma (Cognitive Therapy), BSc (Hons), Specialist Practitioner - Mental Health, BA (Hons), Diploma in Nursing - Mental Health... Read More