Phobia : A Case Study

For Rita, her bird phobia led to severe avoidance behaviour, affecting many aspects of her life and relationships. As a result, she has also developed depression. This programme follows her successful treatment at the cardinal clinic using behavioural psychological techniques. This is an ideal introduction to the subject for staff and students of all disciplines who are new to the field. In addition, it can be used as a patient information programme. 

Phobia: I Can't Go Out

Here is an example of Agoraphobia, how it affects the sufferer, and a way for it to be treated. 

What is a Phobia?

Everybody is scared of something, but what defines a phobia? A phobia is an extreme fear that can get in the way of everyday life. Someone with a phobia might have developed certain behaviours because of their phobia. An example would be somebody who suffers with agoraphobia (a phobia of going outside) ordering their shopping so that they didn’t have to go outside of their home to get it, or avoiding any social occasions. This could develop over time in an inability to go to work, having a knock – on effect on everything else in their life – their home, their ability to pay bills, eventual isolation. 

It is more complex than, “Face your Fear”

In order to rid yourself of fear, you have to face it. However, phobias treatment takes a huge  amount of work. “Just face your fear”,is putting it far too simply. Dealing with a phobia that has taken over your life usually requires treatment  in the form of therapy. Therapy can help find the root cause of phobia, and if there isn’t one, it can at least help you plan your steps forward. Having said this, it’s extremely scary to even make the decisions to start therapy. 

Exposure Therapy For Phobias 

A common treatment of phobias is exposure therapy. It is used to help the patient become less anxious around their trigger over time. It’s important that small steps are taken so that they don’t end up going backwards instead of forwards in their recovery. It’s not a great idea to ‘face your fear’ completely alone, for this reason. For example, somebody with arachnophobia may be encouraged to try and hold a spider – depending on the severity of their phobia, this could be too big a step and cause a panic attack. It would be better to have a therapist guide them through steps, maybe beginning with a drawing of a spider, followed by looking at a photo of a spider and touching the photo. Eventually this may move onto being in a room with a spider (perhaps in a glass box), and approaching it. The last step, of course, would be holding the spider. This method takes a long time and a lot of work, but the desired results are usally achieved. 


Mental Health TV  is home to award winning educational programmes on Mental Health, Primarily designed for students new to the field. 

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