Phobia is identified as a persistent fear that
is excessive or unreasonable, and exposure to the phobic stimulus provokes an
immediate anxiety response, which could take the form of a situational predisposed
panic attack. The phobic situation is usually avoided and is endured with
intense anxiety and distress. There are three main types of phobia, social
phobia, specific phobia, and agoraphobia. Generally phobias interfere with an
individuals functioning and in many cases if left untreated, may lead to
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5), specific phobia is marked by fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation e.g. heights, animals, seeing blood-receiving injection, flying to name a few examples. Children typically express their fear or anxiety by crying, freezing, tantrums, or clinging.
Studies indicate that the prevalence of specific phobias tend to be higher in children and adolescents in comparison to adults (Emmelkamp & Wittchen, 2009). Futher research suggests that the typical age of onset for specific phobia is between 10 and 13 years of age (Strauss & Last, 1993). The DSM5 indicates that 75% of individuals who suffer from specific phobia fear more than one object or situation, for example a person that has a fear of lightening, rain or storm and flying would be given two diagnosis of specific phobia; natural environment, and specific phobia (DSM5, 2013). Often the cause of specific phobia is questioned in relation to genetic and environmental influences. A study involving 4,500 twins was conducted to determine genetic and environmental influences on development of early onset anxiety disorders. According to the results of the study, regarding specific phobias the heritability amongst six year olds was around 60% with the remaining 40% of variance attributed to differences in environment. As this study focuses on young children, producing differing results from studies involving older children and adults, it is highly likely that early-onset phobias may be more genetically determined than those developing later in childhood or adulthood (Bolton et al., 2006).
Other studies suggest that children with phobias tend to have mothers that also have phobias, e.g. the child would observe their mother's response to a spider (a fearful response) and later imitate a similar response.
There are a number of different approaches to treating specific phobias such as exposure therapy whereby computer and virtual reality (VR) is used to expose clients to certain situations that could be difficult to replicate in the practice. Another treatment, originally used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Pharmacotherapy is a combination of medications and therapy. Hypnosis has also been proven to be successful. In a study conducted by Crawford and Barabasz in 1993, hypnosis was used as the focused attentional method with cognitive-behavioural therapy or psychodynamic treatment (Crawford & Barabasz, 1993).
AG Confidentiality Therapy specialises in cognitive behavioral hypnotherapy, a form of psychotherapy known to have an exceptionally high success rate.
AG Confidentiality Therapy