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Explaining Phobias

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Within this paper Sally a 23 year old woman with a dog phobia will be discussed. Also, how operant and classical conditioning as well as observational learning are a factor in developing Sally’s phobia will be covered. Additionally, how extinction and tenets of cognitive theory can help Sally overcome her dog phobia will be explained. A phobia is an abnormal, vigorous, unreasonable persistent dread or terror that causes anxiety. “Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder (The National Institute of Mental Health, 2013)”. A person has the capability to make a fear out of anything; dog, open spaces, water, elevators, and tight spaces. Persons with a fears or phobias go to the ends of the earth to avoid any alleged risk that is larger more so in their thoughts than physical time. When confronted with the base of their fear, the person will sustain massive anguish that can hinder everyday tasks; fear can seldom lead to complete panic. Furthermore, for a number of individuals the simple thought of their fear is tremendously upsetting. Fears can be a wearying thing.

The defeat of efficiency and productivity at the hands of a person’s phobia can be massive. However, a comprehension of psychology can offer a person the authority to development past anxiety that accompanies their phobia “Phobias are not uncommon; many people suffer from anxiety due to fear of something. Phobias are the group mental conditions known as anxiety disorders. This grouping likewise includes, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and general anxiety disorder”( Fritscher, 2009).. Fear of dogs is known as cynophobia this is a tremendously shared fear or phobia. Cynophobia or fear of dogs can be overwhelming, preventive the persons interaction with person’s whom own dogs and limiting her regular goings-on. A fear or phobia is a punishing anxiety, a troublesome, terror facilitated evasion that is unbalanced to the risk of the dreaded situation or object, in Sally’s case a dog. Sally being the one who suffers from a fear identifies her phobia as sound. “The main idea of behavioral theories is that the phobic reactions are learned. But which exact learning mechanism is activated and what is actually learned in the development of a phobia are seen differently in different behavioral theories (Klausch, 2008)”.

“As psychological treatment for phobias mainly systematic desensitization is used. The phobic person has to relax and then imagines a series of increasingly frightening situations. Many therapists then expose their patients to real-life phobic situations. The patient has to learn to control his fear and eventually very much reduce it. This technique is proven to be the most effective one (Klausch, 2008)”. “Cognitive theories assume that anxiety is linked to being more likely to notice negative stimuli and to believe that negative events are more likely to occur in the future. For example some people who have had a traumatic experience with a dog, did not develop a dog phobia, whereas others did develop a phobia. This is because people that developed a phobia focus more on the possible appearance of the fearful situation and become scared (Klausch, 2008)”.

Cognitive treatment for fears can appear not so successful, as the individual with a fear identifies the terror as unreasonable and unrealistic. As a result it is possibly not suitable to abolish the fear without some introduction to the dreadful situation or object. Sally’s case is a bit more complex since it contains generally classical conditioning, but then again operant conditioning is existent also. Sally’s anxiety reaction is classically conditioned, since it is an involuntary reaction. Her conduct of avoiding a situation where a dog could be present is operant conditioning since it is a controlled action. The CS in this sample is the viewing of a dog in her surroundings. The Unconditioned stimulus was the negative experience with a dog in the second grade. The unconditioned response and the Conditioned response are equally terror. Stimulus simplification happens when Sally Conditioned response specifies to dogs in general. Observational Learning

There is indication that individuals can pick up a fear of a specific things by observing how others who show signs of fear in a situation. For instance, children raised around parents who are afraid of a car accident, could adopt that phobia. “ Only when your phobia is interfering with your life and the characteristics or symptoms produce personal harm and suffering you should do something about it. Often it is much easier to overcome a phobia with the help of a psychotherapist (Klausch, 2008)”.Specifically if the fear is really intrusive with one having an average life, the person cannot succeed in coping with the phobia their self, the person is evading locations that are of significance in ones day to day life, a person is distress from, trembling sweating or other punishing bodily signs at the time of being in the dreadful state. To be able to treat a fear proficiently, two components are needed: introduction to the phobia that is causing the fear and coping with the fear provoking feelings that are connected with the unease. Social cognitive concept is a subsection of cognitive concept that emphases on the properties that individuals have on another’s conduct, this being a method of learning theory, but different from most all learning theories like behaviorism. Tenets of Social Cognitive Theory

Professional views are different on precisely what split up social cognitive theory after the general social learning concept. Overall , however, these main beliefs are used to outline social cognitive concept .Individuals absorb by perceiving others, a method identified as vicarious learning, just not through one’s personal straight involvements .Granting knowledge can alter conduct, individuals do not at all times relate what the knowledge acquired. A person’s choice is centered on observed or actual penalties of conduct. Individuals are further probable to follow the actions demonstrated by another person in which that individual can recognize. The added apparent unities and/or responsive affections among the spectator and the model, there is a better chance the spectator will absorb knowledge from the model. “Social cognitive theory may explain why some people develop phobias. Many phobias stem from early childhood, when our parents were our greatest influences and role models.

It is not uncommon for a parent’s distaste for spiders or rats to become a full-blown phobia in her child. Watching someone else, whether a parent, friend, or even stranger, go through a negative experience such as falling down the stairs can also lead to a phobia”( Fritscher, 2009). Another good method that can be used to treat phobias is Social cognitive concept. Countless individuals with phobias honestly want to not have them and have a tough certainty in the capability to overcome the phobia. Yet, they get trapped when unable to unlearn the involuntary fear reaction. “If there is a good relationship of trust and rapport with the therapist, modeling the behavior can help. In this situation, the therapist calmly goes through whatever process is being asked of the individual seeking help” (Fritscher, 2009). In a few circumstances, merely observing an individual complete the action lacking anxiety, distress or fear can be adequate to disruption the fearful reaction.

Nevertheless, it is usually best to mix the methods of social cognitive concept with a cognitive-behavioral treatment. Even though observing another person can significantly lessen the level of distress, frequent repetition is usually the greatest method to get liberated from the fear completely. In this vast, chaotic sphere we reside on, it is natural to find to fear something. Fears maybe dogs, birds, snakes, water, or the dark, everyone is fearful of something. At some point in ones life they have been told, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Even though the statement is true, it is slight ease when one is gripped by a heart stopping fear. However fears can be rather frustrating, and devastating, help is out there for the individual. A lot phobias and fears, including dog phobias, tend not to be severe specifically when it does not utterly influence ones day to day life. However, ones fear of canines effects circumstances on a day to day occurrence stopping one from effectively living or loving life one must deliberate looking for therapeutic guidance.

References:

Fritscher, L. (2009, March 31). Social cognitive theory . Retrieved from http://phobias.about.com/od/causesanddevelopment Klausch, T. (2008, July 22). Phobias and overcoming phobias. Retrieved from http://web4health.info/en/answers/anx-phobias-general.htm The National Institute of Mental Health (2013, Febuary 04). The numbers count: Mental disorders in america. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml

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