CBT for Specific Phobia in London
CBT for Specific Phobia in London: The IPC Approach
When you suffer from incapacitating phobia, it is important to realise that you don’t have to live with it forever. You have choices that you can make to feel better. CBT Therapy is the most effective choice in such case.
What is Specific Phobia?
If you have a specific phobia it means that you are living with a significant fear of a specific situation or object. It is an unreasonable fear of any situations and objects that don’t pose any real danger to you. It is long-lasting, psychologically intense and sometimes has physical reactions. For example, common phobias include fear of vomiting, heights or injections). In order to meet diagnostic criteria, the situation or object must always provoke an immediate fear response, be actively avoided and feared out of proportion to the danger posed by the situation or object. Moveover, the experience of fear may range from anticipatory anxiety to a panic attack. The fear experienced must have lasted for 6 months or more and lead to clinically significant distress or impairment within social, occupational and other areas of functioning.
Some people may be more vulnerable than others to developing these difficulties.
How can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy help with Specific Phobia?
Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques like exposure therapy and desensitisation can be helpful to treat specific phobias. Gradually, you will be exposed to the situations that you are afraid of. In other words, you learn to fight your fears. Hence, the main goal of CBT is to let you fight your phobias through regenerated thought processes. According to NICE, CBT is the best fit for treating such an issue.
When is the right time to seek Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Specific Phobia?
If you are suffering from specific phobia and show these symptoms repeatedly, it is time to seek CBT:
- Uncontrollable anxiety
- Feeling that fear must be avoided
- Not being able to perform normal activities
- Abnormal breathing
- Dry mouth
How long does CBT for Specific Phobia in London usually last for?
It depends on the intensity of the fear. As a general guideline, treatment usually lasts for 10-15 sessions, until you become able to handle anxiety-provoking situations successfully.
How does a person develop a phobia?
Factors that may increase the likelihood that a phobia will develop may include: Early exposure to a traumatic event, whether it be through direct experience or observed experience of others (e.g. witness a loved one go through a period of illness, going under water in the swimming pool). Experience of a panic attack in the presence of the now feared object/situation or informational transmission (e.g. hearing reports of plane crashes or buildings collapsing on the tv or news).
Factors associated with the definitive onset of a phobia may include: Exposure to the feared situation or object. Tthinking about the feared situation or object.
Factors that maintain the problem once it has become established may include: Avoidance of the fear situation or object. Consistent transmission of negative information of the feared situation may also maintain the fear (e.g. continued news reports of plane crashes etc), hyper vigilance to situations or objects similar to that, which is feared. Additionally, the individual may engage in safety behaviours such as reassurance seeking with regards anticipatory anxiety of the feared situation or object.
Factors that are strengths of the person and reduce the severity of problems, promoting healthy and adaptive functioning may include: Interests in engaging in activities. Support from family and friends.
What is CBT for Specific Phobia in London? A case example.
Tina’s grandfather was very ill for the first three years of her life. She remembers hearing him vomit and seeing him look very frail and pale. Tina’s father speaks about many of his work colleagues being off sick today. As a result, Tina starts to feel very anxious and leaves the room each time her father enters the room. Consequently, Tina does not speak to her father for several days. When Tina feels the threat has passed she talks to her parents about this.
This can be understood within a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy framework as follows:
Factors that may increase the likelihood that a phobia will develop: Tina has witnessed a loved one being ill at a very early age for a prolonged period of time. Most importantly, this happened at a time when she was so young she was likely to not have understood what was going on and experienced lots of fear around this.
Factors associated with the definitive onset of a phobia: Tina’s father discussing his colleagues being ill was a trigger for her becoming anxious.
Factors that maintain the problem once it has become established: Tina’s avoidance of her father may teach her that by avoiding others’ in contact with viruses/germs will keep her from getting sick.
Factors that are strengths of the person and reduce the severity of problems, promoting healthy and adaptive functioning: Tina spoke about her fears with her parents.