National Institute of Mental Health had stated that there were roughly 10% of people suffered from specific phobia, 7.1% from social phobia and 0.9% from agoraphobia in U.S. This type of an anxiety disorders, phobia, if left untreated will become more severe in which they won’t be able to carry their normal daily routine and may have social isolation. It is because phobia is an irrational fear that makes people to avoid particular places, situations, or objects. Generally, people have difficulties in differentiating a phobia and normal fear. Thus, psychologies had make a contrast that fear is an unpleasant feelings that felt by human to respond to dangers (Marks, 1987) while phobia is developed when their fear become more intense and long-lasting in nature (Turner and Romanczyk, 2012).
The majority of people have anxiety disorders are when they are before age 21 as it can be notice that on average, specific phobia usually onset at early childhood, social phobia during adolescence and agoraphobia on teenagers. Moreover, based on the Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2011, women are twice more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders or about 60% from phobias compared to men.
Talking about phobias, it can be categorised into specific and complex phobia. The specific phobia includes the fear of animal, natural environment, situational, etc whilst the complex phobia is the agoraphobia and social phobia (social anxiety disorder). Some examples for complex phobia are fear of going out, using public transportation, and perform public speaking. Mostly, when patients exposed to their phobias, they may experience different physical and psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms may include advanced shaking, chest pain, rapid heart rate, dizziness or nausea while the feelings of losing control, dying, and panic or fear of objects, social situations and places that are crowded can be indicated as the psychological symptoms.
To overcome those symptoms, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used as this talk therapies have high success rate in treating phobias. CBT is the combination of cognitive with behavioral therapy that can be delivered in individual, group, through computer or internet. Besides, it is a short-term, structured, and collaborative therapy that has goals for cognitive restructuring and behavioural activation. Normally, CBT therapists will carry several techniques such as Socratic questioning, behavioral experiments, thought records, or situational exposure hierarchies during the regular sessions. Furthermore, the main CBT concept that patients and therapists should understand about is that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interconnected so if one modality is changed, others will be affected (Ellis, 2001).
Thus, this paper will debate on how far does CBT effective in treating phobia because this informs decision makers and clinicians that CBT may help patients to reduce its phobia but to some extent as according to David A.Yusko, not all phobias can be cured with CBT. Hence, this essay will be examining: “How effective is cognitive behavioral therapy play a role in the treatment of phobias”?