Arusha Ezaz Rahman
6 March 2018
Outline and evaluate the behavioural approach to treating phobia
A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something, which according to the behavioural approach, can be caused by the social learning theory, classical conditioning or even operant conditioning. Phobias cause significant problems in a persons life and it may hamper their ability to cope with the demands of everyday life. For example, if someone is claustrophobic, he or she may not be able to sit in a small classroom while doing an exam as they may not be able to breathe. Phobias can be treated using two methods: Flooding, and Systematic Desensitisation.
Systematic desensitisation method uses counter conditioning to unlearn the response to a situation or object, by eliciting another response such as relaxation. This method has three critical components: Fear hierarchy, relaxation training, and reciprocal inhibition. To begin, the therapist asks the client to rate their fears on a scale of 1 to 100 and put them in order from the smallest fear, to their biggest. (this is the fear hierarchy). The therapist then begins to teach the client relaxation techniques such as deep breathing. After this, they start to go through the fear hierarchy one step at a time, starting from what they are the least scared of, and using the relaxation techniques to help them calm down when they are afraid. There is a lot of evidence to back up this method of treating phobias. For example, a researcher found that 75% of patients with phobias were successfully treated using ...