Social Phobias Essay

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Looking at a normal person walking down the street you wouldn’t know what kind of fear they might be facing. People face different fears in their lives that they can’t control. It is common for people to be scared of a situation that has a rationality behind it. For example, being scared while inside a haunted house. If the fear is irrational and many aren 't frightened by it, it would be categorized as a phobia. Living a life with constant fear that interferes with a person’s everyday life would be categorized as an anxiety disorder. Joseph Wolpe developed a way which systematic desensitization, a form of psychotherapy, can help a person gradually decrease their anxiety or fear for a certain situation. He used neuroses, a group of psychological…show more content…
Simple phobias include irrational fears of things like animals such as dogs, cats, or the most common snakes. Specific phobias are centered around specific situations such as small spaces, claustrophobia, or heights, acrophobia. Social phobias are irrational fears of interactions with other people. For example, a person might have a social phobia of public speaking or fear of embarrassment. Another form of social phobia is agoraphobia which restraints a person from being in unfamiliar, open or closed spaces, typically resulting in panic attacks. These different types of phobias have two things in common; they are irrational, and they are treated in similar…show more content…
In order to treat the fear you must treat it with relaxation while in the presence of the feared situation. The first step in Wolpe’s study was to focus on relaxing your body. He recommended a process that involves tensing and relaxing various groups of muscles until a deep state of relaxation is achieved (Wolpe,264). The second stage was to develop a list of anxiety-producing situations that are associated with the phobia. The list would descend with from the least uncomfortable situation to the most anxiety producing event you can imagine. The number of events can vary from 5 to 20 or more. The final step is to desensitize, which is the actual “unlearning” of the phobia. Wolpe told his patients that no actual contact with the fear is necessary, and that the same effectiveness can be accomplished through descriptions and visualizations(Wolpe,265). Wolpe’s participants are told to put themselves in a state of relaxation which they are taught. Then, the therapist begins reading the first situation on the hierarchy they have made up. If the patient stays relaxed through the first situation the therapist continues to the next until the state of relaxation is broken. If they feel a slight moment of anxiety they are to raise their index finger until the state of relaxation is restored. The average number

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