Treating PhobiasTreating phobias is very difficult to accomplish. A phobia is a irrational fear or a strong dislike of something. Some examples of phobias are fears of spiders, heights, crowded spaces, flying, elevators, public transportation, and so on. There are ways to treat phobias such as systematic desensitization, and flooding. Systematic desensitization is a way to treat a phobia by paring relaxation and a succession of stimuli which stops the fear. Wolpe founded this treatment and it consists of three steps. The first step is training in relaxation which is a deep muscle relaxation. The second step consists of showing the person with the fear several picture staring with a picture that causes the least amount of anxiety up to the most. The final step includes pairing each picture with relaxation. The process starts with the least fearful picture while including relaxation, then continues all the way to the most fearful to eliminate the anxiety all together.
Another way to treat a phobia is by a treatment called flooding. Flooding is a long exposure to the feared stimulus by the client so the fear will decrease quickly. The client in treatment will first visualize their fear and practice visualizing it at home. An example of this would be if a person is afraid of balloons, they would have to think of a balloon in the room. The next step would include the person with the fear actually encountering the situation. An example is the person with the balloon fear having to go into a room with balloons and pop them. This is a quicker treatment of extinguishing a phobia and it might not work for everyone. These are some ways to treat several phobias.
Youtube video of systematic desensitization:
Youtube video of flooding:
References: Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, L. P. (2002). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (Fourth Edition ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth/ Thompson Learning.