The 3 Hour Phobia Cure?March 26, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
I have great news for anyone who suffers from phobias. Phobias are irrational fears that can lead people to avoid circumstances in which they’d be exposed to whatever they’re afraid of. Phobias technically belong to the family of anxiety disorders. The list of phobias is quite diverse. Some examples are: acrophobia (a fear of heights), agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces and large groups of people), glossophobia (a fear of speaking in public), mageirocophobia (a fear of cooking), nosocomephobia (a fear of hospitals) and zoophobia (a fear of animals).
Freedom from Fear
Over the past few decades researchers from Stockholm University in Sweden have been applying a brief, but intensive treatment to help phobics overcome their fears. The truly exciting aspect of this treatment is that it only requires one session! But more importantly it appears that the results are long lasting.
Here’s how the treatment works:
- The type of phobia is identified and discussed openly.
- A plan is clearly laid out for how the therapist and patient will work as team to overcome the specific phobia.
- The therapist gradually exposes the patient to what they fear. They do so in a carefully controlled manner.
- The therapist then takes the lead and provides a demonstration of what the patient will be required to do for him or herself.
- Finally, the patient is fully exposed to what he or she fears with the therapist present to provide guidance and support.
During the lengthy treatment, the patients have the opportunity to experience the typical fear and panic, but they also have enough time to realize that those feelings pass. In addition, they come to the realization that the phobias do not present a real life danger.
The “one session phobia treatment” has proven successful in both adults and children. Dr. Lena Reuterskiöld, one the scientists involved in this area of study, explained the importance of this novel therapeutic approach, “Children who are not cured of their phobias run a great risk of developing other areas of anxiety later on. It’s therefore important to find effective forms of treatment that can reduce this risk.”
To date, these one session treatments have shown positive results in dissolving a variety of phobias. Scientific studies indicate that it’s especially helpful in managing:
- Arachnophobia (a fear of spiders)
- Aviophobia (a fear of flying )
- Claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces)
- Dentophobia (a fear of dentists)
Because of the success found in the Swedish research, the US National Institute of Mental Health has instigated a study on anxiety disorder and specific phobias in a group of children aged 7 to 12. The study is being conducted at Virginia Tech.
There are a few rational fears that often come up when mental health treatments are considered. 1) How much will it cost? 2) How long will it take? 3) Will it really work?
This form of therapy helps to allay all of those concerns. There’s a one time fee. It only takes up 3 hours of your time. It may or may not work, but you’ll at least know for sure within the course of one day. The studies I’ve evaluated indicate that the typical success rate ranges from 55% to 93%.
If I suffered from a phobia I would certainly consider the “one session treatment” option. My hope is that modern psychology can adopt some of these same principles in order to provide patients with a more succinct and financially viable way to achieve better mental health.
Posted in Mental Health