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Need an research paper on list a phobia and explain the systematic desensitization of a phobia. Needs to be 2 pages. Please no plagiarism.

Need an research paper on list a phobia and explain the systematic desensitization of a phobia. Needs to be 2 pages. Please no plagiarism. Many people suffer from different phobias which prevent or inhibit them from doing something, participating in something or achieving something. These tend to paralyze those who suffer from it and sometimes just mentioning the object or subject from which they fear causes these people to panic or feel unwell. In order to overcome these phobias, psychologists have developed various techniques. Perhaps the most famous and commonly used technique of all is the systematic desensitization. This is a behavioral therapy used to overcome phobias as well as anxiety disorders, and consists of teaching those who suffer from it coping strategies, establishing a hierarchy of stimuli that cause the phobic fear and then progressively and gradually exposing them to the thing they fear (Wikipedia, n.d. Rainey, 1997).

When people suffer from irrational fear such as height, they tend to avoid the thing they fear. Since theyre avoiding it, their anxiety level reduces and the reduction of the fear is reinforced by negative reinforcements. Instead of this, the systematic desensitization first teaches how to reduce the levels of anxiety and fear by cognitive strategies that help control the fear rather than letting it build up inside until it becomes unbearable. These strategies can be meditation, thinking happy thoughts, concentrating on breathing and more.

Having been taught how to relax and reduce their anxiety, the phobic person will be exposed to the object of his fear gradually, by first being able to talk about it, then seeing a picture illustrating the situation or thing he fear, then experiencing something similar, and finally by experiencing it.

One common fear is the fear of flying. Many people think it is extremely dangerous to fly airplanes since it is high in the air and the plane can crash. These people view the experience of flying as terrifying and something which they can never do, seeing as how it completely paralyzes them.

Accordingly with the systematic desensitization, the therapist will first teach the patient different ways to relax, like the ones previously mentioned. Relaxation is very important when discussing this fear, because unlike other fears from animals or other objects, flying a plane can last hours, and in this case, it is crucial to be able to fully relax.

Then, having established the stimuli which cause the phobic episodes, the therapist will start with the least anxiety-provoking stimulus and gradually move on to the next one, until all of the items listed on the anxiety hierarchy have been dealt with successfully. This actually means that the therapist will first talk to the patient about flying and make the patient be calm as he thinks about flying (this preliminary thing doesnt involve real stimuli other than the imagination). He will then show the patient a picture of a flying plane, and then let him hear the sound of the planes engines as the plane flies. After the patient has dealt with it and remained calm, the therapist will show him a video of planes flying. Following this, the patient will probably be asked to go to or near an airport and watch planes take off and fly.

If the patient has successfully achieved all of these steps, he will most likely be then asked to approach a plane, and if he can, try to board one and have a short flight. Should the patient be able to do so and remain calm (while practicing the methods of relaxation during the experience), he will have partially conquered his fear. He will then have to start flying on longer flights gradually, and as time goes by, hell be accustomed to it and wont even need to apply the relaxation methods, as hell have already conquered his phobia.

It is important to mention, though, that some patients need to undergo an average of 30 or 40 two to three hour flights a year in order to be able to board planes and fly them at all and these people do not succeed in eliminating the phobic behavior (Capafons, Sosa & Avero, 1998).

Still, the systematic desensitization remains a highly effective and commonly used method in overcoming phobias, and is recommended to anyone whos suffering from any irrational fear.


Capafons, Juan I, Carmen D. Sosa, and Pedro Avero. "Systematic Desensitization in

the Treatment of Fear of Flying". Psychology in Spain 2.1 (1998): 11-16.

Wikipedia. "Systematic Desensitization" (April 4, 2007). Accessed April 8, 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_desensitization

Phobialist. "Treating for Phobias" (1997). Accessed in April 2, 2007. http://www.phobialist.com/treat.

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