A phobia is a conditioned fear response, often extreme, toward a certain object, idea or experience. The fear response leads to avoidance behaviors. The avoidance behavior is more related to the flight and / or freeze response, not the fight response. In essence, an individual may relate a sense of doom and powerlessness toward the feared stimulus. The avoidance of the feared stimulus can support the lasting power of the fear, even over time.
Treatment for phobias eventually will require exposure to the feared stimulus and some desensitization and the ability to adapt while being exposed to the feared stimulus. Dr. Ben Allen offers strategies to learn how to lower the threat response and mentally prepare and cope to overcome a phobia. His methods may include clinical hypnosis and in-vitro exposure (mental imagery and biofeedback – desensitization in office), leading to gradual step-by-step exposure and desensitization in the presence of the feared stimulus. Sometimes psychotherapy can be useful if the phobia has deeper and more significant psychological cause, other than just a previous fear in a situation that occurred among the feared stimulus.
Return to Areas of Clinical Practice for Children and Adults