The U.S National Institute of Mental Health had stated that there were about 10% of people who suffered from specific phobia, 7.1% from social phobia and 0.9% from agoraphobia. Phobia, an anxiety disorder, if being retarded from its treatment, would become uncontrollable which results to the incompetent in carrying normal routine and become socially isolated. This is because phobia accounts to the avoidance of particular places, situations, or objects due to its irrational fear. Generally, people have difficulties to distinguish between phobia and normal fear. Thus, psychologists had specified that fear is an unpleasant feelings and will be experienced by every human beings in response to danger (Marks, 1987) whilst phobia is beyond the ordinary fear in which it is more intense and long-lasting in nature (Turner and Romanczyk, 2012).
The majority of people are diagnosed with anxiety disorder prior to age 21, and it can be studied through the average age of phobias’ onset in which specific phobias are in the early childhood and adolescence for the complex phobia such as social phobia (social anxiety disorder) and agoraphobia. According to a report from Office National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity, 2011, men are half times less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders or only about 40% from phobias compared to women. Both men and women who suffer from phobias would experience several physical and psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms includes chest pain, faster heart beat, losing one’s balance, excessive shaking, etc while the feelings of fear, panic, ill and likely to die soon are the psychological symptoms.
A talk therapy that has showed to have high success rate in dealing with phobias is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which works by incorporating both cognitive and the behavioral therapies. This therapy is available to treat patients individually, in groups, via computer or internet in a short time by involving several techniques during the sessions such as Socratic questioning, behavioral experiments, thought records, situational exposure hierarchies, etc. Thus, this treatment tend to be carried in structure so that the sessions time can be used efficiently and lead to successful collaborations between patients and therapists in order to achieve its goals which are for cognitive restructuring and behavioural activation. Furthermore, the most important and the main CBT concept that patients and therapists should understand is that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interconnected so if one modality is changed, others will be affected (Ellis, 2001).
In this paper, the discussion on how far does CBT effective in treating phobia will be explored to inform decision makers and clinicians that CBT may help patients to reduce its phobia but just to an extent as according to David A.Yusko, not all phobias can be cured with CBT. Hence, this essay will be examining: “How effective is cognitive behavioral therapy play a role in the treatment of phobias”?