Sunday, 30 August 2009

Comment by Ysabeth which is really worth thinking about on phobias

Ysabeth, a frequent visitor and contributor to this blog wrote the following comment:
Most phobias are based on a rational concern, which has overgrown into an irrational fear that interferes with ordinary activities. For instance, a fear of snakes is based on the fact that some snakes are dangerous and most will nip if they feel threatened, which makes it prudent to be careful about them. But a phobia can be triggered by a *photo* of a snake, even though the photo cannot cause direct harm. The challenge is to bring the phobia back into the rational and managable range, without denying whatever factual basis it might have."
I find this an extremely interesting comment. Even a pictorial representation of the dreaded object can trigger fear, even though the individual knows that he/she cannot be harmed by a picture. In my view this would seem to strenghten the case for behavourial desensitization. By that I mean in this example gradual exposure to anything related to the presence of a snake - perhaps starting with a picture, then a model, then a video then actually visiting a zoo etc etc.

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