Specific phobias involve a marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the
presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, driving, heights, animals,
receiving an injection, seeing blood, etc.). Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably
provokes an immediate anxiety response. Phobic situations are either avoided or endured with
intense anxiety or distress. This avoidance , anxious anticipation, or distress interferes significantly
with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or
relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
Cognitive-Behavioral treatment for specific phobias involves helping you to confront what you fear
rather than avoiding it. Avoidance perpetuates the fear due to the fact that when you avoid, a test of
your beliefs that are the foundation of your fears, is not possible. Your therapist will help you to
gradually confront your fears so that it is not overwhelming and teach you methods to relax while you
do this. Depending upon the nature of what you fear, Cognitive-Behavioral treatments have demon-
strated in controlled scientific trials to produce 74% to 94% improvement.