Friday, 22 March 2013

Phobic Disorders - Cognitive Explanations of Phobic Disorders

Phobias may develop as a consequence of irrational thinking. Such thoughts create extreme anxiety and may trigger a phobia.
Dysfunctional Assumptions - There is support for the view that phobics have dysfunctional assumptions.

Gournay (1989) - found that phobics were more likely than normal people to overestimate risks, which might mean that they are generally more fearful and this results in them being more predisposed to developing phobias.
A further issue lies with determinism, the cognitive approach states that if you have dysfunctional assumptions, you will become a phobic.
Beck et al (1985) - proposed that phobias arise because people become afraid of situations where fears may occur. Beck also argued that phobics tend to overestimate their fears, increasing the likelihood of phobias.
This explanation suggests that phobias can be reduced to a simple set of principles such as faulty thinking, this is reductionist. It is more important to recognise that the ‘real’ explanations are likely to be a combination of a number of different explanations.
CBT - the success of CBT as a treatment for phobias can be seen as support for the explanation - it can be argued that, if a therapy changes the dysfunctional assumptions a person has and this leads to a reduction in their phobia, then the dysfunctional assumptions may originally have caused the disorder.

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