The Psychodynamic Approach To Phobias

The psychodynamic approach to phobias appears to be a study of psychosomatic abnormality when compared with the behavioral and biological approach.

This psychological approach mainly studies in details the roles of feelings, conflicts and drives at both the conscious and subconscious level.

In the biological approach the person is eventually visualized as biological specie, while in the behavioral approach the person’s reasoning, understanding and meditational processes are taken into consideration.
The psychodynamic approach to phobias is also commonly known as depthpsychology.

According to psychodynamic theorists, both rational and irrational behaviors arise from fundamental psychological forces.

The significance of the term “dynamic” in the psychodynamic approach to phobias rests upon the fact that these underlying psychological forces within an individual can be both contradictory as well as complimentary to one another.

To put it in a very simple form, a person behaves normally when he is able to resolve his inner conflicts or bring about a kind of coordination in the underlying forces.

On the other hand, a person is said to behave abnormally when he is unable to create steadfastness within himself or is incapable of taming his fundamental psychological forces within himself.

The psychodynamic approach to phobias actually deals with your unconscious and past experiences to analyze and estimate present behavioral approaches.

For instance, we can consider the case of an individual who without any reason becomes terribly horrified when coming in close contact with a particular situation or object.

The psychodynamic theorists will make the individual speak about his childhood experiences and the kind of relationship the person shared with his relatives and acquaintances.

May be a bitter experience of the past has played a significant role in damaging the person’s psychological equilibrium. This is how the psychodynamic approach to phobias performs its research work.

The psychodynamic approach to phobias works in association with cognitive and humanistic as well as behavioral and social therapies. In order to treat phobias a psychodynamic theorist takes the help of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

In this particular therapy, the patient is gradually exposed to fearful situations and thus it is commonly referred to as exposure-based therapy.

It mainly takes care of anxiety disorders. This specific treatment type is suitable for adults, adolescents and children.

The psychodynamic approach to phobias includes two of the most well known approaches including desensitization and flooding.

Methodical desensitization is a slow and gradual procedure in which the person is introduced to trivial apprehensive to severe apprehensive circumstances.

For example, a person who is afraid of snakes is first showed cartoon snakes, which look less dangerous.

Then, in the second step the person is shown pictures of live snakes, which seem to be a bit more frightening. In this way, the process goes on until the person becomes fully convinced and fearless of snakes.

The psychodynamic approach to phobias includes another interesting approach known as flooding, in which the victim is brought in direct association to most fearful circumstances.

However, the therapist makes the person realize that there is nothing to be afraid of and gradually the person overcomes his fear feeling totally comfortable and relaxed.

Both the above-mentioned therapies are significant in treating fears and phobias in their respective ways and both have come up with successful results.

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Posted by Jan Heering
Phobia Treatment Expert and author
Founder and President of the Morpheus Institute and

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