Following the exploration of the previous blog on specific phobias, so what exactly are the causes of specific phobias? Researchers are uncertain about the exact cause of specific phobias, however the current consensus is that specific phobias are exacerbated if someone in your family already experiences them. Researchers also contend that if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety such as; extreme negative thoughts, extreme worries and have a tendency to avoid the unknown. This puts the individual at a higher risk to develop a specific phobia. Experiencing traumatic events such as; suffering abuse, losing a parent or experiencing a traumatic event related to the particular fear puts the individual at a higher risk of developing a specific phobia.


In terms of treatment research has consistently shown that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been proven to be effective in treating specific phobias. CBT interventions will aid in altering the perception towards the specific behaviour which causes distress. Exposure therapy is a particular favourite when treating specific phobias, this is a CBT technique in which there is a gradual introduction to the feared object or event. The introduction tends to be gradual, in which skills are acquired in order to regulate one’s emotions prior to the full blown exposure to the fearful event or object.


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Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on

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