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Phobias are persistent fears of an object or situation whose exposure leads to an immediate increase in anxiety and eventual panic. Moderate phobias are common in the population but it becomes a bigger problem if the object that leads to fear is often found and unavoidable.


The phobias model suggests that negative experiences, beliefs of vulnerability and incompetence, among other factors, may predispose to the problem. A specific object or situation, when interpreted as threatening, leads to an increase in anxiety symptoms, in general, similar to the symptoms found in agoraphobia and panic. Exaggerated predictions about danger, negative physiological symptoms and hypervigilance are the factors that keep the cycle going. Safety and avoidance behaviors also cause the phobia to continue, because they prevent negative predictions from being confirmed.


Overestimating the dangers of suffering damage, suffering, etc., and their consequences, as well as underestimating the ability to deal with situations and other factors, such as the help of others, are key negative cognitions to be challenged in the therapeutic process.

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