The Use of Online Resources in the Treatment of Three Cases of Simple Phobia
Numerous creative methods have been developed to incorporate computer technology into cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders. In contrast, little has been written about the role that computer technology might play in therapy with hypnosis. This article is an exploration of some basic ways that clinicians can use images from computer search engines and YouTube to enhance exposure therapy for phobias. These adaptations may be particularly useful for the subgroup of patients who have difficulty re-creating and experiencing vivid and compelling aversive imagery in hypnosis, and consequently are reluctant to pursue in vivo exposure. Three cases are presented that illustrate ways in which computer images of fear inducing stimuli can be used with traditional permissive hypnosis to amplify exposure therapy.
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ABSTRACT: Specific phobia is the most common and treatable of the anxiety disorders. Exposure-based therapies are the treatment of choice and empirically validated protocols are available that promise rapid and effective results. In many cases, however, patients are reluctant to comply with demanding schedules of exposure, increasing the risk of treatment failure. Furthermore, in clinical practice, patients often present with multiple phobias and other Axis I and Axis II disorders that can further complicate therapy. This article covers four important issues that have been addressed in the literature: (a) managing resistance to treatment, (b) reducing length of treatment, (c) clarifying the optimal application of relaxation training, and (d) applying advances in cognitive neuroscience. These issues are reviewed and recommendations proposed for ways in which to modify current treatments. Specific suggestions are provided for implementing these recommendations including examples of innovative applications of standard hypnotic techniques.
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