Psychology Sample Paper on Phobias

Bourne, Edmund J. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. New Harbinger Publications, 2011.


The author of this book illustrates how some Americans have suffered from panic attacks, phobias, and other anxiety disorders although very few people can seek treatment. The book also shows how at the end of the twenty-first century there has been a trend of mutual concern that has been brought up by uncertainties about economic stability and growing incidents of global terrorism. The author also outlines various types of phobias that affect the people and at the same time the cures that are used to treat the problems.



Phobia can be described as the feeling a person goes through when they are in danger or when something bad is about to happen. The feeling mostly involves a physical and a mental reaction that assists someone to get into action to secure themselves from an incident that is about to happen. Human beings act in the spirit of self-preservation in times of danger and are usually driven by a particular phobia. For instance, when a car drives too close to a person, the individual quickly moves away, and once the person is sure the danger has passed, the fear immediately diminishes.

A phobia is an excessive fear of a situation or a thing that can keep an individual safe from everyday harmful situations or occurrences. When a person experiences a particular phobia, he or she can do whatever they can in to avoid coming close to the situation or object of their fear. Additionally, some people spent a lot of time thinking about whether there is a likelihood they may encounter the situations or objects of their phobia. There are three primary types of phobia, which are agoraphobia, social phobia, which is also called social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia, which is also called the panic disorder.


Agoraphobia means the fear of open spaces or the fear of being helpless when experiencing a great inner danger(Bourne 11). However, according to Bourne, the meaning of agoraphobia is afraid of panic attacks (11). A person who has agoraphobia is scared of finding themselves in situations where it might be hard to escape or there might be no immediate help in case of some danger. For instance, the people who have agoraphobia usually avoid freeways or grocery stores because it might be too difficult to escape in the event of a panic attack. Furthermore, the Agoraphobics fear what other people may think should they be spotted at the time of a panic attack. The other places or situations the agoraphobias avoid are crowded places such as restaurants, enclosed or confined areas such as bridges or tunnels, and being at home alone.

In most cases, agoraphobia is caused by a panic disorder. Initially, the victim merely suffers from panic attacks that occur for no good reason, which in this case is the panic disorder (Kaczkurkin and Foa 338). After some time, the agoraphobic realizes that these panic attacks usually occur when the person is in enclosed or confined situations, which can be away from home or when the person is by himself or herself. All-inclusive avoidance of activities characterizes the severe cases of agoraphobia to the point the victim is unable to leave the house without being accompanied by someone else.

Agoraphobia affects people from all lifestyles and does not matter the victims socioeconomic status (Bourne 12). According to Bourne, nearly eighty percent of individuals who have agoraphobia are women (12). However, this number has been noted to reduce drastically in the recent past because more women engage in full-time jobs, which makes the housebound lifestyle to be less likely to occur. This change in the society might lead to the number of female agoraphobics to match that of men in the coming years.

Social Phobia

The social phobia, which is also called the social anxiety disorder, involves the fear of embarrassment or humiliations in situations where the victim is exposed to the scrutiny of other people (Bourne 13). This type of phobia is usually stronger than the usual fear non-phobic people experience in performance or social situations. Additionally, the phobia in some cases is too intense that it might cause the victim to abandon the situation altogether. Typically, the victim’s concern is that they may act in a manner that will cause people to judge them as weak, anxious, or stupid.

The most common type of the social phobia is the fear of public speaking. This kind of phobia affects speakers, performers, and individuals whose jobs require them to make public presentations. Additionally, the social phobia is usually common to students who have to speak before the class (Capps 3). The other types of social phobia include the fear of blushing in public, the fear of being watched while working, the fear of using public toilets, and the fear of taking examinations.


The Specific Phobia

A specific phobia usually involves being immensely afraid of a particular event or object. The distinctive feature of this type of phobia from the agoraphobia is that in this case there is no spontaneous panic attack. Furthermore, there is no fear of embarrassment in social situations as in the case of social phobia (Thompson E Davis, Ollendick and Öst 3). The phobia is usually high enough to affect the victim’s normal routines, work, or relationships. The exposure to a particular event can cause the victim to stress and in some cases can cause considerable anxiety. The most common specific phobias include animal phobias, which involves the fear of snakes, bats, and other wildlife, acrophobia or fear of heights, elevator phobia, airplane phobia, doctor or dentist phobia, the phobias of thunder or lighting, blood-injury phobia, and disease phobia or hypochondria.

According to Bourne, the specific phobias are the most common and affect nearly ten percent of the population of the world (16). However, since this type of phobia does not lead to extensive damage, most people do not end up seeking medical treatment. The specific phobia affects both men and women in equal measures, although the animal phobias mostly tend to be more common in women, while men are most likely to be affected by disease phobias. This kind of phobias is usually childhood fears that were never outgrown or traumatic events such as a visit to the dentist.


Fear of phobia is the feeling that a person gets when he or she is about to experience something bad. The most common types of phobia include agoraphobia, social phobia, and a specific phobia. Agoraphobia is the kind of fear that a person experiences when in open spaces or the fear of being helpless in times of danger. Examples of agoraphobia include the fear of crowded restaurants or bridges and tunnels. The social phobia is the fear of being embarrassed or humiliated when under scrutiny by other people. This kind of phobia mostly affects performers and individuals whose jobs involve making presentations. A typical example of the social phobia is the fear of public speaking. Lastly, the specific phobia involves an intense fear of a particular event or object by the victim. Examples of the specific phobia include the fear of a dentist and the fear of heights or acrophobia.




Works Cited

Bourne, Edmund J. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, 2011.

Capps, Donald. Social Phobia: Alleviating Anxiety in an Age of Self-Promotion. Eugene, Ore: Cascade Books, 2010.

Kaczkurkin, Antonia N. and Edna B. Foa. “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: An Update on the Empirical Evidence.” Dialogues Clin Neurosci (2015): 337-346.

Thompson E Davis, III., Thomas H Ollendick and Lars-Göran Öst. Intensive One-Session Treatment of Specific Phobias. New York, NY: Springer, 2012.