My Client and His Ant Phobia

At this point I think we have covered the most common forms of therapy that I typically implement with my clients. There are obviously a number of different other forms that are practiced and each one is used for different scenarios with the level of effectiveness and success rates varying from each case.

I would like to talk a little more detail about a client that I have worked with recently because I think it helps tie everything together.

Real Life Application

So if you have missed it or forgot, I mentioned a few posts ago that I recently had a client, we’ll call him Bob, who was absolutely mortified at even the thought of ants. Just like most phobias and other anxiety disorders, they (for the most part) are completely irrational.

antsEver since Bob could remember, he has had a horrific fear of ants. He genuinely does not know where it came from but he has had to deal with it for his entire life and it has affected his every day way of living.

So what form of therapy do you think would work best?

Well, in this case if you said behavior therapy you are correct. We started off by simply showing Bob pictures of a few ants and over the coarse of weeks we gradually increased, or desensitized him, by increasing his exposure. I found an exterminator in Chandler, AZ who was awesome and helped me with my client. Of course, they were licensed & insured and would never do this kind of exposure without taking the proper precautions. After months of work and targeting problem thoughts and behaviors, we were able to eventually make Bob comfortable enough to at least be in the same room as the ants which might not seem like much but for Bob was a life changing experience.

The same techniques can be applied to a number of phobias. If Bob was terrified of rodents, we would have used and looked for rats or mice in our desensitization exercises but used the same methods.