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Exposure-based cognitive-behavioural therapy is the treatment of choice for specific phobias. A phobia, or an extreme fear of a specific situation or object that results in severe distress or highly avoidant behaviour around those objects or situations, can interfere with day-to-day functioning. Using cognitive restructuring strategies with graduated exposure to the feared object, the therapist helps the client to correct anxiety-evoking misappraisals and to replace them with more realistic interpretations and predictions. In this video, Dr. Tompkins works with a man with a cat phobia. The client's cat phobia has evolved over time, and he has experienced interference in his personal and professional life. Dr. Tompkins supplements exposure-based strategies with cognitive restructuring to help the client to clarify and change his phobic predictions and decrease his avoidant behaviour.
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About the Author

Michael A. Tompkins, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, a founding partner of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a diplomat and founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

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