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Cognitive Aspects of Phobic Disorders

Item 1.

Three key words are essential to understand to cope with everyday events.

  • Expectation (or anticipation)
  • Appraisal (or assessment)
  • Performance (or certain type of behaviour)


Item 2.

Those three words listed in Item 1. can be used in a negative and automatic way.


Item 3.

The Expectation

  • Thoughts about coming events – “I am nervous about going out”.
  • A person who is on the look-out for the coming event
    – “what will happen?” “It’s a bit hard”.
  • Belief in one’s ability to master or control the event. “I doubt if I can manage; what if I spill my peas?”
  • Beliefs are based on previous evaluations of similar events. “I always do something embarrassing.”
  • It is probable that I will feel uncomfortable and there will be too many people there.


Item 4.

The Appraisal

  • Judgement of the event. “It will be dangerous – I will feel trapped and afraid”.
  • The event is evaluated. “It’s too hard”.
  • Alternative courses are planned. “I have thought of six things.”
  • Judgement about the outcome of various plans. “They will all lead to me being trapped and not enjoying myself.”
  • Assessment of potential performance if one uses Plan A. “I will make a fool of myself.”
  • Selection of the correct plan. “No plan will help me.”
  • Personal assessment of performance during and after the event. “I will let myself down.”
  • I expect to fail and therefore I won’t be able to cope.


Item 5.

The Performance

  • If the assessment of the various choices is negative, then failure is predicted. To avoid failure, the performance or behaviour is one of avoidance.


Item 6.

It is important to remember other aspects of thinking that link up with Item 1.

  • The faulty belief: I don’t like eating out.
  • Seeing an event as danger and feeling vulnerable about it.
  • Using past memories as proof that the social event will end up as a disaster.
  • The secondary emotional response if avoidance occurs. “I’m angry with myself.” “I’ve let other friends down.”


Item 7.

Recognise these thinking habits and use more positive thoughts and then the performance will be normal and positive.


Credit: This resource was handed during my dr sessions. It has been transcribed with approval from psychiatrist but is the property of him