Use Your iPhone to Fix Phobias

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Phobias are the most common psychiatric problems, ranging from fear of flying and heights to needles and spiders. Traditional treatment consists of psychotherapy, specifically exposure to the stimulus with attempts to control the response. Now, a new offering from Self-Study Apps purports a similar approach in the comfort of your own home.

The app goes for $2.99 and has different sections for dealing with dentists, spiders, and flying. We tested "Fear Dentists," which should appeal to our anti-dentite readers. The app shows a picture of a teddy bear for a few seconds, then it shows a picture of the stimulus, in this case a set of teeth being threatened by a sharp implement, although you can select your own image or take a photo. Next, you use your finger to blur the evil dental picture. Following, the screen flashes between the blurred image and the teddy bear. This repeats several times, then an affirming message is displayed.

The website purports to use a form of neuro-linguistic programming, and has some basic info about different treatments for phobias. Although we can't say if this app works due to our fearless lack of phobias, and the app and website aren't the most polished, it is worth a try if you are struggling with a phobia.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

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