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Claustrophobia is an excessive fear of enclosed spaces. The fear can include small rooms such as elevators, crowded spaces such as concerts, and situations in which there is a feeling of being trapped, as may be the case in an airplane. People who have claustrophobia experience excessive fear to the point of being significantly distressed, or such that the fear results in impairment in functioning (think refusal to take a plane or ride an elevator). Claustrophobia can present a wide range of problems, from being limited in the ways one can travel, reluctance to have an MRI, avoidance of parties or other gatherings, etc.
Fortunately, there is a highly effective treatment for claustrophobia, based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. 90% of people who undertake this treatment for claustrophobia experience a remission of symptoms by the 10th session. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven in study after study to be the most effective claustrophobia treatment, lasting as few as five to ten sessions.
Claustrophobia treatment begins with identifying situations that trigger undue anxiety, and arranging them in a hierarchy from most triggering to least triggering. This hierarchy is then used to identify unhelpful thought patterns, and learning to replace them with more adaptive ways of thinking about these situations. Once the client becomes more comfortable with these situations through thinking about them differently, the hierarchy is used for putting the client in the situations they fear. Beginning with the least triggering situation, the client builds mastery of each situation, working her way through the entire hierarchy. By the end of treatment, the client feels significantly less anxiety in reaction to these situations, and is effectively cured of claustrophobia.
At Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles, we specialize in treatment of anxiety disorders, including claustrophobia treatment. Call or email today for an appointment.