The assessment and treatment of specific phobias: a review

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006 Aug;8(4):298-303. doi: 10.1007/s11920-006-0066-3.


Specific phobia is one of the most common and easily treated mental disorders. In this review, empirically supported assessment and treatment procedures for specific phobia are discussed. Exposure-based treatments in particular are highlighted given their demonstrated effectiveness for this condition. The format and characteristics of exposure-based treatment and predictors of treatment response are outlined to provide recommendations for maximizing outcome. In addition, several other treatments for specific phobia are reviewed and critiqued, including cognitive therapy, virtual reality, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, applied tension, and pharmacologic treatments. The review concludes with a discussion of future directions for research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy / methods
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Phobic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antidepressive Agents