Avesta2003
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Hi all. Not a psychology student, just a curious polymath.
I have read that one can use 'flooding' as a method of dealing with phobias.
How can one use flooding for a patient with thanatophobia? Is it even possible?
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OxFossil
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(Original post by Avesta2003)
Hi all. Not a psychology student, just a curious polymath.
I have read that one can use 'flooding' as a method of dealing with phobias.
How can one use flooding for a patient with thanatophobia? Is it even possible?
My intial thought is that thanatophobia isn't suitable for a flooding approach. Flooding seems most appropriate where the phobia is a clearly defined irrational fear, with relatively easy-to-specify associations and beliefs. An example might be arachnophobia, where a typical fears might be of them biting, or running over one's face while asleep. It is fairly easy to demonstrate the irrationality of these fears through exposure to images and/or real spiders. Fears of death and the associated beliefs are likely to be much more complex. What's more, there is an entirely rational core - its hard to argue that an basic aversion to dying is irrational or unreasonable. In a person without a spider phobia, repeated exposure to spiders is unlikely to produce more than boredom. But show them lots of pictures of dead or dying people, and they are likely to get upset as a whole mess of unpleasant associations are aroused.

A more reasonable approach for thanatophobia might be to try and isolate the particular ideas or associations that are causing distress and work on those specifically. For example, if religious idea about facing eternal torture is causing problems, you might want to examine what the basis for that beliefs is, in the same way as one might talk through an irrational fear about how spiders hold personal grudges.
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