Fears, Phobias, and Anxiety

Please no plagiarism and make sure you are able to access all resource on your own before you bid. One of the references must come from Flamez, B. & Sheperis, C. J. (2015) and/or Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). I have also attached my discussion rubric so you can see how to make full points. Please respond to all 3 of my classmates separately with references. I need this completed by 12/15/18 at 10am.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings. Respond to your colleagues’ postings.

Respond in one or more of the following ways:

· Ask a probing question.

· Share an insight gained from having read your colleague’s posting.

· Offer and support an opinion.

· Validate an idea with your own experience.

· Make a suggestion.

· Expand on your colleague’s posting.

1. Classmate (K. Rog)

Fears, Phobias, and Anxiety

Main Discussion Post

Figuring out an accurate diagnosis is the beginning step when treating a mental disorder (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016). Anxiety and fear is a normal part of childhood development (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016). Unfortunately a lot of anxiety and fear that is experienced in childhood follows children and adolescents into adulthood. A child’s anxiety symptoms include affective, physiological, behavioral, and cognitive aspects (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016).  Childhood phobias are crippling (Roberts, Farrell, Waters, Oar, & Ollendick, 2016).

Common Adolescent Phobia

Studies have proven that it is common for young people to report fears that relate to animals, medical visits, and situational and environmental challenges (Muris & Field, 2010). A common adolescent phobia is being afraid to make new friends in a new environment. Individuals who experience social anxiety disorder have fear or anxiety that relates to social situations where they may be scrutinized (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016). Children who experience social anxiety disorder often have a desire to interact with others but forgo the opportunity due to fear that they will perform poorly or be perceived negatively (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016).

Potential Factors

One potential societal factor that may contribute to the fear of making new friends is the adolescent feeling that they are not worthy or popular enough to warrant a friendship. This could be based on the societal norms of name brand clothing, latest hairstyle, and even dialect. If any of these social norms are realized then this can subject the adolescent to being bullied. Peer bullying is a problem that exists worldwide (Pecjak & Pirc, 2017).  There is a perception that the school promotes a culture where showing aggression is a valid way for student affirmation as well as entertaining peers (Pecjak & Pirc, 2017).  With this in mind, the adolescent’s fear is justified in that they do not want to be penalized for not living up to others’ expectations.

One potential cultural factor is ethnicity. The Latina/o community is discriminated against often just for being of a different ethnicity that speaks a different language. The worldview of them is often negative and disheartening which adds to their stress and cultural challenges. Many Latina/o children struggle to find their own sense of belonging (Sue & Sue, 2016). In our society beauty is measured by Hollywood’s standards. African-Americans have full lips, full hips, various hair types, and various eye colors yet our beauty is often times seen as inferior to those of other ethnicities which can make us look at ourselves and question how we look and who we are.

One potential environmental factor is that the adolescent may have previously experienced a traumatic experience when trying to make new friends. Social anxiety disorder symptoms are often times developed during early childhood but remain undiagnosed for several years (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016). If the adolescent has previously had a bad experience with initiating new friendships then they would likely have a lot of anxiety concerning doing it again. The adolescent may be scared to repeat the same mistakes or concerned that they will freeze up, say the wrong thing or be too shy to say anything at all. The embarrassment of their past failures could easily be driving their current anxiety.

How to Help Parents/Guardians

Treatment can be enhanced when parents view their child’s mental health treatment in a positive way (Roberts et al., 2016).  Parents are encouraged to actively participate in their child’s mental health treatment process (Roberts et al., 2016). Being able to provide parents and guardians with resources that can help them work through their child’s anxiety would also be helpful. After giving them the resources, in the next counseling session we could review what they found and give them an opportunity to ask any follow-up questions.


Social anxiety disorder specifically focuses on performance that includes fear of avoidance behavior in relation to the public (Flamez & Sheperis, 2016). There are several factors that can contribute to this type of anxiety such as society, culture, and environment. Working with both the parents and the adolescents to overcome social anxiety disorder is extremely helpful in the treatment process.


Flamez, B., & Sheperis, C. J. (2016). Diagnosing and treating children and adolescents: A guide for clinical and school settings. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Muris, P., & Field, A. P. (2010). The Role of Verbal Threat Information in the Development of Childhood Fear. “Beware the Jabberwock!”. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review,13(2), 129-150. doi:10.1007/s10567-010-0064-1

Pečjak, S., & Pirc, T. (2017). Bullying and Perceived School Climate: Victims’ and Bullies’ Perspective. Studia Psychologica, 59(1), 22-33. doi:10.21909/sp.2017.01.728

Roberts, C. L., Farrell, L. J., Waters, A. M., Oar, E. L., & Ollendick, T. H. (2015). Parents’ Perceptions of Novel Treatments for Child and Adolescent Specific Phobia and Anxiety Disorders. Child Psychiatry & Human Development,47(3), 459-471. doi:10.1007/s10578-015-0579-2

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

2. Classmate (H. Plo)

Phobias differ from typical childhood fears.  Phobias are communicated through a child’s behavior such as crying, freezing, tantrums, avoidance, etc.  These behaviors are persistent and last for six months or more (American Psychological Association, 2013).  Researchers continue to strive to discover the innate causes of phobias. There are also several studies devoted to the most effective strategies for treating phobias.

Common Child Phobia

A fear develops into a phobia if it has occurred for at least six months (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).  According to the DSM-5 (2013), phobias occur in children of the United States with a frequency of about 5% and 16% among adolescents. One common child phobia is the fear of animals, zoophobia.  One study found the first symptoms of zoophobia occur in children 8-10 years old (Ajdacic-Gross, Rodgers, Muller, Hengartner, Aleksandrowicz, et. al, 2016). There are several, more specific, animal phobias within the umbrella of zoophobia.

Potential Factors

One potential factor for the development of zoophobia is a traumatic event (Ajdacic-Gross, Rodgers, Muller, Hengartner, Aleksandrowicz, et. al, 2016).  For example, if a child went to a petting zoo and was chased by a chicken then he or she may develop a fear of chickens. This fear could evolve into a phobia if the child does not confront the stimulus causing the panic reaction.  A child could be encouraged by parents and/or guardians to first look at and slowly progress to feeding or touching a chicken.

Another potential factor is environmental (American Psychological Association, 2013).  Children observe others in their environment and tend to react to stimulus similarly. Many studies have shown a correlation between families and phobic disorders (Steinhausen, Jacobsen, Meyer, Jorgensen, & Lieb, (2016).  This could be attributed to the evolutionary behavior of survival of the species. For example, members of a species group had a better chance of surviving in the wild if they reacted to stimuli quickly. Therefore, when one member of the group reacted the others were soon to follow.

A third potential factor is personal variables between age and the phobia (Phobias, 2018).  Knowledge increases with age and experience. If a child has never encountered a type of animal then he or she may be inherently afraid of it because it is unknown.  For example, if a child has never observed a goat then he or she may become afraid of the unknown.

Parents/Guardians Support

One method to support parents and/or guardians is to encourage their participation in the therapy process.  The client having the support of parents, guardians, or others could increase the effectiveness of treatment due to consistency during and out of therapy sessions.  When parents and/or guardians participate in the child’s therapy attendance increases and motivation improves (Haine-Schlagel & Walsh, 2015). For example, when parents participate during a child’s therapy the attendance is higher.  Also, strategies learned during therapy could also be utilized at home and other environments.  This could increase the effectiveness of therapy.




Ajdacic-Gross, V., Rodgers, S., Müller, M., Hengartner, M., Aleksandrowicz, A., Kawohl, W., … Preisig, M. (2016). Pure animal phobia is more specific than other specific phobias: epidemiological evidence from the Zurich Study, the ZInEP and the PsyCoLaus. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, 266(6), 567–577. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s00406-016-0687-4

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Haine-Schlagel, R., & Walsh, N. E. (2015). A review of parent participation engagement in child and family mental health treatment. Clinical child and family psychology review, 18(2), 133-50.

Phobias. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved December 05, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/phobias

Steinhausen, H.-C., Jakobsen, H., Meyer, A., Jorgensen, P. M., & Lieb, R. (n.d.). Family Aggregation and Risk Factors in Phobic Disorders over Three-Generations in a Nation-Wide Study. PLOS ONE, 11(1). https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0146591

3. Classmate (N. Jon)

Every child experiences a sense of fear or anxiety as part of normal childhood development (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). Depending on where one is developmentally different fears or phobias may arise. Common fears in children are examples such as the dark, animals (such as dogs), and other people (such as strangers or Santa) (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). However, sometimes those fears develop into phobias. In fact, a specific phobia “is the most common anxiety disorder in children and adolescents” (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). Looking at the specific phobia of the Dental Phobia, I will explain three potential factors that may contribute to the development of such a phobia. Then, I will explain one way that I, as a professional counselor, might help parents or guardians support their child in overcoming a phobia of the dentist.

Dental Phobia

Dental Phobia, as defined by Seligman, Hovey, Chacon, & Ollendick (2017), “is a persistent and excessive fear of dental stimuli and procedures that result in avoidance or significant distress.” Fear of the dentist is considered a developmentally normal fear in young children, but when it progresses to the point that it begins to impact the quality of life for the child, a diagnosis of dental phobia should be assessed for. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) classifies dental phobia as a specific phobia within blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia type (2013). It is important to note; however, that there is some discrepancy and discussion regarding its classification as evidence shows it has varying factors from a typical BII phobia.


Dental phobia presents itself in many ways, ranging from tantrums, excessive fidgeting, and even refusal of treatment (Sheligman et. al., 2017). In order to also be considered a phobia, and not just a fear, it must also be considered debilitating and shown to interfere with normal functioning (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). This includes having an impact on a child’s health and possibly quality of life.

Three Factors

There are many factors to consider when looking at the reasons and causes for dental phobia. Most phobias are a result of direct and indirect learning experiences and most children grow out of them (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). Dental phobia is no exception. Three factors that may contribute to the development of dental phobia is family/cultural beliefs, learned experiences, and media. Research shows anxiety, fear, and a painful experience associated with dental work is extremely common but that most children do not develop dental phobia because of it (Sheligman, et. al., 2017). It would appear that a painful experience early on with little positive exposure lays the foundation for potential dental phobia. In addition, the beliefs held by family and the surrounding culture plays a role as well (Sheligman, et. al., 2017). Parents or older siblings that have anxiety and fear regarding the dentist are likely to impact young children who may already have trepidation about such an experience. In addition, children in lower economic status tend to have higher rates of dental anxiety and fear, with a direct correlation being made to higher levels of dental issues such as tooth decay (Sheligman, et. al., 2017). This results in greater levels of painful experiences, which contributes to the development of a dental phobia. While little research exists with regard to the impact of media on dental phobia, it is not uncommon to find horror movies depicting the dentist as a sort of torture experience. Such exposure, especially is a young child, can contribute to conditioning the child with regard to beliefs about dental experiences.

Helping Parents

With research indicating that the number one contributing factor to dental phobia being painful and/or traumatizing direct experiences at an early age, parents play a large role in helping mitigate this phobia. Providing proper emotional support and encouragement, helping to educate and prepare the child for what to expect, and working through any anxiety or post-experience trauma can help a child understand, accept, process, and move through a negative experience. As a professional counselor, one way I could help parents who have a child already exhibiting signs of dental phobia would be to offer services to the child as well as the family. By helping equip the child and the parents with anxiety-reducing techniques, exposure therapy, and psychoeducation, I can help the family as a whole work together to help the child reduce and/or eliminate any dental related anxiety.


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders(5 ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Burnham, J. J. (2009). Contemporary fears of children and adolescents: Coping and resiliency in the 21st Century. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87(1), 28–35. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Flamez, B. & Sheperis, C. J. (2015). Diagnosing and treating children and adolescents: A guide for clinical and school settings. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Seligman, L. D.,

Hovey, J. D., Chacon, K., & Ollendick, T. H. (2017). Dental anxiety: An understudied problem in youth. Clinical Psychology Review, 55, 25–40. https://doi org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2017.04.004

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Required Resources

Learning Resources

Please read and view (where applicable) the following Learning Resources before you complete this week’s assignments.


· Flamez, B. & Sheperis, C. J. (2015). Diagnosing and treating children and adolescents: A guide for clinical and school settings. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  • Chapter 3 “Developing and        Evaluating Client Treatment Plans”
  • Chapter 10 “Anxiety        Disorders”
  • Burnham, J. J. (2009). Contemporary      fears of children and adolescents: Coping and resiliency in the 21st      Century. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87(1),      28–35.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Flatt, N., & King, N.      (2008). Building the case for brief psychointerventions in the treatment      of specific phobias in children and adolescents. BehaviourChange, 25(4),      191–200.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Document:Child and Adolescent Counseling Cases: Fears and Phobias Click for more options
  • Document:Treatment Plan Guidelines Click for more options
  • DSM-5 BridgeDocument: Fears and Phobias Click for more options
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