Dan suffers from claustrophobia. This fear has begun to interfere with his job and other parts of his life. A marine biologist, Dan could study below the ocean’s surface much more efficiently if he weren’t afraid to go underwater in small submarines. He decides early in life he was accidentally trapped inside a small cave while playing with friends.
Instead of psychoanalysis, Dan may choose behavioral therapy. Rather than focusing on the cause of his problem, the therapist will try to change his habit of avoiding small, enclosed places. The therapist will use behavior modification to help Dan face his fears. The therapist may help Dan learn to be in a small room, and try to relax at the same time. By repeating this many times, Dan learns to link small places with relaxation. Dan may also learn to feel proud each time he enters a small room without being afraid and may reward himself with small treats.