Psychodynamic explanation for phobias

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Phobias are caused by a conflict in the unconscious mind

The phobic anxiety is actually displaced anxiety from an underlying issue-potentially unconscious sexual fears. Manifest behaviours are produced through ego defence mechanisms:

Repression:pushing feelings we find discomforting into the unconscious

Displacement:a person shifts his/her feelings onto another object

Ego defence mechanisms are there to protect us from harm. The original source of the fear is repressed into the unconscious and this is why it appears irrational as it has no conscious explanation

The phobic objects are symbolic of deeper fears that can't be acknowledged in the conscious mind. Fear may be displaced onto innocuous or symbolic objects

Little Hans repressed castration anxiety and fear of his father into his unconscious, this was then displaced onto the symbolic object:horse

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