Specific Phobia

Although this disorder has been reported across different cultures, the DSM-IV (1994) advises clinicians to diagnosis a client with this disorder "only if the fear is excessive in the context of that culture and causes significant impairment or distress" (p. 407). For example, many members of the Hispanic community often share fear of spirits, ghosts, and witches. In this case, if anxiety responses resulting from that fear do not exceed the expected level in that community and the individual is able to control his or her emotions, the diagnosis should not be applied.

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