by Dr. Marianne de Jong
APRT is, indeed, fortunate to count among its members a growing number of colleagues in other countries who bring new understanding and perspectives to our work. We welcome their contributions. Dr. de Jong presents the reader with an exciting theory based on her work with agoraphobia.
As a psychotherapist with many phobic clients, I have found regression therapy to be an effective method for overcoming a specific fear. Agoraphobia, however, puts special demands on the therapist.
Staats (1975) defines a phobia as a defective stimulus or response control. For example, if the stimulus is a quiet street and the response is panic, fear, avoidance, and running away, clearly the response is not one that is normally elicited by such a stimulus. It would be a normal response, however, if the stimulus were a face-to-face confrontation with a roaring lion.
In regression therapy I try to find the “roaring lion” stimulus situation that elicits the out-of-control response of the phobic client. Thus, after attenuating the affect by flooding, implosive therapy, and, in some cases, cognitive restructuring (see glossary), I reinstate a correct stimulus control. The reincarnation concept offers an almost unlimited variety of roaring-lion situations, matching the out-of-control fears of clients.