Phobias Understanding Intake Interviews for Phobias By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 20, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Hero Images / Getty Images An intake interview is your first appointment with a therapist. During this initial appointment, he or she will ask various questions in order to make, or come closer to making a diagnosis and to create a personalized treatment plan for you. The initial appointment is also your time to ask your therapist questions. The questions your therapist asks depend on a variety of factors, including the reason you gave for coming there, your age, and any pre-existing conditions. He or she may ask you the questions directly and/or give you a diagnostic test on paper or online. The Three Types of Phobia If you seek treatment for phobia, the intake interview questions will also depend on the type of phobia you have and its severity. The three types of phobia are: Agoraphobia (avoiding places or situations you fear) Specific phobia (a fear of a certain object or situation) Social phobia (social anxiety disorder) Intake Interview for Agoraphobia During your intake interview for agoraphobia, your therapist will see if you meet the criteria created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for a clinical diagnosis. He or she will ask if you feel fear or anxiety when you: Use public transportationAre in an open space, such as a stadium or bridgeAre in an enclosed space, such as an elevator or classroomWait in line or are in a crowdLeave the house by yourself To make an agoraphobia diagnosis, he or she may ask you if: You do what you can to avoid the situationYour fear is out of proportion to the actual potential for dangerYour fear causes significant problems in your personal life or at work Intake Interview for Social Anxiety Social phobia is also known as social anxiety disorder (SAD). Your therapist is, again, checking the boxes for the APA-specified criteria, and also asking questions to rule out other psychological issues like depression during the intake interview. Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder They may ask if you have an intense and persistent fear of: People judging you in social situationsBeing humiliated by your actionsPeople noticing your signs of anxiety, including sweating and shaking Your therapist might also question you about your overall mood, asking you to think about whether you spend more days than not feeling the following: Depressed or sadDisinterest in lifeGuilty or worthless Intake Interview for Specific Phobia Specific phobia is one of the most common psychological problems. As with the other types of phobia, it shares symptoms with other psychological disorders, including social phobia and agoraphobia. This is why answering your therapist's questions honestly is so important to get a correct diagnosis. Questions your therapist might ask you during an intake interview for specific phobia include: Do certain situations make you feel sudden terror, fright, anxiety, worry, or nervousness?Are you overcome with thoughts of bad things happening to you or of being injured?Do you have a persistent fear that interferes with your daily life, including at home and at work?Have you ever distracted yourself to avoid thinking about your trigger? Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Craske M, Wittchen U, Bogels S, Stein M, Andrews G, Lebeu R. Severity Measure for Agoraphobia—Adult. American Psychiatric Association. Published 2013. Craske M, Wittchen U, Bogels S, Stein M, Andrews G, Lebeu R. Severity Measure for Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)—Adult. American Psychiatric Association. Published 2013. Craske M, Wittchen U, Bogels S, Stein M, Andrews G, Lebeu R. Severity Measure for Specific Phobia—Adult. American Psychiatric Association. Published 2013. By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.