A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety.
Phobias come in many types;
- Animals – includes spiders, dogs
- Sexual – Aversion, Excessive fear of getting an STI and Performance
- Environmetal/Situational – agoraphobia, claustrophobia, social, heights, flying, holidays, dental
- Body & Health – blood injury and injection, claustrophobia, germs, shapes and holes to name a few.
A number of studies have found that many people who suffered from Phobias did not seek psychological treatment due to worry, particularly that they will be asked to re-experience the phobia. So how can phobia therapy create a sense of safety while working on phobias that clearly are causing distress?
Although everyone will be different in their triggers, severity and causation factors, a number of principles are adopted during phobia therapy to keep people safe and alleviate distress:
1/ The work is at your pace and you are fully in control. You will not be asked to talk, imagine or work on any aspects that you are not ready for. At any time you can stop.
2/ Phobia cures do not have to involve introducing the triggers that lead to phobic reactions. Where triggers are deliberately introduced these are at a manageable level according to your pace.
3/ You do not need to talk about the phobia. In depth talking of the phobia is not needed in most cases and working without focusing on content “content free” is an option
4/ Where you are asked to imagine scenarios that could cause a phobic trigger, (I use a variety of methods including NLP phobia cure, EMDR and Hypnotherapy) resources and techniques are installed to trigger relaxation while desensitizing (removing symptoms) from the phobic experiences. For example, by learning to keep a distance and/or dissociate from the actual trigger and events
5/ Working with the methods you feel comfortable with. Although I am able to recreate actual environments in the therapy room to test and desensitize from phobias, the approach adopted will be based on your needs which are discussed at the initial session.