Fears and Phobias

The word ‘Phobia’ comes from the Greek ‘Phobos’ meaning fear. A phobia can be described as an extreme, irrational fear of, or aversion to, a particular thing or situation. Phobias are generally categorised as either a social phobia, in which there is a fear of social situations in general, or a specific phobia, in which there is a fear of an identifiable object, place or situation.

If you have a phobia, you will be all too familiar with the racing heart, sense of dread and very real fear that go hand in hand with it.  The phobic response can be triggered not only by direct interaction with the feared stimulus, but also just by thinking about it. It can lead to extreme mental and physical discomfort, panic attacks and avoidance behaviour.

Phobias are often irrational

A phobic response is typically out of proportion to the feared stimulus and recognised as irrational, but the person feels helpless to control it. As you can imagine, this can be extremely disruptive when the thing which is feared can’t be avoided in everyday life.

Examples of specific phobias can include the fear of needles, flying, the dentist or spiders, as well as less common fears such as foods of a specific colour.

Regardless of how obscure a phobia may seem, it is important to remember that it is essentially no different to a more common phobia, and is treated in exactly the same way.

Social Phobia

Social phobia can cause a debilitating fear of social situations and lead to extreme shyness, worrying and avoidance of social situations altogether. This can result in isolation, loneliness and more generalised anxiety and low mood.

Phobias can arise from the experience of a traumatic event, or the witnessing of a traumatic event, which is then associated with the feared stimulus.

The traumatic event can be something seemingly minor (and perhaps forgotten) which caused an emotional disturbance at the time. Phobias can also be learnt from parents and caregivers.

Thankfully, the phobic response can be unlearnt.  Guided visualisations allow your brain to get used to the feared situation or object and ‘over-write’ the phobic template stored within your subconscious.  So that when you actually come into contact with it, its much more emotionally neutral.

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