We all worry about things in our lives. However, some of us have phobias which involve experiencing intense fear about something specific which affects our day-to-day functioning. At Therapy Central, we have experienced therapists who can help you overcome phobias by drawing upon therapy approaches proven to be effective, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Phobias are intense fears of specific objects, situations or animals such as, spiders, snakes, needles, driving, vomiting, heights, public spaces (otherwise known as agoraphobia) and social situations (otherwise known as social phobia/social anxiety). This can cause significant distress and individuals can go to great lengths to avoid the specific object, situation or animal. However, avoidance serves to heighten a person’s fears and can lead to life becoming restrictive. This, in turn, can contribute to a less satisfying life which can lead to low mood/depression.
The anxiety and panic that the phobias elicit can lead to a stress response occurring in the body which results in several unpleasant physiological changes, such as:
Here are the most common types of phobias:
The cause of phobias can sometimes be traced back to a highly fearful event in the past. However some people are not able to recall such an experience that they can attribute the cause to.
Therapy for phobias is highly effective. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been show to be the most effective therapy for phobias. In therapy the cause of the phobia may be explored. However, therapy is often mainly focussed on identifying the triggers of your anxiety as well as understanding the factors that are keeping the phobia going and addressing these. You will be helped to learn that avoidance, although provides a short term sense of relief, actually increases your fears in the longer term. An important part of therapy involves learning tools to help you to manage the anxiety you face when gradually confronting your fears. Your fears will soon diminish enabling you to get back on track and do the things that you were not previously doing. This can help you to live a more fulfilling life again.
Therapy is often highly effective for phobias and some people can make significant gains in up to just six sessions. At times, people may require more sessions than this as further support is needed to tackle the phobia and learn additional coping tools to keep it at bay.
If you are experiencing a strong fear about something, it is causing significant distress and is affecting your day-to-day living it would helpful to seek therapy. Treatment for phobias can be suitable whether the difficulty is mild, moderate or severe.
There can be various benefits of counseling for phobias including:
Dr Raffaello Antonino, Counselling Psychologist
Dr Amy Smith, Counselling Psychologist