Fears and Phobias

PhobiasThere are thousands of fears and phobias, the majority of phobias have a great deal in common and hence they can be treated in a similar manner.

What is a ‘fear’?
Fear is felt when we are in the presence of a real danger, in this way it is the feeling associated with our body preparing itself to either fight the source of the danger, or escape from it.

What is a phobia?
A phobia is a similar, often extremely intense feeling of fear, which is caused this time, by a situation or object with doesn’t actually pose any real threat to our safety. Common with many phobias, is the feeling of loss of control in the given situation, this brings stress and anxiety, and often full scale panic. Often, the person will avoid the situation or object which brings these feelings, and when they avoid it, (and subsequently don’t get these feelings of anxiety), this only serves to re-enforce the link between the object or situation, and the fear.

Phobias are often caused by an intense feeling of terror being experienced as a child, becoming detached from the stimulus of that terror and becoming free to attach itself to another (innocuous) object or situation.

Once the fear becomes attached to this secondary object, a link is established which will subsequently cause the fear to be felt when the (new) stimulus is present.

Specific phobias
• Animal (insects, spiders, snakes, mice, etc)
• Environmental (thunderstorms, darkness)
• Injury (blood, needles, dental, surgery)
• Situations (driving, enclosed spaces, lifts, etc)
• Other (germs, illness, etc)

Complex phobias
There are two main complex phobias…
• Social Phobia (The fear of social situations and being judged)
• Agoraphobia (The fear of open spaces)