What is a phobia?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a Phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the Phobia involves a sense of danger or a fear of harm. For example, those suffering from Agoraphobia fear being trapped in an inescapable place or situation, an elevator lift or even their own home.
A phobia may have it’s roots in something that actually happened in the past, often in childhood, however the ongoing fear can seem quite irrational, though very real to the sufferer. Paul has worked with many people and have helped them explore their phobia and to understand the initial reasons for the fear.
What are the symptoms of a phobia
Phobic symptoms can occur through exposure to the fear or a situation, or sometimes simply thinking about the feared object can lead to an Anxious response. Common symptoms associated with phobias include:
- A sense of unreality
- Fear of dying
In some cases, these symptoms can escalate into full-scale Anxiety or a Panic Attack. As a consequence of these symptoms, some individuals may isolate themselves, leading to severe difficulties in daily life. In other cases, the individual may seek out medical care due to a constant concern with imagined or perceived illnesses or imminent death.
If a phobia has reached this point, immediate help should be sought.
There are 3 types of Phobia:
- Social phobias – Fear of social situations, for example Crowds.
- Trapping Phobias – Fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation, maybe an escalator or Lift.
- Specific phobias – Fear of a specific objects, such as a snake.
There are four major categories of specific phobias:
- The Natural World – maybe a fear of lightening, water, storms, or fire.
- Animals – maybe a fear of snakes, rodents, spiders, or sharks.
- Medical – maybe a fear of seeing blood, receiving Injections, visiting a doctor, or dentist.
- Situational – maybe a fear of bridges, leaving the home, driving, crowds or elevators/lifts.
Phobias are very common, phobias affect more than 10% of the UK population. Phobias are the most common mental health disorder in the United States, far more women than men are affected by phobias. In many cases, people are able to recognize that their fear is irrational and therefore take steps to overcome their phobia. According to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders, only about 10 percent of reported cases become life-long phobias, though whilst they are current, they can severely disrupt the lives of the sufferer and their families and cause extreme anxiety.
Treatments for Phobias.
There are a number of treatment approaches for phobias. The effectiveness of a treatment depends on the individual and the type of phobia. These are just Two of the potential phobia treatments:
- Exposure Treatment The client is exposed to the fear “object” in order to help them overcome their fear. One type of exposure treatment is “flooding”, in which the patient is confronted by the fear object for an extended length of time without the opportunity to escape. The goal of this method is to help the individual face their fear and realize that the fear object will not harm them. This method can be very scary for people, though the success rate is high.
- Counter Conditioning This is my preferred method of Therapeutic Intervention. In this method, the client is taught a new response to the fear object. Rather that panic in the face of the feared object or situation, the client learns relaxation techniques to replace anxiety and fear. This new behaviour is then incompatible with the previous panicked response, so the phobic response gradually fades away. Counter Conditioning is often used with patients who are unable to handle exposure treatments.
This method also benefits from the use of CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) I have helped many clients using this approach. If you have a Phobic condition and would like to be set free from the fear,.
You can get help with your phobia, online counseling is very effective and convenient from the safety of your home or work place. Feeling safe is an important aspect in dealing with any phobia, which makes online counselling a good choice for people with phobias.
Professional and experienced Online Counsellor (Therapist) and Online Life Coach Paul Parkin’s Phobia Counselling experience.
I am an experienced, professional online counsellor, with over 15 years experience working as a counsellor (therapist) and life coach offering confidential, affordable counselling online to clients anywhere in the world.
By living a simple life and working from home I have reduced my costs enabling me to reduce the session fees for clients, making counselling online more accessible to people seeking counselling online.
I have worked in the field of phobia counselling and therapy for several years both face to face and online counselling. I helps people identify the underlying reasons for phobias and then works with clients to address the factors which can affect how they live and exist. Most phobias are a result of fear and some earlier negative experience.
Please help me. I wash my hands every 15 minutes, I clean the house every 4 hours, I am terrified of feeling dirty. Do I need help?
I have been like this all my adult life, but it is worse than ever now. I was sexually abused as a young teen, I think there is a link to feeling dirty.
I can only do this counselling online, not face to face. Please help me.
I think you realise that your behaviour is interfering with what would be considered a normal routine. The fear of being or feeling dirty is called Automysophobia and it is very common in cases of sexual abuse. The condition or behaviour you describe is a psychological illness, probably due to a stressful or traumatic past event, being sexually abused would constitute such a trauma.
It can be treated by talking to a qualified counselor, with experience of treating phobias and experience of working with survivors of past sexual abuse and rape.
The following page may be of some help sexual abuse
Best wishes Paul, online counsellor (therapist) and online life coach.