Fears and Phobias
Things that go bump in the night and other scary stuff!
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Is your fear a problem?
If you rarely encounter your fear or phobia you might feel that it is manageable and you don’t need any help.
However, most phobias don’t get better by themselves and, unfortunately, they often get worse due to our brains generalising the thing that we are afraid of.
In this country a fear of snakes, for instance, isn’t too much of a problem but if you were planning a holiday to a more tropical climate you might run into snakes more often. Or you might want to go on an outing to the zoo and your child might want to visit the Reptile House. That can be a real dilemma!
There are many ways in which our fears can limit the way we live our day-to-day lives and it’s also important to remember the impact your fears are having on those around you.
A question for every parent is simply, are you passing your fears onto your children?
The Little Albert Experiment
Back in the 1920’s there was an experiment named “Little Albert”, in which a young 9 month old infant was conditioned to be afraid of rats by experimenters who banged a steel bar loudly at the same time as exposing him to a rat.
After a short time, Albert started to show fear when exposed to articles that were similar to the rat, such as pieces of cotton wool, a Santa beard and even the family pet. This is a process known as classical conditioning, which can produce a phobia that gets worse through generalisation. More details can be found at The Simply Psychology Organisation.
How fears and phobias take over
Past clients have told me stories about their fears and phobias and how they avoided dealing with these issues.
- Driving miles out of the way so as to avoid main roads.
- Unable to eat many different types of food, so unable to enjoy family meals or look at menus in restaurants.
- Fearful of vomiting or being around others who might feel sick, so avoiding eating out in public or being near anybody who might be coming down with a cold or virus.
- Drowning fears, therefore unable to go for walks along the canal, to the swimming baths or near any type of lake or stream.
- Worried about public speaking, so ruining chances of promotion at work as coming across as timid and unambitious.
- Terrified of spiders which, for example, involved in-depth room checking every single day, wasting hours of free time and creating obsessive focus.
Reacting to your phobia
Each time you react to your phobia you will be promoting a feedback loop of fear and anxiety that will make the phobia even more persistent.
Therefore, it’s easy to see that your focus and attention is always on what your brain thinks is important to you – so the more fearful you are about something, the more your brain will notice it.
Luckily, brain science is evolving all the time, which means we know more now than ever before about getting rid of these types of fears. Therefore, if you want to find freedom from your fear or phobia, please give me a call and we can chat further about how I may be able to help you.