What is Phobia?

Phobias are intense fears of situations or objects that are we see as being dangerous or threatening to us in some way. The fear is excessive and not in proportion to the situation or object.

The fear associated with a phobia can be extreme and make us feel anxious, if we have to face our phobia. This often leads to us doing everything we can to avoid the phobic object or situation.

Often we know that the fear is irrational but we feel like we can’t do anything about it.

For some, phobias can stem from a specific experience that may have been traumatic or had a negative meaning attached to it. For example, a child may be frightened by a large dog and this may present as a phobia of dogs as an adult. However, not everyone develops phobias from frightening experiences. Positive experiences with the feared situation or object later on in life, after the bad experience, may prevent a phobia from developing.

For others, the phobia could be for reasons such as other people’s perception of that object or situation. For example, a fear of heights is a common phobia that may have developed from spending a lot of time with someone who “taught” us to be afraid without realising it.

We don’t need to know the cause of the phobia to recover from it.

Thoughts and Behaviours

Our behaviours can have a large impact on how we feel emotionally and physically. Often when we are phobic of an object or situation, we avoid it in an attempt to reduce the fear. As a result, we never confront the fear. 

This might make us feel better in the short-term by providing relief that we don’t have to be scared or anxious, but in the long-term it reinforces the idea that our phobia is scary and should be avoided. Some of the thoughts that we have in response to our phobia are also unhelpful, such as thinking that something awful will happen such as fainting or losing control if the phobia is faced.

Graded exposure helps you overcome your avoidant behaviour in small, manageable steps taken at your own pace. It can be useful to think of these steps as rungs on a ladder.

Start at the bottom of the ladder, attempt to handle each step without avoidance, and gradually work your way up to the top of the ladder. The aim is to ultimately feel little or no anxiety while engaging with your goal.

We have partnered with Silvercloud to offer you free access to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) self-help programme, designed by clinical experts using proven methods for helping people, all with the aim of empowering you to think and feel better.

This programme is based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT consists of two key steps to feeling well:

  1. Understanding what’s going on inside you
  2. Making changes to feel better

The key idea behind CBT is that your emotions, thoughts, behaviours and physical sensations are connected, and affect each other.

Simply choose your programme on SilverCloud. When prompted to sign up, you will need an access code to enable you to create your account and use this resource. The access code is kwnelselfhelp

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