Is There Such A Thing As Phobia Therapy, And Can It Help Me?
Updated February 15, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Many people have fears. Some people have "normal" fears that don't interfere with daily living, but others have fears that create problems. Developing a fear that becomes problematic can happen as a result of past trauma. It can also come about for no reason.
Phobias are very specific fears about very specific things. If you have developed a type of phobia and it is negatively impacting your life, then it may be beneficial to seek out therapy. It is important to note that there is not a specific type of therapy that is known as "phobia therapy". Treatment for phobias is just a part of regular therapy. Phobias are related to anxiety and can be treated alongside other issues or independently.
You will be able to get help for your phobias by seeking out a skilled therapist. A licensed therapist will be familiar with phobias and related problems. They know how to get to the bottom of what is causing your phobias and will be able to work with you to move past them. It can take some time to make significant progress toward alleviating your symptoms, but therapy can be very helpful on conquering phobias.
Take the time to learn a little bit more about phobias and how they can be treated by using therapy. This information will show you how phobias are treated with therapy and what you can expect. You will come to understand just how effective therapy can be. If you have a phobia that is debilitating in nature, then seeking help from a professional therapist will be worthwhile.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common treatment for phobias. This is a type of therapy that involves identifying your fears and learning to disassociate what you are afraid of from negative consequences. Phobias are things that you should not be afraid of, but you have a fear of them anyway. Many people will be afraid of things such as heights or enclosed spaces. This can be problematic as it can cause you to have an anxiety attack in many real-world situations.
Cognitive behavioral therapy will allow you to disassociate what you are afraid of with an anxiety-filled response. It can take time to get the desired results, but each session will be working toward making progress. Those who suffer from phobias often have horrific thoughts about being exposed to what they are afraid of. You may think that you are going to die if you are forced to climb a ladder, for instance. These fears may not be entirely rational, but they feel very logical to you at the moment.
You actually may be underestimating your ability to cope with your fears when necessary. If you are placed in a situation where you must encounter something that you are deeply afraid of, then you will likely be able to overcome it. Part of the reason why this fear has such a hold over you is that you believe that you cannot face this fear head-on. A large portion of your cognitive behavioral therapy sessions will involve recognizing this counterproductive thought pattern.
If you realize that you can face your fears and that it is highly unlikely that anything bad will happen, then you will make progress. Throughout your therapy sessions, you should be able to start replacing your negative thoughts with better ones. If you start to think about your fears more logically, then they will diminish over time. This process is known as cognitive restructuring, and it is very effective.
Another potential therapy method that can help people with deep-seated phobias is exposure therapy. This is a method that involves exposing people to the thing that they fear. It is supposed to show patients that they don't have to be as afraid of certain things as they are. If a patient can be exposed to something that they fear repeatedly, then eventually their feeling of anxiety and dread will lessen. It will start to feel normal to be exposed to these things, and they will be able to move past what was causing them so much fear in the first place.
Of course, certain fears are not going to be able to use exposure therapy in the same way. Those who have a fear of spiders are not likely going to be placed in a room full of spiders. Exposure therapy is usually much more subdued than you would initially think. For instance, exposure therapy may start by simply discussing what you are afraid of. If you are afraid of spiders, then you may have a conversation about them and why you feel the way you do.
As you progress, the exposure therapy may involve being exposed to pictures of various spiders. Most therapists will use exposure techniques along with the cognitive restructuring therapy methods mentioned above. This allows you to start understanding that your fears are not as rational as you first thought them to be. Over time, you will become more comfortable with being exposed to the things that cause you to fear.
Some therapists will set up real situations for patients to overcome. These situations are usually reserved for phobias that are extremely safe. Whatever methods your therapist decides to employ, you should be able to see good results. Over time, your anxiety will decrease, and you should be able to deal with your phobias in a fairly normal and healthy way.
Mindfulness therapy is another technique that has proven to be very important for dealing with phobias. This type of therapy is about getting a person to recognize what is going on in the present. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in their feelings of fear that they do not realize that there is no threat. If a person can learn to be more mindful of what is going on around them, then they will be able to see that their feared object or situation does not pose a threat.
Being able to overcome your phobias by recognizing them for what they are is important. To move on from your fears, it is necessary to think about things differently. You have to be willing to open up to the various therapy techniques so that you can move on. Learning to be mindful of your surroundings and not to get caught up in your thoughts is just one part of the therapy.
To find the most success, it is often necessary to pair cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and mindfulness therapy together. All three methods will help you to arrive at the same conclusion. You will see that your fears are not quite so bad as they first seemed. This will allow you to live your life without having to feel so worried, and you will not have any phobias holding you back in any way.
Online Therapy Options
You may also be interested to hear that there are online therapy options to consider. Those who wish to seek out therapy online will be able to enlist the help of licensed therapists. These therapists are all very experienced when it comes to helping people overcome phobias. Whether you have a fear of spiders or if you are claustrophobic, a dedicated online therapist will be ready to help.
There are several advantages to online therapy that you should consider as well. First, you will be able to seek out treatments at times that are convenient for you. You will be able to schedule sessions for the weekend or evenings. It is far easier to make the time to see an online therapist than it is to see one at a physical location in your town.
It is also far easier to get therapy without having to let other people know what is going on. Many people are embarrassed about their phobias. Sometimes people seek therapy purely out of a motivation to overcome their fears so that people will not be aware of what is holding them back in life. Phobias are not something that you should be ashamed of, but it is still nice to be able to have a discreet option for receiving treatments online.
Signing up for online phobia therapy is going to be quite beneficial. You will be able to get things set up very fast so that you can begin working toward healing right away. There are even many options for receiving therapy such as video chat, texting, and e-mail therapy. Whatever path you decide to walk, you will be able to get the professional help that you need.
Phobias do not have to control your life any longer. If you are ready to move past the phobias that have been plaguing you, then a licensed therapist will be ready to help you out. Being able to move on from feelings of fear will make it feel as if a weight has lifted from your shoulders. Millions of people deal with phobias every year, and you can be one of the millions that have overcome their fears by reaching out to an online therapist.
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