Can CBT help my phobia

Can CBT help my phobia

Phobias are very common. Most of us either have a phobia or know someone that does.

The impact of phobias is ofter really under-estimated. So many clients I see report others saying things to them like “that’s ridiculous”, “don’t be daft” or laughing at them, leading to feelings of embarrassment and wanting to hide their problem..

Phobias are irrational, they are a false message our brain has learnt, believing there is danger where there is not.
However irrational or not, the fear we feel is very much real. It can result in feelings of panic, feeling sick, feeling disgust, feelings of terror, trouble sleeping, difficulty relaxing and many more.

There are lots of different types of phobias, this is a list of 15 of the most common ones:

  • Heights
  • Flying
  • Driving
  • Needles
  • Blood
  • Spiders
  • Dogs
  • Snakes
  • Birds
  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Public speaking
  • Confined spaces
  • Open water
  • Dirt/germs

Ultimately the only way to overcome a fear is to face it and help our brain to realise there’s nothing to fear. Most people know this, and therefore can be hesitant about engaging in therapy.

What’s important to know about therapy though, is that work is all done at your own pace. Treatment is mainly focused on behavioural approaches, which results in changes to our thoughts (cognitions).

Since setting up my own private practice in Middlewich, Cheshire, I’ve successfully completed treatment with clients addressing fears of flying, driving, spiders, needles, vomiting, and public speaking. All have been surprised at the results that have been achieved.

The local press have written an article today about some of the work I’ve been doing, in particular for spider phobia:

Using spider phobia as an example, work in sessions will often start with looking at images. These might be of real spiders, they might be of cartoons, or toys. The starting point is determined individually with each client. We work together in sessions to be able to move from less feared images to more feared images, then we move onto videos that I can source. Once this feels doable, we move onto looking at a small spider in a contained jar in the session. Step by step we move towards being able to be closer to the spider, watching me with the spider, and finally handling the spider themselves.

This treatment is what is known as exposure therapy. Exposure therapy works on the principle that by confronting the feared thing/place, and showing our brain through our response that nothing bad happens, that our fear begins to subside.

Treatment for phobias using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is highly effective, and sometimes can be done in a small number of sessions.

Like with the example above with spider phobia, work is always done at a client’s pace and with their input and approval. I will work with you creatively to identify the steps each session to work on.

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