Specific phobias are an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of objects or situations that pose little real danger but provoke anxiety and avoidance. Unlike the brief anxiety we may feel when taking a test or being in a job interview, specific phobias are long lasting, causing intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect one’s ability to function normally at work, at school or in social settings. Specific phobias are considered to be the most common of the anxiety disorders, affecting more than 13% of the US population. Almost any object, location, or activity can become the focus of a phobia, although certain ones are far more common than others.
Common Specific Phobias
- Fear of heights
- Fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia)
- Fear of vomiting (emetophobia)
- Fear of elevators
- Fear of insects
- Fear of dogs
- Fear of open spaces (agoraphobia)
- Fear of blood
- Fear of lightning and thunderstorms (astraphobia)
Treatment of Specific Phobias
Specific phobias are highly treatable using a combination of cognitive behavioral therapies including cognitive restructuring (CR), mindfulness training, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and compassionate exposure and response prevention (ERP). I work with clients gradually, and at their pace, to face their fears while using the tools they have learned to retrain their brain and reclaim their lives.