Are you panic stricken during exams? Do you avoid flying? Are you afraid of storms? Do spiders cause your heart to race, and stop you from camping outside? These are examples of specific phobias, which can impede your ability to enjoy life.
Often times, the fear is so intense, that the very thought of the feared item causes anxiety. If your goal is to be able to face these feared events, there is a clear path to follow. By breaking goals into small steps, and building in support (and teaching skills) you can do things which may feel impossible.
Relaxation exercises and mindfulness techniques will comprise the first sessions. Next, we will work together to address your fears, first by constructing a fear hierarchy.
Once we have determined the specific events that cause fear, we will develop a plan of exposure. This process is paced at a level that will not overwhelm you with anxiety (that is called flooding). The gentle pace of exposure to the feared item will result in what is known as habituation. This means that your level of anxiety will decrease as you become more accustomed to the specific fear. This approach is modeled on Dr. David Barlow’s work with phobias.
People are often amazed at the change their thoughts and feelings undergo during this process. The old adage “True courage isn’t not being afraid, but being afraid and doing it anyway” becomes a reality when armed with techniques from this therapy.