While everyone has fears, dislikes and preferences, sometimes our aversion to certain places, animals or objects can cause significant distress. When a fear become so strong that it begins to take over the quality of one’s life and stops you from doing what you want, you might have a specific phobia. The phobia might not make sense to you or anyone around you, and might be quite irrational, but the emotional reaction feels very real. A phobia can put a strain on a person's relationships, efficiency at work, and self esteem, as it can take a significant amount of emotional energy to avoid the feared object or place.
· Fear of Spiders (Arachnophobia)
· Fear of heights
· Fear of elevators
· Fear of dogs
· Fear of tight spaces (Claustrophobia)
· Fear of vomit (Emetephobia)
· Fear of Germs
· Fear of Needles
· Fear of Insects
While these are some of the most common phobias, almost any place, person, animal or object can become a phobia. The development of a phobia does not have to have a specific backstory and can feel quite irrational even to the sufferer. Often, those who suffer from a specific phobia will take extreme measures to avoid the feared object or place. They might also seek reassurance from their family members or friends that they will be ok, or they might google excessively. Specific Phobias are treated through a combination of education regarding the faulty thinking cycle, Cognitive Behavior therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Acceptance practices, and gradual Exposure to the feared situation or object. Over the course of exposure therapy, which should always be done with the guidance of an experienced counselor, the client begins to desensitize to the feared scenario and learns to manage their anxiety in the face of their fear.