Phobias: Aka Get the Hell Away From Me!

I mean, nobody else has lutraphobia dammit! (Fear of otters--yes, an actual phobia)
  1. Phobias are reallllly common, and unlike anxiety or panic disorders,we don't think they have a genetic basis--
    Instead we think childhood trauma, inappropriate social learning, a kind of symbolization of internal conflict or social conditioning cause phobias phobias SUCK!
  2. Children have fears!! It's super normal to be a kid with fears--Kids are afraid of dogs, abandonment, school, sleeping with the lights off,
    Each developmental stage has typical fears associated with it! Two-year-olds are afraid of being away from their mommies, seven-year-olds often have anxiety about going to school-/anxieties and fears are different from phobias.
  3. A phobia, on the other, hand tends to be irrational and sometimes is a deeply condensed symbol of a relational conflict or an existential fear
    If I am terrified of rats biting my toes I might really be afraid of "oral aggression" in myself or others. If I am afraid of seeing dead things, death fears and my anxieties about my continued existence might threaten to overwhelm me.
  4. Fix this!! How??
    A Really Good Therapy always helps with a therapist willing to help you process the underlying issues. But sometimes even then you might need a little more
  5. Systematic desensitization. Repeatedly exposing yourself to the feared object in a graded way in a safe situation until it doesn't trigger the fight or flight response and you habituate to it
    For example when you have a fear of flying taking a flying desensitization class offered at the airport. It exposes you to the thing you're terrified of and gives you a sense of control.
  6. Implosion therapy. Ugh. Don't do that.
  7. Hypnosis and EMDR can often be helpful. Changing the brain state so it's not so reactive to the feared stimulus.