Phobias: Aka Get the Hell Away From Me!
I mean, nobody else has lutraphobia dammit! (Fear of otters--yes, an actual phobia)
- •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!
- •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.
- •A phobia, on the other, hand tends to be irrational and sometimes is a deeply condensed symbol of a relational conflict or an existential fearIf 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.
- •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
- •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 itFor 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.
- •Implosion therapy. Ugh. Don't do that.
- •Hypnosis and EMDR can often be helpful. Changing the brain state so it's not so reactive to the feared stimulus.