A specific phobia describes the persistent fear of an object or situation. Fear of spiders, wasps, birds, snakes, blood or things like needle phobia are quite common. So how do you start overcoming phobia?
The fear of something produces both a psychological and physical response, so you register the fear and also feel it in your body.
Psychology explains phobias as being the ‘over estimation of harm, together with the under estimation of your ability to cope’. What this means for somebody with a fear of spiders is that you will run through a particular loop or ritual.
The 3 best ways of overcoming phobia are;
1 – Decrease your focus on spiders.
Remind yourself how rare it is to actually see a spider against how much time you spend looking for them.
A psychologist will help you develop a hierarchy of situations around spiders. Starting with the easiest thing you work through each level to build your confidence.
2 – Reduce your ‘safety’ behaviour by testing predictions.
The first level may be just looking at pictures of spiders and the top level may be opening a jam jar with a spider in it.
The point is to break the task down and practice it until it becomes easy. This can only be done with a trained professional who will help you through the levels.
This is an example of a hierarchy.
3 – Address your faulty thinking.
When you really start to examine your thoughts around spiders, you will realise how flawed they are. Spiders will not try to attack you and will generally run away from you. Spiders will not get trapped in your clothing and bite you.
Basic counselling, hypnosis, flooding techniques or anything other than CBT will not help a phobia.
CBT delivered by somebody qualified to use it will quickly and effectively reduce the fear for you.
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