A phobia is an overwhelming fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance. Unlike the brief anxiety most people feel when they give a speech or take a test, a phobia is long lasting, causes intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function normally day to day.
Phobias are divided into three main categories:
1) Specific phobias
2) Social phobias
3) Fear of open spaces (agoraphobia).
No matter what type of phobia you have, it's likely to produce many unpleasant feelings including: uncontrollable panic when you're exposed to the source of your fear, physical reactions - including sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, a feeling of panic and intense anxiety and the knowledge that your fears are unreasonable or exaggerated but feeling powerless to control them.
Understanding your phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It's important to know that phobias are common. Having a phobia doesn't mean you're crazy! It also helps to know that phobias are highly treatable. You can overcome your anxiety and fear, no matter how out of control it feels.
I use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques in counselling to help treat phobias. It combines gradual exposure to the feared situation along with techniques for managing the anxiety experienced. I always work at the pace of the client and ensure a safe and graduated approach to dealing with a phobia.