Orlando Phobia and Anxiety Therapy
What is Specific Phobia and How Can Therapy Help?
Orlando anxiety counselors in Maitland state that specific phobia consist of a group of anxiety symptoms that are brought on by a fear of a particular situation, animal or object. The individual’s fear is intense enough so that the individual tries to avoid the situation or can experience it only with significant anxiety. At GroundWork Counseling, our Orlando anxiety counselors report that phobias are quite common. A recent national survey found that 60% of the people they interviewed had a fear of some situation or thing, and over 12% of people felt that their fears were severe enough to qualify as specific phobia. Anxiety counselors state that the individuals realized that their fears were unreasonable and excessive and felt that their fears caused significant difficulty and distress in their daily lives. The most common phobias reported to psychologists conducting the study were fears of heights, elevators, bridges, tunnels, public transportation, closed spaces, water, bats, bugs, snakes and mice. Many individuals reported that they feared several of these things and that they made a conscious effort to avoid them.
Phobia are maintained in several ways:
- Avoidance. By avoiding the situation you fear you teach yourself that the way to not feel fear and anxiety is to avoid to situation. However, by continuously avoiding the thing or situation you fear, you never learn to overcome your anxiety and fear and actually reinforce the fear.
- Safety behaviors. When confronted with the feared situation or thing, many individuals engage in safety behaviors, which you begin to believe will protect you. These safety behaviors can include asking for reassurances, tensing, clutching repeating phrases or prayers, breathing differently, etc.
At GroundWork Counseling, Orlando anxiety therapists who specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) help individuals who are struggling with specific phobia to face what they fear instead of avoiding it. The cognitive behavioral therapist will begin with an investigation of your irrational thoughts about the specific phobia, request that you do self-help homework between sessions and end with guided gradual exposure to these situations. With these techniques, between 80% and 90% of individuals with specific phobia are able to improve quite rapidly.
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