What is a phobia and how does it differ from fear?

A phobia may be defined as a persistent, and irrational, ‘fear’ of a particular stimulus (e.g. an object, situation or experience), that results in the person experiencing considerable anxiety and distress when faced with it.

When someone is suffering from a phobia they do not simply have a dislike, or slight feeling of fear, in relation to a particular stimulus. Rather, they feel extremely anxious, or even panic stricken, if they have to confront it or even get near to it. In fact, for many people, even thinking about the phobic object, or seeing pictures of it, can lead them to feel very anxious and unable to cope. It is for this reason that people who suffer from phobias have a compelling need to flee, or avoid, the focus of their phobia.

As with all forms of distress, different people will experience varying levels of anxiety and ability to cope in relation to their phobic stimulus. For example, one person with a spider phobia (arachnophobia) may only feel anxious if a spider is in close vicinity to them, whilst another may not even be able to look at a photograph of a cartoon spider without experiencing an extreme desire to flee.

So how do you develop a phobia?

There are different ways that you can develop a phobia, and various alternative explanations as to why it may happen. In some cases, you might have learnt to fear an object from your parents, or significant others, when you were young. In others, your phobia might have been the result of a traumatic experience, even though the object to which you are now fearful may not have been one of the causative factors involved in the trauma.

Whatever the reason, it is fair to say that phobias result from unconscious processes; people don’t consciously choose to have an extreme, debilitating fear of a particular stimulus or trigger.

Can phobias be helped?

The short answer is a definite yes!

There are numerous approaches that can be undertaken through hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and NLP that can enable you to overcome your phobia and get on with your life. At True Progress we work with you to identify the approach that is best suited to your particular situation, and will enable you to deal with your fears and anxiety in an effective way.

What types of phobia are there?

Whilst people can develop phobias in relation to just about anything, some of the more well known phobias include:

  • Acrophobia: fear of heights
  • Arachnophobia: fear of spiders
  • Astraphobia/Keraunophobia: fear of lightening
  • Bacillophobia: fear of germs
  • Claustrophobia: fear of closed spaces
  • Coulrophobia: fear of clowns
  • Cynophobia: fear of dogs
  • Emetophobia: fear of vomiting
  • Heliophobia: fear of sun or sunlight
  • Kenophobia: fear of empty spaces
  • Koumpounophobia: fear of buttons
  • Monophobia: fear of being alone
  • Necrophobia/Thanatophobia: fear of death
  • Nosophobia: fear of illness

Click here to find out more about a commonly misunderstood phobia, Agoraphobia

Contact Us to find out how True Progress can help you.