Specific phobia occurs when a person has an intense fear about a specific situation or object. Any situation where the trigger is present will be avoided. The fear experienced is out of proportion to the potential danger that could occur in the presence of the trigger. Common specific phobias include:
- Natural environments such as heights, storms, water
- Blood-injection such as needles, and invasive medical procedures
- Situational- airplanes, elevators, escalators, enclosed spaces
- Vomiting or choking
You can effectively reduce your avoidant behavior related to your phobia with exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). We will work together on a program to face your triggers in a variety of ways. We will address your anxiety as you anticipate being in the presence of your triggers. We will identify new ways of relating to your fearful thoughts using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
You will define the pace at which we will work on exposure tasks. When possible, ERP tasks will be practiced in the office so that you are coached through it. Practice between sessions is crucial to see good results. We may also take “Field trips” to complete ERP outside the office to wherever you experience triggers, including school, work, or public places.
Helpful Treatment Augmentations
Family therapy is often useful so that your family members have a plan to support you in ways that will help you reach your goals. We will address problematic behaviors that affect your relationships and interfere with your progress. Together, we will find alternative strategies that can help you.
Compassion focused therapy is useful for clients who feel guilty, are self-critical and lack self-compassion.
Medication can be a helpful addition to your therapy. If you are not currently taking medication for your anxiety, and we determine that it may be useful, a referral to a physician will be provided.