Specific Phobia

Do you have an intense fear of spiders or a fear of heights? Do you experience high levels of anxiety when faced with an escalator in a shopping centre, or when traveling in a plane? For many people even the thought of facing these things causes them to be overcome by panic.

One in ten people suffer from specific phobias at some point in their lives – caterogised as an extreme and exaggerated fear of a specific thing or situation; dogs, tunnels, bridges, water, cockroaches – specific phobias can attach themselves to practically any object or circumstance (though some are more common than others).

A phobia is not just a feeling of intense fear, it is an intensely felt irrational fear. And what’s more, adults with phobias are generally aware that their fears are irrational. Despite this awareness, any exposure to one’s feared object or situation, or even just anticipating that thing or event, can bring on feelings of severe anxiety and even a panic attack. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

There are many different theories...

There are many different theories about what causes specific phobias and why some people seem more prone to developing such phobia. When children have specific phobias (a fear of dogs is probably the most common), these tend to reduce and even disappear over time. Yet for some people, specific phobias first appear (usually ‘out of the blue’) when they are teenagers or adults and, without treatment, they tend to persist into later life. Psychologists have found that phobias generally run in families, and are slightly more prevalent in women than in men.

Not unlike the sufferers of other phobias, such as social anxiety (fear of engaging with others) or agoraphobia (a fear of leaving one’s home to go out or going to crowded places), people with specific phobias tend to deal with it by avoiding that thing or situation of which they are fearful. Alternatively, if the feared thing is difficult to avoid, it is experienced together with extreme feelings of discomfort and distress, and in severe circumstances, can cause panic attacks.

A specific phobia may not be an issue, in and of itself. However, when the feelings of panic become too intense and difficult to avoid, or if the avoidance itself is impeding on your normal functioning, on your relationships or your work, then you may benefit from counselling with a professional therapist or psychologist. Our professional team of counsellors and psychologists can help you to better deal with your phobias, and in most cases, to even overcome them altogether.

To enquire about professional counselling for phobias by qualified Counsellors & Psychologists in Sydney call Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. We welcome your enquiry.

I never thought I could overcome my fear of so many things. Lifts, stairs, elevators, shopping centers. I'm glad to say after 12 weeks I am doing much better and life is opening up for me.


Go deeper

Our Services

We offer a variety of services dealing with wellbeing and mental health. Select from one of the options below for further details.