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Phobias and Desensitisation Treatment

Phobias can become so debilitating that they interfere with your ability to get on with your life. Phobias can be terrifying and sufferers often have no idea where their fear originated from. If you suffer from a phobia it could be specific or complex.  Some people suffer from both specific and complex. 

Specific phobias include: fears of dogs, cats spiders, heights, germs, water, vomit and blood. 

Complex phobias include: agorophobia (fear of being on your own, going into crowded places, shopping centres, supermarkets) and  social phobia (fear of speaking and/or eating in front of others and fear of giving your opinion because you might experience embarrassment and humiliation).

If you are a sufferer you could benefit from systematic desensitisation. Treatment has been very successful through the application of both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT ) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) approaches. What to expect from CBT and EMDR approaches for phobia can be found in greater detail by contacting me and by clicking on the relevant buttons at the top of this page.

For more information go to www.bacp.co.uk    www.emdrassociation.org.uk

CBT Desensitisation:

Someone presenting with phobia of – eg. spiders – would be asked to come up with ten scenarios involving spiders and then note their resulting panic of greater or lesser degree. Within our counselling sessions we would collaboratively prepare a very mild first scenario as an introduction toward combat of the phobia eg. seeing a small spider at a great distance outside. We may then go on to another scenario making it slightly more uncomfortable – eg. seeing a small spider just a bit closer (but still outside). This imagining and preparation of scenarios would continue, each becoming slightly more uncomfortable until the tenth scenario which may involve inclusion of something the client had initially deemed totally terrifying – eg. touching a spider. Counselling sessions for desensitisation also include teaching how to relax muscles to the extent where the client’s state becomes incompatible with anxiety and panic episodes.  Homework tasks include practice of relaxation techniques.  When these are mastered the client is ready to go through each scenario one step at a time whilst they are in a relaxed state, (but knowing that if it felt necessary you could back off for a little while). Desensitisation of the spider phobia would be complete when the client confronts their fear by imagining a spider close up, remaining perfectly tension free and without mental health worries.

EMDR Desensitisation:

This therapy works with the persons natural processing capabilities.  I would ask you to focus on your anxiety whilst using eye movements to help you find thoughts and images and the traumatic feelings around these.   When your thoughts and feelings surface I would then follow that trail with further eye movements.  Treatment continues until you can experience the feelings around the fear/phobia.  This process allows your rational mind to get involved and reprocess.   Desensitisation of the phobia would be complete when the terror subsides and present day anxiety and fear is dispersed.

To find out more about treatment for Phobia contact Elizabeth Welch 07743324519

Phobia treatment Stockport, Manchester