I offer phobia treatment and counseling to the people of Palm Beach County including West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Phobias can dramatically alter the course of your life. There is help available.
What is a Phobia?
We are all afraid of something. A scary ride, being alone outside in the dark, an interview for a dream job. But approximately 18% of Americans are plagued with irrational fears that interfere with their daily lives. It’s NOT that they’re “crazy”. They’re FULLY aware that their fears are unreasonable, yet they still cannot control the fear. They have a PHOBIA. Which is defined as an intense but unrealistic fear that can interfere with the ability to socialize, work, or go about everyday life, brought on by an event, situation, object or memory. The most common examples are: specific phobias such as: fear of flying, fear of high places, fear of open spaces, fear of dogs, snakes and the list goes on. It occurs in 1 out of every 10 people, tends to run in families and is approximately twice as likely to occur in women.
Causes of Phobias:
With so much research and advancements in the study of the brain, researchers have been able to identify certain parts of the brain and neural pathways that are associated with phobias. One part of the brain called the amygdala, whose function is to alert us to danger, appears to be linked. When the amygdala “lights up”, it warns us of a threat. In people with phobias, it lights up when the threat is a reminder and not current. Sort of like pulling the fire alarm when there’s no fire.
While the specific trigger varies depending upon the type of phobia, the symptoms are all very similar and include:
- Feelings of terror or impending doom
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Dilated pupils
And the list goes on.
How I Treat It:
While my treatment is highly individualized and collaborative, the modalities I find most effective are: Somatic Experiencing, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Emotionally Focused Therapy, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Guided Imagery.