Therapy & Counselling Resources > Phobias



A phobia is a type of anxiety about something. Some people live with phobias and manage them. Other people want to overcome their phobias or develop a new relationship with them.

Phobias may be continual or intense fears of people, things, events or situations that most people might find irrational. People who experience phobias will often avoid the cause of their anxiety but sometimes just thinking about it can result in panic. Phobias can make everyday tasks uncomfortable and overwhelming.

It has been estimated that 2% of adults in the UK experience phobias. Some phobias may be linked to a traumatic experience in childhood or at another time of life.

Social phobia is understood to be a fear of situations that involve judgement or scrutiny by other people, for example, parties and social occasions. People with social phobia can experience extreme anxiety and self-consciousness in situations that others enjoy. Without treatment, social phobia can result in isolation, withdrawal and loss of quality of life.

Treatment for phobias can include cognitive behaviour therapy, systematic desensitization or exposure therapy and social skills training. Sometimes lifestyle changes are helpful in reducing anxiety and the frequency of attacks. It may be enough for someone to start talking about the phobia, developing their understanding of it and reconstructing the relationship they have with the phobia. Online therapists and Internet counsellors may be able to assist to reduce the influence of a phobia or disempower it altogether. The first step is to make contact with a counsellor or therapist and share the problem.

This information is only general and is not a substitute for a professional consultation.

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