Friday, April 7, 2017


When doing mental health histories with my counselling clients, I always screen for phobias. People usually laugh at first, but then you would be surprised how many people admit to having one.

A phobia, by the way, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent fear of an object, event or situation.

Sometimes they develop because of a past trauma, but sometimes they have no clear origin.

It is theorized that some of the more common ones, like phobias of spiders and snakes, actually have a biological origin, since in earlier times they may have served to keep us safe.

We tend to think of phobias as humorous, but they can truly be debilitating for the sufferer. Fortunately, I find most of my clients who have phobias don't seem to feel shame about them.

The most common ones reported to me are:

  • Spiders
  • Snakes
  • Bugs of all kinds
  • Flying
  • Needles
  • Small spaces
  • Crowds
  • The dark
  • Dental work
  • Medical procedures
Others I've had reported to me:

  • Ketchup
  • Fish 
  • Cotton balls
  • Swallowing pills
  • Intercourse/penetration
  • Having body odour (though this may have actually been more of an OCD thing)
For an unofficial list of phobias, check this out:  

Personally, I don't think I have any fears that qualify as a true phobia, though I do hate spiders, sharks and small places. I don't like flying either. But I don't require sedation or anything for any of these things.

Big A has a needle phobia, which I believe is the result of her having an anaphylactic reaction to the H1N1 vaccine when she was 3 or 4. She was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. 

If you do have a phobia and it is debilitating in any way (one of the reasons I have to ask clients is, in particular, if they are doing fertility treatments, it is critical to know if they have needle or medical-related phobias!), I urge you to get help. EMDR is extremely effective for eliminating phobias, and exposure therapy can also help.

You definitely should not feel shame about having a phobia!!

Enjoy your Friday and have a lovely, happy, healthy weekend!

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