Avoidance behavior keeps phobias in place. For example, if a person is afraid of shots and avoids going to the doctor for years to feel “safe” by not receiving a shot, they are not only risking their health, but more importantly are letting anxiety control their life. However, research shows that phobias can be successfully treated using exposure therapy.
Exposure Therapy for Phobias at the Anxiety Treatment Center of Austin
Exposure therapy involves working with a therapist to gradually expose oneself to the thing they are afraid of until it no longer produces anxiety. For someone with a needle phobia, for example, this may involve looking at pictures of syringes, then looking at an actual syringe, and continuing to build on until they feel comfortable getting a shot. It’s important to go at a pace with which a person is comfortable so a feeling of competence is achieved. This type of therapy helps patients see that the worst-case scenario does not happen the majority of the time, and by exposing themselves to positive experiences with their phobia, anxiety diminishes and is eventually extinguished. Patients working with a therapist versed in exposure therapy can help gradually create more anxiety-inducing exposures (called a fear hierarchy), keeping them on task by going through with the exposures working to challenge any negative self-talk such as, “I can’t do this,” or “It’s just too scary.” It’s possible to overcome a phobia!
Schedule a Consultation for Phobia Treatment
Call or email us to set up a brief phone consultation with one of our Anxiety Specialists. We can answer questions, provide more information, and determine eligibility for phobia treatment. Please provide a good time to speak. We are located in central Austin, and have availability during daytime hours, evenings, and weekends.