How Can I Help Myself?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles provide many ways of coping with your fears by helping you overcome avoidance in a step-by-step manner, as well as teaching you to think about your fear as rationally as possible. This has proved to be a very effective way of coping with specific phobias.
Avoidance is what keeps anxiety going, and the more you avoid the thing you fear, the worse the anxiety gets. The best way to improve the situation is therefore to face your fear slowly and gradually. Exposing yourself to your fear will help you learn two very important things:
- That the object or situation is not as scary as you first thought
- That your anxiety will reduce as you spend more time facing your fear
This process can seem very frightening at first. Facing what you fear is probably the complete opposite of what you want to do! This is why you should face your fears very gradually and at your own pace. Start small.
Other methods, such as medication, relaxation training, counselling and hypnotherapy, are also used to help people with phobias. If you’re interested in these other methods, speak to your GP to find out more.