What is a phobia?
The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition), the “Bible” that we therapists use, states that “individuals with specific phobia are fearful or anxious about or avoidant of circumscribed objects or situation...to a degree that is persistent and out of proportion to the actual risk posed.” (p. 189-90)
Common phobias include fear of animals, heights, flying, enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), going out to public places (agoraphobia), water, needles/blood and social situations.
In research studies, it's been shown that fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death. People would actually rather die than have to speak in front of a group! Let's take social phobia for an example:
What are people so afraid of?
They're terrified of being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or offending others.
What's at the core of these fears?
Negative self-judgment. Feeling bad about themselves. Having thoughts like:
- I'm not good enough.
- I’m not strong enough.
- This thing is bigger than me.
- This fear is bigger than me.
What does control have to do with it?
There's also a preoccupation with needing to be in control, and a fear of losing control triggers anxiety.
The reality is, there are many situations that we cannot control. And we certainly can't control what people are going to think or how they are going to behave.
What can you control?
You can control your own reality and how you deal with whatever's going on around you.
3 Tools to Rein in Your Phobias:
So how can you rein in your own phobias? Here are some tools I've used successfully with clients:
1. Do a Reality Check
- Ask yourself: Is my fight-flight-freeze response activated?
- Am I actually in a life or death situation?
- Is there a tiger chasing me right now? Am I acting as if there is?
- What's true here and what's the lie?
2. Use the Access Consciousness® Crazy Phrase
“Everything is the opposite of what it appears to be, nothing is the opposite of what it appears to be.”
Repeat this several times until the intensity dissipates.
3. Expand Your Energy
Let your energy field expand out in all directions until you are big as the room you're in, as big as the building you're in, as big as the block, the city, the state, the country, and keep going (including up into the sky and down into the earth) until you are as big as the earth, the solar system, the galaxy and out into the infinite reaches of the universe.
What do you notice about your upset from this expanded state of awareness?
To receive live facilitation to move beyond your own phobia, and discover additional innovative ways to rein in your phobias, please join Dr. Lisa and me LIVE on her radio show “Beyond Abuse, Beyond Therapy, Beyond Anything,” Tuesday May 12th at 10am PDT/1pm EDT here
What else is possible for you now?