Emetophobia fear of being sick/vomiting – How do we create phobias and anxieties?

How do we actually create phobias and anxieties – how come some people have them and some don’t. How can some people can go though traumatic experiences with no affect and others seem to pick up and hold onto phobias and fears and how do we overcome them?

Rob discusses in this short presentation about how we create phobias and anxieties and uses an example of a fear of dogs, he discusses with some clients about them having a pathologic phobia about dogs. They have suffered an event/experience of an interaction with a dog – perhaps the dog barked at them or was savagely bitten by one, ever since this event they’ve had this fear/phobia about dogs and kept away from them. Why as time passes are they still in fear?

Most people will answer in an external way: “The memory was so traumatic” “The memories come flooding back and i get flash backs.” These are very powerful belief’s. An experience can not only be a thought, but a story, watching a horror film or even just a bad dream about being bitten by a dog for example. If we use an internal person and external person both having this same experience in the same way, the internal person will process the experience in a powerful way, they have escaped the experience, unlikely to think all dogs are scary they will process the experience in a more positive way. Whereas the external person will be powerless, feel it was life threatening awful they will feel frightened believe they could get an infection they will create/maintain unhelpful beliefs about the experience. They will create anticipatory anxiety about dogs in the future.

Put simply, it is the sufferer’s lack of emotional control when thinking about, or being in the presence of their feared stimulus: the huge amount of stress and anxiety they are creating by the WAY they are thinking about their feared object or event. People with phobias nearly always attribute their fear to the stimulus itself; most people suffering from a phobia know logically that their response is irrational and unjustified. For example, a person with a snake phobia in Britain knows that there is no risk of them being bitten by a snake, and yet the thought of one can terrify them. The same to spiders. Likewise a person with a fear of flying may know logically that it is the safest form of transport but still are terrified at the thought of it. How is this possible?

Most people don’t look ‘internally’ or at their own particular ways of thinking to try to understand or change their phobic response…and that’s where the answer lays. It is in the way that we misuse our imagination, often to imagine the worst-case scenario that creates and maintains our fear response. Phobics will also do their best to avoid the feared stimulus – and by telling yourself it’s so scary that you can’t even face it will have the effect of helping you to feel even more fearful and powerless in your emotional response.