Due to the situation with COVID19, we will also be offering video or telephone sessions. Call Dr. Randy Katz at (416) 515-2649 Ext. 228 for more details.

The Clinic on Dupont Toronto

Fears and Phobias Treatment

When a real danger is present, fear is an adaptive and protective emotion that prepares the body for “fight or flight”. However, when fear is experienced in reaction to everyday situations or objects, or in anticipation of future threats, it results in a chronic state of stress that can impact physical and mental health. Persistent and intense fear about a perceived threat that is out of proportion to the actual risk posed is referred to as a phobia. It is possible to develop a phobia to specific objects (i.e. needles, germs), animals (i.e. dogs, snakes), environments (i.e. heights, open spaces) or situations (i.e. social or performance situations).

As a way to cope with distressing fear, many people avoid triggering objects or situations, but this solution often negatively affects an individual’s daily life and limits personal and/or professional growth. Cognitive behavioural therapy is an evidence-based treatment proven to help individuals both challenge the thinking patterns that underlie fears and phobias and become desensitized to their distressing effects through safe, graduated exposures.

Are you looking for help with your fears and phobias? Our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) professionals are here for you. Call us at (416) 515-2649 to speak with one of our psychologists.

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What is a phobia?

Phobia is an anxiety disorder that’s marked by irrational and excessive fear of a situation or object. There are five types of phobias: situational type, animal type, environmental type, blood-injection-injury type, and other type. Within each type is a large number of objects or situations for which a person may be phobic.

How prevalent are phobias?

Phobias are quite common. More than one in ten Canadians experience some form of phobia. Some of the more common phobias include fear of enclosed places, driving, spiders, rodents, storms, and seeing blood, among other things.

How do fears and phobias affect people's lives?

Fears and phobias can range from being a mere nuisance to downright crippling. Those who have a phobia, suffer undue, and sometimes extreme anxiety. Fears of places and situations, and particularly, social phobia, leave those who suffer isolated and lonely. People with phobias often feel embarrassed, out of control, and helpless.

What are the signs and symptoms of phobias?

Avoidance of the feared object or situation is one of the telltale signs. Panic attacks are also a common feature of phobias. The symptoms of panic attacks are numerous, but they may include shortness of breath, a racing heart, nausea, trembling, chest pain, dizziness, or a sense of impending doom.

What causes fears and phobias?

Scientists are still trying to understand the causes of phobias and fears. However, some of the causes may include a traumatic experience, a learned response, long-term stress, genetics, or even the distressing responses to fear or panic.

How is a phobia diagnosed?

At your initial consultation, one of our multi-disciplinary therapists will do an assessment. Your fear therapy specialist will want to know how long your fear has persisted and the impact it has on your functioning at home, school, and work. Your phobia counselling specialist will also take a detailed inventory of your symptoms and ask about any traumatic experiences that might be the cause of your fear.

How is phobia treated?

Your results-oriented phobia counselling specialist will likely use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Specific approaches include proven methods such as systematic exposure, cognitive restructuring, and mindfulness training. Your phobia treatment in Toronto at The Clinic on Dupont will be based on an individualized plan designed by your phobia therapy specialist.

How long does phobia treatment take?

Recovery varies from person-to-person. For some, phobia therapy may take only a few sessions. For others, it may take longer to overcome fears and phobias completely.

What are the symptoms of phobias in children?

Kids experience many of the same symptoms as adults. The anxiety children and teens experience can range from mild to severe. As a result, they avoid the object or situation that causes them fear. Kids may also have panic attacks that cause distressing physical or emotional symptoms. Ultimately, phobias can disrupt children’s functioning and normal routines.

What type of phobia therapy is used to treat kids?

Our phobia counselling specialists utilize a variety of evidence-based psychotherapies to help kids overcome phobias and fears. Techniques may include gradually increasing exposure, relaxation exercises, role-playing, and helping children and teens recognize their fear is disproportionate to the actual threat.

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