Phobias  

What is it

Phobias are a common type of anxiety disorder, which are characterised by the experience of extreme anxiety and fear of particular objects or situations. This can persist for 6 months or longer. This fear and anxiety can create significant distress and disruption to normal routines and relationships, as well as socially, occupationally, or any other important areas of functioning.  Other characteristics of phobias include the anxiety or fear is almost always triggered by the phobic object or situation, is usually out of proportion to the realistic danger posed by the specific object or situation, and the phobic object or situation is actively avoided or endured with extreme fear and anxiety. The most common phobias include animals, fear of heights, fear of flying, elevators, fear of diseases, doctors and dentists, storms, blood, injury and injections.  

What does it include

Phobias commonly develop in childhood however they can also develop at any age and often as a result of experiences that have been directly traumatic (e.g being attacked by an animal, stuck in an elevator or an unpleasant experience at the dentist), seeing others experience a traumatic event, an unexpected panic attack in the feared situation or through other modes such as watching television. Other factors may also increase vulnerability to phobias and anxiety, including a genetic and temperament component, stress and life events, physical health and style of thinking. Other common symptoms of anxiety associated with phobias can include: Difficulty concentrating, restlessness, avoidance behaviour, rapid heartbeat, trembling or shaking, feeling lightheaded or faint, numbness or tingling sensations, upset stomach or nausea and sweating.

How can a psychologist help

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an evidenced-based and efficacious therapy that can assist people to overcome their phobias through a combination of exposure based exercises, relaxation training and challenging irrational thoughts and beliefs associated with the feared object or situation.

    References

    Australian Psychological Society Tipsheets for the Public.  https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-Topics/Anxiety
    Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/types-of-anxiety/specific-phobias
    Bourne, E.J. (2015). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. New Harbinger Publications. Oakland, CA. 

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    Psychologists who work in this service

    Lindy Devenish
    Lindy Devenish
    Psychologist
    Lea Ser
    Lea Ser
    Psychologist
    Joshua T King
    Joshua T King
    Clinical Psychologist Registrar
    Emma Jephcott
    Emma Jephcott
    Clinical Psychologist Registrar
    Dr Elizabeth Blackwood
    Dr Elizabeth Blackwood
    Psychologist
    Brittany Safonoff
    Brittany Safonoff
    Neurofeedback Technician/ Psychology Assistant
    Kristie Clarke
    Kristie Clarke
    Senior Clinical Psychologist
    Tim Jauncey
    Tim Jauncey
    Senior Clinical Psychologist
    Jasmin Singh
    Jasmin Singh
    Counselling Endorsed Psychologist
    Dr Alessia Coelho
    Dr Alessia Coelho
    Counselling Endorsed Psychologist