Hertfordshire Wellbeing Centre
Alexander House, Mindenhall Court
Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
Hertfordshire Wellbeing Centre
Tel: 07584 492254
Therapy for fears and phobias
How exposure and response prevention, (ERP) therapy works
I went to Paul to seek help for my fear of travelling on public transport including busses and trains.
This was taking over my life in so many ways.
Phobia's are very treatable problems and can usually be treated successfully without the need for long term medication or therapy.
Having a good understanding of the bigger picture and the cycle that keeps you stuck while also having the courage to begin to expose yourself to your fear and break down your unhelpful habits, will give you back your self control and quality of life effectively.
Exposure to your object of fear, is all about speaking to your mind and body in a way that it understands so that you can reverse the cycle of fear and dread that you now find yourself in. Expose is not just about "Getting used to the fear". It is about retraining your amygdala to stop activating the fear response inside you when there is no real danger.
Dealing with irrational fears
Paul introduced me to the concept of gradually exposing myself to different modes of public transport. Paul said this approach was going to help me eventually manage the feelings of panic I experienced
This therapy worked for me. Week by week I practiced the exercises we set together and gradually faced my fears in steps that produced results.
Thank you so much Paul. I will recommend your services to anyone I feel you could help.
Exposure and response prevention helps to show yourself that your fears are out of proportion to the situation you face.
Exposure to your Phobia should start small and gradual. Throwing yourself off the deep end immediately would completely over face you when dealing with the irrationality and level of fear which usually comes with a Phobia.
An example how ERP works.
If you had a fear of Lifts then it would be almost silly to expect that you could just go and travel 100 floors in a lift with no problems, to remove your fear it would be much more sensible to break this down into manageable steps.
ERP could help you make this fear better by:
1. Approaching the lift and pressing the button to call the lift to our floor. Noticing how you are feeling and if you are feeling fearful, noticing that you are dealing with the fear and managing the task you set out to do. If you do really feel fear, that is great it is what you want to happen. For long term fear to go down, short term fear must go up. Once you feel comfortable enough performing step one, you can then move onto step two.
2. This time you could step into the lift with someone holding the door open so you do have the option to step out again but can get a feel for what the inside of the lift is like. After performing this enough times to feel comfortable you could then move to step three.
3. Step three could be about allowing doors to close while you are inside and then push the door open button again to let yourself back out- repeat this step enough that you feel comfortable enough to move to step 4.
4. Now you arrive at the point where we feel comfortable enough to travel one floor. If you feel fearful here then remember this is good, the feeling of fear must come in order to remove it in the long term.
After step four, it would be about building on your confidence to travel in any lift confidently and comfortably when you need to use one.
It’s only natural to want to avoid the thing or situation you fear. But when it comes to conquering phobias, facing your fears is the key. While avoidance may make you feel better in the short-term, it prevents you from learning that your phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as you think.
You never get the chance to learn how to cope with your fears and experience control over the situation. As a result, the phobia becomes increasingly scarier and more daunting in your mind.
The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes.
Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you’ll begin to realize that the worst isn’t going to happen; you’re not going to die or "lose it." With each exposure, you’ll feel more confident and in control. The phobia begins to lose its power.
Successfully facing your fears takes planning, practice, and patience. At the Hertfordshire Wellbeing Centre we have nearly 20 years experience helping people to manage their fears.
If you suffer with a fear or phobia we CAN help
Paul Allenby has been providing effective therapy since 1997 and has gained a wealth of experience in helping people in this area.
The combination of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and exposure therapy can make a real difference to how you cope.
Check over the pages on this website to see how our private therapy sessions can help you take back control.