Fear is healthy and a natural occurrence in life. Everyone has a fear of something but when our fears become so heightened that they interfere with our everyday functioning, or drastically reduce our enjoyment of life, then we refer to them as phobias. Thankfully, phobias can be successfully treated by a number of methods including Exposure Therapy, Mindfulness Practices, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eyemovement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), to name a few.
People often wonder if their fear is normal or if they, indeed, have a phobia. Parents wonder whether their child is suffering from typical worries and fears in childhood. It is normal when we are nervous about upcoming events that are anxiety provoking like writing an exam or taking off in a plane in a snowstorm. It is natural to be afraid of strangers and the dark at different developmental stages in childhood. The majority of children grow out these fears.
Then, when should I be concerned?
When animal phobias (i.e. fear of dogs, spiders, rodents, snakes, etc.), social phobias (i.e. fear of public speaking, open spaces, socializing, etc.), situational circumstance phobias (i.e. driving, flying, heights, enclosed spaces), enviromental phobias (i.e. fear of thunderstorms, water, etc.) or blood/injury phobias (i.e. fear of needles, medical procedures, getting hurt/sick) prevent you or your child from doing the things you enjoy or cause you to avoid life situations, it may be time to the seek help of a professional. Counselling can help especially if your child is having difficulty sleeping, going to school or concentrating in school, or enjoying friends and family.
Come in and let's talk about what the best step forward is for you or your child.