Fear is a normal human emotion. Everyone has the capacity to feel it. Being fearful of specific things is also quite common. In fact, in a recent national survey, 60% of the people interviewed reported that they feared some situation or thing. The most common types of fears were those of flying, heights, public transportation, bugs, mice, water, closed spaces, storms, tunnels, and bridges.
Taken at face value, having specific fears is not necessarily a problem. For example, few would consider it problematic to experience a fear of being mugged while walking alone in dark alleys in a big city. Most people would experience fear in this situation. Similarly, fears of certain deadly insects may not be unrealistic when traveling through particular areas. On the other hand, fears can sometimes become excessive and extreme. They can lead people to unnecessarily experience large amounts of intense anxiety and to avoid certain situations. For approximately 3 million people, fear reaches a point where it impairs their life in some way. Phobia is the official term used to describe this type of fear. We offer a type of cognitive behavioral therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) that has been specifically developed to treat excessive fears or phobias. It is a relatively short-term treatment that has been shown to be highly effective. For those already involved in a different type of treatment outside of our center, this treatment may serve as a useful addition.