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Fear

Fear is an emotion that everyone is familiar with but tries to avoid.  Fear arises when danger is perceived and triggers a fight, flight, or freeze response.  Fear is thought to come from a group of common basic emotions that all animals experience, including joy, anxiety, sadness, and anger.

Signs

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Hyperventilation
  • Muscle tension
  • Goose bumps
  • Sweating

Rational

Some fears are considered rational because they serve a purpose that is often based in evolution.  We fear things that can potentially harm us like dangerous animals, bad weather, natural disasters, and even fear of the unknown.  There are also fears of psychological trauma like rejection or even fear of intimacy.

Irrational

An irrational fear is considered inappropriate because the fear trigger is not necessarily dangerous, or the fear is disproportionate to the danger level.  These are called phobias:

  • Social phobia: fear of other people and social situations
  • Specific phobias: fear of a particular thing (spiders, heights, etc.)
  • Agoraphobia: fear of public or unfamiliar spaces

Treatment

Exposure therapy is beneficial for phobias as it allows a therapist to sensitively bring a client into contact with a fear trigger and comfort them, gradually reducing the fear response.  Social phobias and interpersonal fears, such as fear of rejection and intimacy, have severely negative effects on a sufferer’s life, so therapy is appropriate in these cases.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most likely method of treatment for these conditions.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists furnish a supportive environment, providing healthy outlooks and understanding.

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