If you’re a regular reader of articles about spider phobias, you’re probably well aware of the standard treatments available. I’m talking about the Exposure methods. Just in case you haven’t run into them yet, I highly recommend you have a look and see for yourself. What you’ll find is that all of them involve you “Facing The Fear” while you’re still frightened.
For some reason, they seem to aim these methods at spider phobia sufferers more than any other group. The problem with them isn’t their effectiveness. More often than not they work. The trouble is no-one wants to use them.
And the people who offer these treatments have trouble understanding why this is. ABC News, Australia quotes one researcher, Allison Matthews from the University of Tasmania, claiming that, “…many do not seek treatment because it is too costly or difficult to access.”
Well Allison’s right that many do not seek treatment. But I’ve spoken to many phobia sufferers who have declined this treatment, and I don’t think the reasons she gives tell the whole story. I think it has something to do with the nature of the method she uses. All these treatments involve facing your fear. With some, it’s bit by bit, with others it’s all at once.
It might also have something to do with the various names these therapies go under; like Exposure, Implosion, Flooding, and Systematic Desensitisation. They sound more like methods for extracting confessions than treatments for helping people overcome fear.
Facing your fear to cure your fear just seems primitive to me; a bit like catching a disease so you become immune to it. It works, but there are far better ways to do it. It’s not surprising that so few phobia sufferers take it up. It’s simply asking too much of them.
The Biggest Hurdle Of Any Treatment Is Getting People To Actually Use It
And if most of the people you are trying to help won’t come to see you, you can’t stand up and claim how well it works and how wonderful it is.
The good news is that facing the fear is now completely unnecessary. There are plenty of methods that collapse the fear without forcing you to face the thing you are frightened of. There are good effective treatments available that are well documented and proven. It’s hard to turn on your television these days without seeing someone having their phobia cured right before your eyes.
The 7-step treatment I use accesses the fear memory and then erases the horrid feelings completely, before it becomes a long-term memory once again. After this there’s no more fear whenever you remember, or even encounter, whatever it was that used to seem so frightening.
Obviously, it’s important to test your fear after any treatment. But this shouldn’t be the sum total of the treatment itself. And it should only happen after the fear has gone.