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Reducing Phobia Fears and INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SPACE by Emily Austin


Cover of the book Interesting Facts About Space used to teach reducing fears about phobias.

Enid enjoys listening to true crime podcasts and dating women she meets online. She struggles to express her feelings and connects with people she cares about by sharing interesting facts about space.

 

Enid has a major phobia. She is terrified of bald men. The phobia is longstanding, but it hasn’t historically mattered. Women don’t scare her, and Enid’s male best friend has a full head of hair. That all changes when a bald man moves into her apartment building and another bald man starts working in her office. Suddenly, seemingly surrounded by bald men, Enid is constantly in a high state of anxiety. She can’t concentrate in meetings with her new (bald) colleague and avoids necessary work to prevent interactions with him. Things at home are equally tricky. Enid worries her (bald) neighbor is dangerous, leading her to install and obsessively check a ring camera and spend nights away from home out of fear.

 

Phobias are uncontrollable, irrational, and lasting fears of specific objects, situations, or activities. People with phobias devote lots of time and energy to avoiding the object of their fear. And, when faced with their phobias, reactions are severe – sometimes including panic attacks.

 

When the phobia is rarely experienced, people are unlikely to view it as a problem or seek help. But, if exposure to the phobia is frequent and hard to avoid, phobias can impact activities functioning at work, school, home, or social settings.

 

Gradually increased exposure to phobias in a safe environment while using relaxation skills (like deep breathing) breaks avoidance patterns and reduces fear and anxiety. Once you’ve identified your specific phobia, try these steps (using Enid and bald men as examples) in safe settings:

 

Think: Think about bald people.

 

Visualize: Picture bald people in her mind.

 

Look at Pictures: View many pictures of bald men.

 

Approach: Try sitting near a bald person.

 

Toe in the Water: Briefly talk to a bald person.

 

Test Drive: Hang out with a bald person in a meeting or social setting.

 

Prolonged Exposure: Incorporate bald people into Enid’s life, work on a team with the bald colleague, and hang out with the bald neighbor.


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