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We are all afraid of something, but usually we can handle it. A phobia, on the other hand, is an extreme fear that we may need help to learn to control.

What is the difference between phobias and fears?

Phobias can be an extremely limiting part of many people’s lives. Therefore, they are not only classified as an excessive fear, but a psychological condition that affects an individual’s ability to function normally in everyday life. Fortunately, there are different types of therapy that give us the tools to deal with phobias.

How common are phobias?

According to research in the field, around 8-12% of the population suffer from one or more phobias in their lifetime. These can range from common phobias such as claustrophobia, fear of heights, social phobia, dental fear, snake phobia, spider phobia to lesser known ones such as hole phobia (trypophobia).

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Characteristics and symptoms

The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild worry to acute anxiety and panic attacks. Common features are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • sweating
  • tremors

Phobias can also lead to avoidance behaviours. For example, a person with social phobia may avoid social situations and events to avoid triggering their anxiety, which can lead to loneliness and depression in the long run.

Therapies that work for phobias and fears

As the treatment of phobias has advanced, there are several therapies that have proven to be effective:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – Very effective in treating phobias such as social phobia.
  • Exposure therapy Exposure to the phobic situation under controlled conditions.
  • Medication Often used in combination with therapy.

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How therapy can improve your life

Seeking professional help can significantly improve your quality of life. By giving you effective tools to deal with phobias, you can break the cycle of anxiety and fear that phobias create. There is unfortunately a stigma around seeking help for psychological problems, but talking to a therapist can be extremely liberating and helpful if you are living with a phobia that is hindering your daily life.

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Take the first step to booking a therapy session

Life is too short to let phobias limit you. Therefore, therapy is a step in the right direction to help you live a full and rich life. If you or someone you know is living with phobias, professional therapy can make a real difference. Our therapists and psychologists offer a confidential and safe environment to explore and treat your phobias.

9 common questions and answers about phobias and fears

What is a phobia?

A phobia is an irrational and intense fear or anxiety about a particular object, situation or activity. This fear is usually long-lasting and can be very limiting in daily life.

How are phobias different from ordinary fears?

Ordinary fear is a natural reaction to an actual danger, while a phobia is an exaggerated fear that has no rational explanation. Phobias can be triggered even when there is no actual risk.

Are phobias common?

Yes, phobias are one of the most common forms of mental health problems. It is estimated that a significant proportion of the population suffers from at least one form of phobia.

How are phobias treated?

Treatment can vary but often involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), medication such as antidepressants or anxiolytics, and exposure therapy.

What is social phobia?

Social phobia, also known as social anxiety, is the fear of social situations where the person may be scrutinized or judged by others.

Is it possible to get rid of a phobia?

Yes, with the right treatment and support, most people can overcome or at least reduce their phobic symptoms. However, professional help is usually required.

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is the fear of places or situations where it may be difficult or embarrassing to escape or get help if you have a panic attack.

Can phobias lead to other mental health problems?

Yes, untreated phobias can lead to other problems such as depression or other anxiety disorders.

Where can I seek help for my phobia?

If you suffer from a phobia, we recommend that you contact a professional psychologist or therapist. You can easily book a session online via the booking form on Lavendla.se/therapy.

Treating phobias step by step

This is what treating your phobia can look like, which can feel overwhelming, but remember that you are not alone in your journey to overcome your fear. There is help available and here is an idea of what it might look like:

Understanding and evaluation

The first step is to understand that you have a phobia and that it is okay to seek help for it. A professional will help you evaluate your situation and understand what is causing your fear.


You will learn about your phobia and how it affects you both physically and mentally. It is important to understand what happens in your body and mind when the fear occurs.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy can be scary, but it is an effective way to gradually get used to what you are afraid of. Together with your therapist, you will explore situations that trigger your phobia and learn how to deal with them.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

You will work on identifying and changing negative thought patterns that are linked to your fear. This will help you develop a more positive view of yourself and your ability to manage the phobia.

Breathing and relaxation techniques

To manage anxiety, you will learn breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that you can use when you feel scared or anxious.

Medication (if needed)

In some cases, doctors may suggest medication to help with anxiety symptoms. This is something you and your doctor can discuss if appropriate.

Support and follow-up

You will have support from your therapist throughout the process. They will be there to listen, support and guide you on the path to overcoming your phobia.

Self-help and homework

Your therapist can give you exercises and tools to use on your own between sessions to strengthen your skills and confidence.

Involving specialists (if necessary)

If your phobia is complex and requires specialized care, your therapist will help you find the right specialist for your situation.

Follow up and evaluate progress

It is important to regularly evaluate your progress and adjust the treatment plan if necessary. This ensures that you are on the right path towards overcoming your phobia.

Supporting recovery and quality of life

The goal is for you to regain a high quality of life and be able to participate in activities that you previously avoided because of your phobia. Treatment is about helping you to live a more free and joyful life.

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Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.