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Mental Health Counseling and Therapy Options for Phobias

Closeup of a man screaming

Closeup of a man screaming

There are many forms of anxiety disorders and for the most part, they can be cured. Treatments for phobias vary, and there’s no one size fits all solution. Sometimes, it can be a combination of treatments that will eventually cure the disorder.

Generally, phobias don’t require treatment unless it’s impeding you from performing your daily tasks, working, or preventing you from having healthy interpersonal relationships.

That means, if you’re afraid of sharks, you can just avoid swimming in the ocean and avoid paying for treatment.

However, if you have a phobia like a social anxiety disorder, seeking treatment can go a long way to help you overcome it.

Treatment is usually a combination of counseling and therapies. Here’s a look at the most common therapies that are used to treat phobias.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is all about the patient and therapist focusing on each other. This form of therapy helps the therapist build rapport and work together with the patient to resolve the issue.

This type of psychoanalysis and a combination of therapies can go on for several months or even years. It just depends on the phobia and the type of therapy that’ll be best suited to the individual.

Group Therapy

A common form of group therapy for phobias is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT. The duration of this type of group therapy may be an hour or several days.

Sessions can also take the form of seminars and can take place near the source of the phobia.

For example, if you had Cynophobia, you might have a therapy session at a hotel next to a dog park. You will essentially engage in group psycho-educational classes and will be exposed to dogs during the course of the program.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT will help you manage your fears by slowly changing your thought patterns. It’s based on the idea that our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors are all interconnected.

For example, a sufferer of this phobia will strongly believe that any situation where they come into contact with the source of the phobia will be dangerous. This will lead to a cycle of automatic thoughts that will create a behavioral reaction that’s consistent with the phobia.

It might take several sessions to change this thought pattern. CBT sessions might take on an incremental plan with steps to slowly help alter your thoughts.

So if you have Aerophobia, sessions might include watching movies about planes, visiting airports, and finally flying.

Commonly used CBT techniques draw from the following:

  • Cognitive theory
  • Learning theory
  • Various schools of behaviorisms

Family Therapy

If your family is contributing to the development or progression of your phobia, your therapist will probably suggest family therapy as part of your counseling and treatment plan.

It’s a common part of treatment plans that treat children with phobias.


Sometimes therapists will prescribe medication if they deem it fit to your treatment plan. It’s a common practice in the treatment of social phobias where medication can play a significant role in helping you overcome your fear.

Medication prescribed during these treatment plans are one or the combination of the following:

  • Antidepressants
  • Beta blockers
  • Sedatives

If you have any questions about mental health counseling and therapy options for phobias, feel free to contact us.