The Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center
There is Hope. There is Help.
Call: 610-667-6490
112 Bala Avenue
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

Specific Phobias

Everyone confronts scary situations that they would rather avoid from time to time. But if the fear of an object, activity, or situation becomes so strong that it interferes with one’s life, the fear has escalated into a phobia. Common phobias include the fear of flying, heights, small spaces, snakes or insects, and public speaking. Many simple phobias, such as fear of dogs, begin in childhood, and an estimated 12 percent of Americans suffer from a phobia at some point in their life. Frequently the person is well aware that his or her reaction is irrational, but feels helpless to control the fear. Many of the physical symptoms that accompany panic attacks – such as sweating, racing heart, and trembling – also occur with phobias.

The treatment of choice for phobias is exposure therapy. This involves gradual exposure to the feared object or situation, frequently in the presence of a trained therapist. The phobic person is taught coping skills to better manage their anxiety. While gradually confronting the fear, they learn that they can conquer their anxiety.

The fearful flyers program at AATC deals with flying fears in a multifaceted fashion. Because misconceptions can contribute to fear, participants learn about basic principles of flight, air safety, and the nature of fear. Conditioned or learned, fears of flying are treated by means of desensi¬tization and training in anxiety management techniques such as controlled breath¬ing to help cope with anxiety in real-life situations. Treatment usually is conducted on an individual basis, but is provided in a group setting when there is sufficient interest.