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Alex B. TMS and phobias

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Jun 19, 2014.

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    Question
    Can knowledge of TMS help people overcome phobias, such as fear of large dogs?
     
  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Very often people experience phobias as a direct result of experiencing traumas. While they can be very persistent, to overcome these phobias, the sufferers often must process the original trauma. While there are a variety of ways to do this, some are more effective than others. One type of therapy that has been shown to be effective is called systematic desensitization - it is essentially a process of gradual exposure to something that triggers the experience of the trauma, the "source" of the phobia, which in this case would be a dog. For example, the patient may start by being asked to simply imagine a small toy dog. They would do this until they would be able to do so without a sharp rise in anxiety and activation, by realizing through experience that the object could not and would not actually harm them. Then they would actually be in the room with a small toy dog, and so on until they were able to be exposed to the animal itself.
    How does this relate to TMS? TMS is essentially anything that serves as a vessel of preoccupation, something that has the capacity to keep you scared and intimidated, very similar to a phobia. In fact, the pain component of TMS could almost be seen as a phobia toward pain. Anytime the pain arises at all it creates preoccupation and fear that it won't go away, that you'll be crippled for life, or that you will never get better, completely occupying your thoughts and irrespective of evidence to the contrary. Just as with a more conventional phobia, when you recognize the function it is serving and that the only power it has is its ability to scare you, it becomes far easier to confront and overcome the source of the fear.


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    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

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