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Facing Your Fears And Phobias

The Facing Your Fears And Phobias guide is written for clients who struggle with fears or phobias. It provides comprehensive information about what fear is, how fears and phobias can be maintained, and detailed instructions explaining how the practice of exposure can be used to overcome fears. Designed for use as guided self-help it can be used to support work completed in session, or can provide a scaffold for treatment for sufficiently motivated clients.

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A psychoeducational guide. Typically containing elements of skills development.


Languages this resource is available in

  • English (GB)
  • English (US)

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Introduction & Theoretical Background

Everyone feels afraid sometimes. Uncomfortable as it is, fear is an unavoidable part of life. In fact, a little fear can help you stay safe and avoid danger. However, fear can become so intense, or trouble you so often, that it leads to serious problems. When particular objects or situations cause intense fear, psychologists refer to this as a ‘phobia’. 

Facing Your Fears And Phobias is a guide written for clients who struggle with their fears, and can be used to introduce them to exposure therapy. It will help them learn:

  • What fear is.
  • How fear gets ‘stuck’ and becomes a problem.
  • How to use exposure to overcome their fears.

Therapist Guidance

Facing Your Fears And Phobias is designed for use as guided self-help and can be used to support work completed in session. Alternatively, it can provide a scaffold for self-help for sufficiently motivated clients. 

The guide begins with psychoeducation, guiding clients through a discussion of fear, its purpose, and when it becomes a problem. It then elaborates fear from a CBT perspective (exploring fearful thoughts, images, physical responses, and behaviors) before introducing the principles of exposure, habituation, and inhibitory learning. 

The second part of the guide leads clients through practical steps they can take to overcome their fears and phobias. Exercises include developing a fear ladder and then conducting an exposure session which includes multiple repetitions of exposure to a a feared stimulus. Finally, instructions concerning relapse prevention are elaborated.

References And Further Reading

  • Ciuca, A. M., Berger, T., Crişan, L. G., & Miclea, M. (2018). Internet-based treatment for panic disorder: A three-arm randomized controlled trial comparing guided (via real-time video sessions) with unguided self-help treatment and a waitlist control. PAXPD study results. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 56, 43-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.03.009.
  • Furmark, T., Carlbring, P., Hedman, E., Sonnenstein, A., Clevberger, P., Bohman, B., ... & Andersson, G. (2009). Guided and unguided self-help for social anxiety disorder: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 440-447. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.060996.
  • Hofmann, S. G., & Smits, J. A. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69, 621-632.
  • Papworth, M. (2020). How to beat fears and phobias one step at a time. Using evidence-based low-intensity CBT. Robinson.
  • Springer, K. S., & Tolin, D. F. (2020). The big book of exposures: Innovative, creative, and effective CBT-based exposures for treating anxiety-related disorders. New Harbinger.
  • Tolin, D. (2012). Face your fears: A proven plan to beat anxiety, panic, phobias, and obsessions. John Wiley and Sons.