The information presented in this website and the comments from Dr. Hughes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or psychological disorder. The information presented is not a substitute for medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment. You are advised to seek professional medical and psychological help as necessary.
How can I conquer my fears?
Conquering fears is an interesting notion. There are many techniques and ways of approaching this topic; however, in my opinion (which is not based on research, but is based on clinical observations over 20 years), people tend to get over their fears by simply doing the thing that they are afraid of without much thought. If you think this sounds a little like the Nike slogan, you are correct. For example, let’s say you have a fear of heights. You may get chest pains simply thinking about going up onto the high diving board at the pool. This would be a fear and you probably wouldn’t do much high diving. Now what if you were standing on the ground and there was an explosion. The only way to escape is to climb the ladder of the high diving board and jump to safety. Could you do it? I think you could, and I think you would. In a situation like that, we do what we have to do to survive and we are able to put our fears aside. These kinds of experiences are typically very liberating for people. They remark about how they were capable of so much more than they believed. So does that mean we need to put ourselves in danger to motivate a change in our behavior? Not necessarily. You need to know that whatever you are afraid of can be overcome and ideally that will give you the impetus to Just Do It.
Dr. Carsi Hughes received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University Medical School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in adult psychopathology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Academic appointments include Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology and Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Studies at Dominican University.