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Psychotherapy & Counselling for Phobias (ages 18+)
in Kingston (Eastern Ontario) and Online

Hello Serenity Seekers!

Ever find yourself wanting to fully engage in life, only to have your constant fretting snatch you away from the moment? Every decision, every word, every past event seems to loop endlessly in your mind. Whether it's pondering the healthiness of your lunch choice or obsessing over a coworker's opinion of you, or feeling nervous that you might not be able to find a bathroom if you need one once you leave the house, your worries have jumped into the driver's seat and they shouldn't really be driving this bus.

Daily tasks morph into daunting challenges as your nerves spiral out of control, leaving you breathless and disoriented. You may have even questioned if you're battling ADHD, as your thoughts dart around faster than you can catch them. Is it normal to struggle to catch your breath? To feel like your body's revving up for a sprint when you're just tackling emails or another virtual team meeting at your desk?

If this sounds all too familiar, if you're trying to do the things, and you just can't because of crippling anxiety and fear that you cannot put a lid on, friend, you might be wrestling with phobias.

Let our Phobia Fixers guide you.

But fret not! We're champions at conquering anxieties, turning them into yesterday's news.

Phobias might make you feel like you're on a solo journey through uncharted waters, but you're not alone. Seeking experienced, professional help is a smart move towards reclaiming your peace of mind. Just as you wouldn't tackle diabetes without expert guidance, managing your phobias solo isn't the wisest choice either.

 

That's where our seasoned team steps in. With psychotherapy and counselling as our method of choice, we've battled phobias time and again, emerging victorious. Forget about quick fixes; we're in it for the long haul, arming you with the tools to face your fears head-on.

Our crew of psychologists, social workers, and registered psychotherapists are poised to guide you through weekly therapy sessions. Together, we'll unravel the mysteries of your phobias, paving the way for lasting tranquility. So, what say you? Ready to embark on this transformative journey with us?

Person holding a snake in their hand

FAQs - Anxiety Psychotherapy and Counselling in Kingston, ON

Which of your staff are experts in treating Phobias?

What are some common types of Phobias?

There are so many phobias, it would be ridiculous to try to name them all! At Limestone Clinic we have seen people with fear of things (snakes, bugs, needles), places (hospitals, attics, basements), people (clowns, doctors, dentists), and experiences (getting a vaccination, swimming in a lake, driving a car). Odds are if you have one phobia, you may have a few more!

What should I expect in therapy for my phobia?

  • You book a free consultation (phone-y freebie) or a full-length first appointment (hit-the-ground-running) with us by simply sending us a message or phoning our admin staff.

  • Once you and your therapist have had a meeting and have decided to work together, it will be time for Phase 1 of therapy - learning more about what the phobia is, how it starts, and what it does inside your body to result in feeling so terrible, as well as reviewing your personal history. It's time to get to know you! You and your therapist will explore how your life experiences, thoughts, and situational specifics seem to be combining to sustain instead of resolve your fear(s).

  • In Phase 2, together, you and your therapist will work on obliterating the factors that make you feel poorly.

  • Provided that you are not tempted to avoid your phobia and its associated feelings, you will probably begin to start noticing that you are feeling better after a period of putting in the work. For a single phobia, this is usually about 6-8 sessions, and oftentimes sooner!

Is Psychotherapy for Phobias right for me?

  • Are you committed to making a change in your emotional life and your relationships?

  • Are you willing to trust a helping professional, share even the tricky parts of your experiences, in the interest of diving head-first into feeling better?

  • Are you willing to invest in yourself financially and do you have the funds to give this a fair shake?

  • Will you give yourself the time you need to turn around a challenging problem? For most people seeking help for anxiety, you can expect that a fair shake at psychotherapy would be at least 6-8 sessions before you can expect to see a noticeable difference. It will take longer the more serious the problem, and the longer you've had the problem without seeking help.

  • Realistically, only YOU can decide if this is right for you (so don't book an appointment if your wife wants you to do this more than you honestly want to do it).

  • If you're not sure, an option is to book a free 15-minute consultation to get a "feel" for the therapist of your choosing.

  • Here is a simple infographic on how this all works.

Person looking through a hole, you can see their eye

What are the Signs of a Phobia Problem?

Different people feel things differently.

Just like anxiety, phobia problems vary from person to person. While two individuals may be diagnosed with a phobia problem, their symptoms and severity can differ greatly.

Some individuals with phobia problems may seem to manage their daily routines effectively but endure significant physical or emotional strain, or dedicate their downtime to recuperation.

For others, their phobia(s) seem to take over, making living day to day seem impossible without really planning, avoiding certain things or places, or restricting their daily lives in an effort to make the distress liveable.

A Phobia is a problem when it interferes with your capacity to do what you need to do on a regular basis. If you are really struggling with your phobia, it's time to get help.

Understanding Strong Fears and Phobias

In our Western culture, we often pride ourselves on our individuality. However, when it comes to our fears, we tend to share more similarities than differences.

Snakes, spiders, and heights have a knack for reducing many of us to quivering masses. Public speaking? It's like an express ticket to the land of perspiration.

Certain fears resonate amongst us easily, and others less so. Yet, the stronger fear reactions we have, called Phobias, need not remain shrouded in mystery. According to experts, many are rooted in evolution, emerging as protective responses to perceived threats like venomous bites or confined spaces that leave us susceptible to predators. Alternatively, they can be acquired through observation, whether from parental influence or witnessing harrowing events like near-drownings.

Fears, at their root, generally make good common sense. After all, fears alert us to situations that could potentially expose people to some form of threat or danger. And fears are proportional and make sense this way, as well, meaning that the lower the person’s perception of threat or danger, the less scared they will feel about that thing or situation. And, for the majority of people, fear responses are normal, don’t disrupt our lives, and are oftentimes protective.

Consider children, who instinctively shy away from a cliff ledge, recognizing the potential for harm. Similarly, the fear of public speaking, capable of humbling even the most formidable prosecutor, arises from the preference to avoid others’ judgment, fearing that scrutiny of what is said may result in someone deciding we are inept, awkward, weird, unappealing, or unintelligent. It makes sense, then, that individuals may sometimes invest extra effort in preparation to ensure their presentation proceeds without a hitch. These responses to fear are adaptive and helpful.


However, for some individuals grappling with irrational or exaggerated responses to feared stimuli, known as phobias, a different breed of anxiety takes hold. Take Dr. Boksman, for example, who once battled a fear of heights for as long as she could remember, rendering her unable to partake in special and memorable family activities, like helicopter rides or visits to the CN Tower, despite her genuine desire to enjoy these experiences. Phobias, she explains, can strike unexpectedly, with panic attacks manifesting suddenly, accompanied by a rush of impending doom, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, trembling, and chest tightness – as if out of nowhere. The fear of experiencing another episode can propel individuals to great lengths to avoid triggers like bridges, or whatever circumstance sparked the initial reaction.

In Canada, according to the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, approximately 8.7% of the population experiences a phobic disorder. At 40 million people in Canada (or nearly so), this is just under 3.5 million Canadians who are significantly impacted in some way by their phobias! If this is also you, you're in good company. Notably, those who experience one phobia often find themselves contending with additional fears, as well.

 

Unfortunately, the prevalence of anxiety disorders appears to be on the rise, according to Dr. Robert Leahy, the director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. Shockingly, Leahy notes that the average child today experiences anxiety levels comparable to those experienced by psychiatric patients in the 1950s. The rise in anxiety can be linked to many factors that are different in the fabric of today’s social reality compared to that of 75 years ago - social instability, divorce rates, less engagement in community-based activities, larger education class sizes, and greater exposure to negative events in our social media, to name a few. 

Fear not! (haha! see what we did there?) There's light at the end of the tunnel. While anxiety disorders may be on the rise, treatment options are plentiful and highly effective. At Limestone Clinic, we offer specialized services tailored to treat fears and phobias, employing cutting-edge techniques like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotional Freedom Techniques, and Brainspotting. These methods have shown remarkable results, even for those who have not responded well to traditional approaches. 

Therapy can help people live normal lives again. But It isn't easy, as treatment for anxiety often involves discussing, thinking about, witnessing, and in some cases even purposefully being near or DOING the thing you’re most afraid of. Being scared of something and doing it anyway to get over it– just plain takes courage. And, it also makes common sense. After all, to get over your fear of dogs, most people understand that, at some point, being around dogs is probably indicated. You have to be really ready to get these changes accomplished to expect good results in your therapy sessions. This is not a passive treatment -- your engagement in the therapy will determine how well it works, as the therapy will require tapping into that well of motivation to feel and do better since your fears will try to tell you that it is better just to avoid the whole endeavour.

There are some new reasons to be even more optimistic about phobia treatment than ever before - it is now not always necessary to expose yourself to the feared situations or things to recover from them. “Believe it or not, therapy for phobias is also now possible in some clients, without exposure to the feared thing, through use of Brainspotting.” This is how Dr. Boksman recovered from her very notable and uncomfortable fear of heights. “I used to be so fearful of heights that I couldn’t even watch my children playing Legend of Zelda, as their game characters had to scale large structures, resulting in our television set appearing to represent a very risky situation to the character. I used to be so sensitive to my fear of heights, that watching a video game character on my kids’ TV screen would make my hands and feet sweat, and I had to leave the room because I was so uncomfortable.”

 

Dr. Boksman found relief for her fear of heights, as well as her snake and (yes! haha!) guinea-pig phobias, in a single session of Brainspotting. The following week, Dr. Kris was able to take a helicopter ride with her son - something she had tried to do, but failed to be able to do, for the past 40 years. “I couldn’t really believe that something that had filled me with terror was something I could enjoy. But I did! The helicopter ride was fun, and I plan to do it again. But the benefits of that session didn’t stop there. The following week, when visiting relatives, I also enjoyed holding a snake and letting it coil around the nape of my neck. I kissed the snake on its snout, and was able to feel a real sense of affection for the creature. I was not at all scared or worried. It was such a refreshing change!”

With courage and the right guidance, therapy can help individuals reclaim their lives from the grip of anxiety, offering newfound freedom and empowerment. Dr. Boksman's own journey from paralyzing fear to exhilarating freedom stands as a testament to the transformative power of effective treatment, done by experienced and knowledgeable treatment providers (she had a session with a Limestone Clinic staff member!). With the right help, recovery from phobias really is possible.

What are the Types of Phobias people can have?

A phobia becomes diagnosable when it meets specific criteria outlined by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

A phobia can be classified as a "disorder" when it causes significant distress and seriously impedes your ability to manage daily activities and fulfill essential roles. It's more than just feeling afraid; it's an overwhelming fear that prevents you from socializing, working, studying, or handling everyday tasks.

In theory, there are hundreds of phobias that people might have, though listed below are a few of the most common.

Kid Getting Vaccinated

The most common phobias we see at the clinic are the following:

Spider Phobia:

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, sends shivers down the spine of many. From its eight legs to its intricate webs, spiders trigger a primal fear response in some individuals.

 

Height Phobia:

Acrophobia, the fear of heights, can leave even the bravest souls trembling at the thought of standing on a tall building or looking down from a high balcony.

Social Phobia:

Social anxiety disorder, characterized by an overwhelming fear of social situations, can make everyday interactions feel like daunting challenges. From speaking in public to attending social gatherings, those with social phobia often struggle with intense self-consciousness and fear of judgment.

 

Flying Phobia:

Aerophobia, the fear of flying, can ground even the most adventurous spirits. Whether it's turbulence, claustrophobia, or a fear of crashing, the thought of boarding a plane can evoke panic in those with this phobia.

 

Claustrophobia:

Claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed spaces, can turn routine activities like riding in elevators or sitting in crowded rooms into unbearable experiences. The feeling of being trapped or unable to escape can trigger intense anxiety and panic attacks.

Fear of Public Speaking:

Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is a common phobia that can affect people from all walks of life. Whether it's giving a presentation at work or speaking in front of a crowd, the fear of embarrassment or judgment can make public speaking a daunting prospect.

Fear of Darkness:

Nyctophobia, the fear of darkness, can grip individuals with a primal sense of dread. Whether it stems from childhood experiences or a fear of the unknown lurking in the shadows, nyctophobia can make navigating dimly lit spaces a daunting task.

Fear of Snakes:

Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, taps into our innate fear of predators. Even non-venomous snakes can evoke intense fear in those with this phobia, leading to avoidance of areas where snakes may be present.

Fear of Enclosed Spaces:

Claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed spaces, can make everyday activities like riding in elevators or sitting in crowded rooms unbearable. The feeling of being trapped or unable to escape can trigger intense anxiety and panic attacks.

Fear of Spiders:

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common phobias worldwide. Whether it's their eight legs, venomous reputation, or sudden movements, spiders can evoke a strong fear response in many individuals.

Fear of Germs:

Germophobia, the fear of germs or contamination, can lead to compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand-washing or avoiding public places. In extreme cases, germophobia can significantly impact daily life and social interactions.

How Can We Help You?

TYPES OF THERAPY

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

OUR LOCATIONS

We are located in Kingston, Ontario, but also offer convenient online therapy services to all of Ontario, which means that we often have clients see us from the Toronto/GTA, Ottawa, London, Sarnia, Niagara, Peterborough, Muskoka, Belleville, Napanee, Amherstview, Kingston, Wolfe Island, Gananoque, Sydenham, Glenburnie, Inverary, Rockport, Thousand Islands, and Brockville regions.

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