Accepting that you have a phobia and deciding to do something about it takes a remarkable amount of resolution.
In joining a support group, you are no longer alone. You have become part of a network of people who know exactly what you mean when you say, “I feel like I’m going crazy” or “I think I’m going to lose control.”
Group leaders hear those thoughts expressed week after week. Those dreaded, indescribable thoughts and feelings are not unique. Although specific phobias of a group will vary, the symptoms are always similar.
Members learn concrete procedures to enable them to deal with their phobias. They are taught to change negative thoughts and behavioral patterns into positive ones. Members are taught to face, rather than avoid, the phobic situation. This, of course, is not easy and requires a commitment on the part of everyone involved. It should be understood that we are with you 100 percent and we will give you all the support and encouragement you need while you are in the group.
At times you will feel exhilarated by your progress, as if a miracle were happening. Other times will be less rewarding and you feel frustration-this is a time for a growth experience. There are peaks and valleys and it’s all a healthy part of getting better.
Experience has demonstrated that those who practice the steps to recovery make the most progress. This may seem like a great deal of work. But think of the days, months or even years you have wasted attending to your phobias. How much time have you spent tailoring your life to manipulate and avoid phobic situations? Think of how great you will feel when you can accomplish all the things you desire and your life is no longer dictated by your fears.
During your time in the group, you will learn many techniques to help you deal with your phobias. Many will come from the group members. Be open to suggestions. If something sounds reasonable, try it. If it works, write it down and incorporate it into your behavior. Share it with the group.
You will share the good and the bad with the group. That’s what groups are for!
Reprinted from the PM News, a former publication of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center
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