I had a trip lately that involved some heights and I had to face my fear of heights phobia (also called acrophobia). A phobia is basically an excessive persistent stupid fear. Because I want to overcome it, I brought out in the light my old college materials and I found this method called systematic desensitization.
In short, the person is exposed imaginary (or rarely, physically) to that scary sh*t while doing some relaxation techniques so that anxiety is diminished. This is repeated until that anxiety comes down to a bearable level.
First of all, that person has to know a profound muscular relaxation method (I wrote about one here). Secondly, that person has to create a list with all situations related that cause anxiety and order those situations from 0 to 10 based on how much anxiety it causes (usually, it’s easier to start with the extremes). The more situations are found, the easier the transition will be.
Here is my list:
0 – Staying on the ground.
1 – Looking at a photo view from a top of a mountain;
2 – Watching videos with people being on high buildings with no safety fence;
3 – Standing up on a chair;
4 – Watching down from the open window of my 4th floor apartment;
5 – Going up on a ladder;
6 – Being on a second floor open balcony;
7 – Riding a cable car;
8 – Being on a 10th floor open balcony;
9 – Riding a chairlift;
10 – Being on the edge of a roof of a building that has 100 floors with no safety fence.
The “work” that needs to be done is imagining doing each situation from 0 to 10 while relaxing the body, but don’t get to another situation too fast because the anxiety might be too big to handle. Just the exposal itself without some relaxation might still reduce the anxiety, but it takes much more time.
What phobias do you have? Have you tried to reduce it?