Jeff’s Fear of Dogs
Jeff was afraid of dogs. According to him, when he was six years old, he was bitten by a friend’s dog at a birthday party. He was so afraid that when his parents got the family a dog, they had to send it back to a shelter due to Jeff’s abnormal and intense reaction to the dog in the house. Fast forward many years later, and Jeff had just ended a relationship with a woman he had been dating for about three months. Upon learning she had a dog, he refused to enter her home. They either went out or stayed over at Jeff’s house.
When they both began discussions about making their relationship more serious, Jeff informed his girlfriend that she would need to give her dog away. She refused, and that ended the relationship. It was then that Jeff realized his phobia was getting out of hand and he needed help.
Using Hindsight to Develop Understanding
This story is good news, once Jeff made a decision to get help, he was given the assignment to learn about dogs and slowly begin exposure exercises under the guidance of a therapist. This was an opportunity for Jeff to learn to manage his anxiety. Additionally, Jeff was given the assignment to learn about the behaviors of dogs. So even before Jeff began his exposure exercises, he was already able to identify the mood states of dogs. He was even able to identify which dogs were more trusting and loyal to their owners versus which dogs had a weak bond with their owners. His newfound knowledge of dogs added to his sense of confidence and calm in following through with his exposure exercises. In therapy, Jeff was even able to exercise hindsight, to understand how the natural exuberance of a child coupled with poor dog training led to him being bitten.
The Blueprint to Moving Past Anxiety
In essence, this is a framework on how to successfully address anxiety. For anyone who struggles with anxiety, you have to identify the root cause and develop an intimate understanding of what is causing your reaction. It is only when you have successfully achieved these two fundamentals that you can begin the process of practicing strategies to help you move past the issue that is holding you back.
This blueprint applies to all types of anxiety. For anxieties and phobias which people struggle to explain, it is likely something that originated in childhood. If you struggle with an unexplained anxiety or a phobia, you will receive the most benefit from working with a therapist to explore your early life experiences.
The good news is that whether you are struggling with an unexplained anxiety or otherwise, you can heal, and experience life without worry or excessive fear.
Ugo Uche is a psychotherapist and expert in anxiety and related disorders. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.
Ugo also provides Online therapy for those who cannot travel to his office.