What are the most common fears that come up in therapy?

Fear is one of those experiences that, although unpleasant, ceases to be completely normal. To be alive means to face this emotion with relative frequency, among other things because in most cases it helps us to face the dangers and risks to which we expose ourselves.

However, everything has a limit and there are times when, without realizing it, we learn to fear things in a way that works against us. Therefore, psychologists are used to seeing frequent fears in their therapy sessions; these are psychological issues that lead some people to unconsciously self-sabotage, either because of trauma, a poorly managed grieving process, or simply because of a lack of education in emotional management , among other causes.

If you want to know the characteristics and effects of common fears that drive many people to seek psychological helpkeep reading.

Why is fear so common?

First, let’s start with a summary of what exactly fear is and why it is so common. It can be defined as one of the fundamental emotions of the human being, triggered by situations interpreted as dangerous; its importance is such that practically all members of our species experience it and express it with the same facial expressions, regardless of the culture to which they belong (with the exception of very small babies and a few cases where certain neurological dysfunctions affect the nervous system).

What does this tell us about the nature of fear? What it evolved as a mechanism of adaptation to the environment by natural selection: thanks to the fact that we are able to feel this emotion, our body and our mind react to places and living beings that could pose a threat, and they also communicate to the rest what is happening immediately, semi-consciously. As we are a social species and are usually around people, we are predisposed to pay attention to small facial details in others and detect subtle changes in facial expressions, so being able to detect signs of danger in fractions of a second intuition what others are feeling.

Now, while the neurobiological mechanisms that trigger the fear response surely haven’t changed much in the last few thousand years, what can cause us to feel that emotion has varied and diversified. This is why not all of the most frequent fears that come up in therapy are related to the fear of physical harm. As we will see, many people have learned to fear very abstract phenomena that have nothing to do with death or injury.

Frequent fears that are sold in the consultation of the psychologist

What evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago as a resource for surviving and avoiding at all costs the danger of being the victim of accidents or being victimized by predators, today also serves to cope with a world dominated by complex psychosocial processes: social pressure to adapt to expectations, financial instability, fake news and conspiracy theories, etc.

With this in mind, let’s see what are the common fears that come up in psychological therapy sessions, but remember that some of them may overlap and share common characteristics. The most common phobias, because they have their own different characteristics than “normal” fears, will have a separate section below.

1. Fear of death

The fear of death is among the most widespread both among those who go to the psychologist and among those who have never been to a psychology center; however, it can occur at such high intensity levels that it causes many problems and prevents the enjoyment of a good quality of life. With da pie a self-checking routine and is associated with hypochondria; in other cases, it is a more existential fear, which leads us to consider how special we are as individuals.

2. Fear of losing what I took for granted

This phenomenon is closely related to the anxiety of thinking that if certain unforeseen events occur (for example, losing all our money or suffering from an incurable disease) we may end up losing our essence, the one we thought was not there. would ever change in us and in our way of life. East a type of discomfort that is particularly common in times of economic crisis.

3. Fear of rejection

The fear of rejection is linked to catastrophic thoughts about what it would mean not to be accepted by a certain social group or by a particular person (for example, our partner). It generally predisposes us to behave like a submissive person and unable to defend his opinions and his interests with confidence.

4. Fear of loneliness

This is another of the frequent fears related to social life, and it has some differences from the previous one. Here what produces the fear is the unwanted loneliness itself, living without feeling a meaningful emotional connection with almost anyone.; it’s not about worrying about losing a social relationship with specific people we already know.

5. I’m afraid of looking like a parent

This fear appears especially in people who grew up in unstructured families. The idea that ancestors, cousins ​​and siblings are a reflection of what we might become if certain conditions are given makes many people feel terrified and have a very biased and pessimistic view of life. aspects such as genetic predisposition to develop mental illnesses, antisocial personality trait, etc.

6. Fear of losing control of what is being done

Normally, this type of fear takes the form of a fear of harming loved ones or endangering oneself. It is linked to self-esteem issues and/or having developed a true psychopathology, such as schizophrenia or intermittent explosive disorder.

7. Fear of wasting time

This is another of those common fears associated with existential crises; Those who suffer from it feel stuck in life and they suffer a great deal of discomfort at the idea of ​​doing nothing meaningful with these projects in which they invest their efforts.

What are the most common phobias?

When we talk about phobias, we are referring to a type of pathological fear that is part of anxiety disorders and is characterized by a sudden increase in anxiety levels in a few seconds before certain stimuli, which also do not present a real objective danger. If in the list of frequent fears that we have seen before this emotion is experienced as diffuse discomfort, in phobia appears a reaction closer to a panic attack, causing the person to feel that they are losing control of their body and that she needs to immediately leave the area where you are exposed to this stimulus.

On the other hand, although there are several types of phobias and what triggers their symptoms varies a lot, generally they are almost always the same: dizziness, tremors, rapid breathing, rapid increase in blood pressure, catastrophic thoughts about what will happen next, fading sensation, etc.

Here are the most common phobias:

  • Phobia of heights
  • Phobia of airplanes and flying
  • animal phobia
  • Social phobia
  • claustrophobia

Although this form of fear produces a great deal of discomfort and results in much more dramatic symptoms than the frequent fears we have seen before, Paradoxically, it is easier to treat them in psychotherapy; the phobia is generally well defined and it is not very complicated to help a patient to face these pathological fears with such concrete triggers.

Do you want to start a therapy process?

If you wish to count on the professional assistance of a team of psychologists, contact us.

In UPAD Psychology and Coaching we will support you by offering you tailor-made solutions after studying your file. Sessions can be in person or via video call.

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