By Emma Johnston

2 min readPublished On: September 20, 2022Categories: Phobias, Virtual Reality
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Know your phobias!

Here at ThinkWise, we love treating phobias. However, what we also love are the interesting names given to the various phobias that we see in our clinic, so we thought we would share some of these phobias with you.

The word “phobia” derives from the Greek phobos meaning fear.

In modern day terminology, a phobia is an irrational fear of something commonly found in the world. Whilst most people have heard of Claustrophobia (a fear of being in enclosed spaces), Agoraphobia (fear of being in public or with people), or Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), some of the names of other phobias are really interesting and may even help you answer quiz night questions!!

Acrophobia: Fear of heights

Aviophobia: Fear of flying (also known as Pteromerhanophobia!)

Aichmophobia: Fear of needles

Amaxophobia: Fear of riding in a car

Astraphobia: Fear of thunder and lightning (A fear of thunder is also known as Tonitrophobia)

Entomophobia: Fear of insects

Glossophobia: Fear of public speaking

Haemophobia: Fear of blood

Mysophobia: Fear of germs (also known as Verminophobia)

Noctiphobia: Fear of the night

Nyctophobia: Fear of darkness

Ombrophobia: Fear of rain

Scolionophobia: Fear of school

The virtual reality technology that we utilise at ThinkWise allows clients a more immersive exposure experience to the phobia, in a safe environment. For example, when working with clients who are experiencing aichmophobia (fear of needles), our Clinical Psychologists will engage you in psychoeducation and anxiety reduction training using cognitive behavioural strategies. When you feel ready to begin some “in-virtuo” exposure (exposure to the feared stimulus, in this case needles) the virtual reality technology can be used.

You wear virtual reality goggles in sessions guided by the psychologist. You will begin the experience a pathology waiting room, which can often induce feelings of anxiety. The steps that follow include moving into the area where the needle is given, or blood is drawn, receiving instructions from a nurse, and then having the procedure done (all virtually but experienced immersively through the experience of the goggles).

Only when the anxiety has reduced significantly does the psychologist move you on to the next step in the exposure process. The virtual reality software for treatment of needle phobia can guide you through having an injection, to having blood drawn.

This immersion in the experience using virtual reality software better prepares you to face your fears in real life, compared to exposure done only by imagining oneself in a situation. Clients have reported that they can almost feel the needle go in when then are wearing VR goggles as the experience seems so real.

As always, ThinkWise are happy to take queries regarding the treatment of all of the phobias listed above, using our state of the art virtual reality therapy.

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