Over the years I have talked to many people – including a few very close friends – who have developed an intense fear of wide open spaces (agoraphobia). This affects their ability to socialize outside and often prevents them from traveling. They know that this fear is illogical and needlessly impacting on their happiness and relationships. But, they don’t seem to be able to free themselves from this dilemma.
Agoraphobia is a fear that normally develops during early years of our lives. This is the period when the human brain has not yet fully developed coping mechanisms. So, when a particularly disturbing event occurs, the young child’s old neurological response is a fearful one. Of course, assurances from adults may work to quickly sooth those fears away. However, when such events reoccur or a chronic situation – such as child abuse – continues, then this fear reaction becomes a habit. In order to alleviate the mental stress, this often results in such things as agoraphobia, hair-pulling (trichotillomania), or nail-biting (onychophagia).
Luckily for many children, these problems are ones that they eventually outgrow. However, I fear that too many medical doctors hope this will happen and fail to recommend that the child get the right psychotherapy. Therefore, in too many cases the issue persists well into the adult years.
Talented therapists can be very helpful when someone experiences a fear of open spaces. In fact, although some medications can help alleviate the symptoms, I prefer to see psychotherapy rather than medications alone. My Enjoying Wide Open Spaces CD and MP3 session is designed to help people who wish to move from agoraphobia to a full enjoyment of life.
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