One of the most common animal phobias is dog phobia. This is often caused by an incident of being bitten or attacked by a dog. Having a phobia for dogs is bad, not only because all phobias are horrible for the person, but also because dogs are literally everywhere. Fortunately, there are ways that help overcome such fear of dogs.
Here are some tips from The Cynophobia Clinic.
How is it treated?
People with cynophobia (fear of dogs) are often treated with a psychological treatment called “exposure therapy”. In exposure therapy, the individual with the phobia is assisted by an experienced clinician to approach the object or situation that they fear while being coached on how to deal with their anxiety. This is usually done very gradually, so as not to cause more harm than good, and is done either over a number of sessions or one prolonged session, depending on the individual’s readiness to progress.
It is important to note, however, that the person should never be pushed into situations they are unwilling to encounter. This therapy is only for those who are willing to face their fear. The clinician seeks the patient’s consent at every stage.
How effective is exposure therapy?
Exposure therapy has been found to be extremely effective for people with cynophobia, perhaps more so than any other psychological therapy. It is the only treatment for specific phobias, like cynophobia, that is endorsed by the American Psychological Association and has been rated by the Australian Psychological Society as having the highest level of empirical support.
Exposure therapy has been developed and studied over many decades, and numerous scientific studies have proven its effectiveness. In fact, one study reported a significant reduction of symptoms in over 90% of the participants.