Fear Not! (excerpts)
By HEIZEL L. MAINAR
November 1, 2011, 3:45am
The Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — November first, perhaps, is the time of the year when people can openly shriek or run away from the objects that they most fear like the aswang, manananggal or demonoids or the ample ghost and kababalaghan features that dominates the television shows.
Although fear is an instinct, according to Dr. Randy Dellosa, a psychiatrist and psychologist who also wears the hat of a life coach, “Fear means that there has been some danger and it may be real or imaginary. [But] even if it is imaginary the mind picks it up as something real or could be real so there is a reaction. And that includes fear of the dark or the cemetery. They may be imaginary but then that shows how powerful the mind is.”
What do you fear the most?
Aside from fearing those who hold the highest position in the management structure, some of the common fears or phobias, according to Dr. Dellosa, would be stage fright, fear of needles, snakes, heights, the dark, blood, and even the fear of the unknown. In stage fright, he says that a person fears being criticized, looked down upon or rejected. “Pinapangunahan nila ang thoughts ng mga tao…and their fear could be imaginary. Even for some artists, the first time that they go on stage, it could be nerve-wracking.”
To overcome fear, Dr. Dellosa stresses that a person must first understand where the fear is coming from or its causes before the fear can be properly addressed.
The fear of snakes, needles and the dark, among others, can be caused by many factors and it can be explained by many ways. Dr. Dellosa explains that one probable cause is childhood conditioning wherein a fearful or anxiety-provoking childhood experience can be integrated in the psyche of a person..."
Another factor that can cause phobias is genetics. According to Dr. Dellosa, those who are prone to anxiety and panic attacks are those who are easily scared or surprised. “If the parents or relatives have it, it can be passed on through the genes.”
Facing Your Fears
Since there are many ways to skin a cat, Dr. Dellosa also applies many ways and approaches to help his clients face their fears. But since the first thing that gets disrupted while experiencing fear is the breathing, he stresses that a person must first know how to breathe properly. Then apply positive affirmation or positive thoughts before exposing the person to the object of his fear.
Once proper breathing and mental conditioning are attained, Dr. Dellosa then applies one or a combination of therapies like the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a method wherein the mind is used to address the fear, irrational thoughts were identified and replaced with positive thoughts or affirmation.
Exposure therapy can be gradual or it can be direct. “Like if a person is afraid of snakes, he can think first of a worm and then he can start imagining a bigger snake, then a python until he imagines holding a python. The final step is actual exposure. He can start with a rubber worm, then a small rubber snake until he can hold an actual snake.”
Hypnotherapy is also another technique wherein a therapist gives suggestions directed to the person’s subconscious while he is in a relaxed state. “If the person is awake and the therapist tells him not to be afraid, the conscious mind might resist. So it has to be more in a relaxed state,” he says.
Another approach is what he calls ‘Fake it until you make it.’ He explains that even if a person is not brave enough, acting upon it sometimes makes the emotions follow.
Lastly, facing and conquering fears may be a one-session miracle as what Dr. Dellosa calls it. But for others, intervention could last for months or even years. “Realize that people can’t immediately change, you cannot impose change and they have to go through a process…it is more of a journey,” he concludes.