There is one phobia that on the surface makes absolutely no sense, yet fear itself can’t be explained in a rational way. This phobia not only entertains fear, but looks for ways to be frightened. This phobia is known as Counterphobia.
It might be impossible to envision a phobic personality seeking fearful situations, yet there are those who will, and do. The end result is interesting because this individual may still require therapy in the same way as other phobic personalities.
What Causes Counterphobia?
One of the typical responses toward fear is embarrassment and humiliation. It can instill social anxiety and render the phobic unwilling to expose themselves freely when it comes to their fear.
However, the Counterphobe may find the are actually invigorated by the experience of fear – much like an adrenalin rush for those who engage in extreme sports. They may hate the feeling of fear, but the fear itself can often make them feel more alive.
They may even look for ways to obtain a more significant scare. It can become a game that is bizarre to the observer and potentially dangerous to the Counterphobe.
This phobia may focus on known fears and then move toward finding ways to experience those fears on a regular basis. Where therapy seeks to help a phobic personality to accept their fears and respond rationally to the fear stimulus this phobia seeks to maintain the greatest sense of fear and somehow finds a way to enjoy it.
Symptoms of Counterphobia
An individual living with this phobia will alternate between a fear of something and a desperate desire to live with the experience that comes along with the fear. They can derive some sort of pleasure from the episode, but still find themselves very frightened by what was observed.
Other symptoms might also include…
- Panic attacks
- Air hunger
- Personal frustration over seeking fearful experiences
- Feelings of personal conflict
This phobic personality may not understand their behavior any better than those who observe their unusual behavior. Part of them will want to avoid fearful situations while the other part simply wants to experience another fear-induced thrill.
How to Overcome Counterphobia
This fear is difficult because it finds the phobic personality conflicted in their thoughts and actions. A therapist may require several sessions to help peel back the layers that allow both experiences to coexist.
Quality therapy will be needed for this individual to come to terms with why they have such a love/hate relationship with fear. This type of therapy can also allow you to become more acquainted with your fear triggers and find ways to address them rationally instead of what typically becomes an emotional roller coaster. This constant bounce of emotions can lead to personal frustration and potential mental instability.
Finding a therapist that can help manage all phobic areas of your life is important and can go a long way in helping you find a batter path to wholeness – even when it now seems there is little that can keep your emotions together.
The Preference by a Phobic for Fearful Situations is also referred to as: