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Grizzly Bears and Teapots!

Fears and phobias

Picture this... I'm riding on my mountain bike at a nice leisurely pace, following the most amazing backdrop of the snow capped mountains, in the Rockies, Alberta, Canada. It's a warm,  bright sunny day. Feeling thirsty, I decide to stop for a while, prop my bike up against the grassy bank leading to the woods behind me.  I yank the plastic bottle off the bike and just sit there for a while, taking in the scenery. A rustling sound comes from the woods behind me. I turn around to see the most adorable creature I have ever seen, a baby cub! Only 30 seconds later to be followed by the biggest grizzly bear you could imagine. It's head tilted upwards sniffing the air. Catching sight of me it stands up on it's rear legs.  Towering around 8-9 foot high before me. So just to clarify... my heart had slowed from resting to FULL fight or flight stress response.

Making the Connection between Dreams and Fears

It wasn’t until years later, that the memory of the bear came rushing back in my dreams. According to the Human Givens approach, such vivid dreams are our brain's way of processing emotional arousal from intense fears. The bear (alongside teapots! Yep, some fears are totally irrational!), became a recurring theme in my dreams. I hadn’t processed that fear until I returned home to the UK! showing me just how unique and deeply rooted our fears can be. But it wasn’t until many years later, when I retrained and became a therapist that I learned about fears, phobias and PTSD that I really understood what was actually going on in my brain!

Validating Personal Experiences

This experience taught me a valuable lesson; Fear is deeply personal and varies significantly from person to person. But fears and phobia’s can be both rational (I think in this instance it was pretty rational!) and irrational. In my practice, I've seen clients with a wide range of fears, from the common fears and phobias like driving, spiders, flying, public speaking, failure, enclosed spaces, to the more unusual. But what’s crucial here, is that we validate each person’s experience of fear, no matter how irrational it might be. It’s crucial to remember that it’s the fear that’s often irrational, NOT THE PERSON. Understanding that it’s not a reflection of weakness but a product of how our brain interprets and processes intense experiences.

A Kinder Approach to Overcoming Fear

The journey through understanding fear need not end in paralysis! There are compassionate, effective and very successful techniques available to help process and overcome these fears, without the need for direct confrontation. In my work, I’ve seen first hand the transformation that can occur when individuals are supported in their journey through fear.

Our fears, as unique and personal as they may be, are valid and important aspects of our experience. No matter what the fear is, I will always respect and believe how scary it is for the client. So, whether the thought of getting behind the wheel has stopped you travelling independently or that fear of public speaking has meant you turning down that job promotion or an accident has prevented you from pursuing your favourite sport, then just reconsider what it would look like if you were able to overcome this fear and what that would mean for you.

Feeling isolated by fear? Find out more about how I can help!

ps. I’ll save the teapot story for another blog!


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