Agoraphobia: Afraid To Leave Your Comfort Zone
by Pati McDermott, CHT
Many people have a fear of leaving home, of being alone, or traveling outside of a limited area close to home. Some people are able to create a zone that includes their job, a grocery store, their church, and others are unable to leave home or be left alone at home. This type of phobia is like a prison of one's own making with invisible lines that cannot be crossed. For many this condition feels hopeless, painful, and permanent.
People who are unable to work often become dependent on the support of other people or they become permanently disabled on public assistance. Some people find relief through medication, but the people who contact me usually report that medication doesn't help. Some people are able to white-knuckle a short trip to a family event or their child's school play if they have several strong drinks of alcohol, and have the added discomfort of feeling intoxicated as well as extremely nervous about being outside their comfort zone. For most people who have this condition their lives become a living hell, trapped at home, unable to participate in their families or communities, and feeling miserable about the extreme limitations that they live with.
Conventional treatments, other than medication, encourage the person to gradually extend their zone. Perhaps this approach works for some people. The people who come to me did not have success with this method and came looking for another approach. I never encourage anyone to push themselves into discomfort. I don't find this to be successful or humane. My approach is to build strength within and encourage exploration that feels wanted and welcome when that time arrives. Pushing someone who isn't ready for that is traumatizing, and in my experience this is a condition caused by trauma. My approach is to resolve and heal trauma, and never to push someone into additional trauma.
Any phobia, or extreme "unrealistic" fear, is usually caused by a series of events, often small cumulative events, that the person doesn't remember. It can also be caused by a traumatic and difficult event at a time in life that was already seriously challenging. Many people create these unconscious patterns in childhood in conjunction with major life events such as parents divorcing or an unwanted family move. Even good changes are stressful, but many children experience extreme difficulties that affect them for the rest of their lives unless the impact of those events is resolved. Parents rarely realize the degree of impact that these changes have on their children and wonder what happened to make such changes in their children's behavior. And most psychological effects show up much later in life and often get gradually worse over time. Many of the people who contact me have been living with extreme anxiety and phobias, unable to function in life, for quite a long time. Occasionally someone young will contact me for help and those situations are often easier to resolve. But even the most deep-seated conditions of phobia and anxiety respond well to my approach.
My work is designed to identify the origin of the problem and resolve it there. What was going on at the time that this problem first started? Most likely there were several milder incidents that lead up to this problem becoming noticeable which makes it much more difficult for anyone to work through this without professional help. In my work with this problem we are able to successfully identify the original cause and utilize my specific techniques for working through the origin. I have been successfully helping people with agoraphobia, anxiety, and other phobias since 1990 utilizing the most advanced techniques available in my field.
Agoraphobia and other anxiety and phobia conditions are not a life sentence to learn to live with forever. The ability to heal any type of problem exists inside every person. We are able to work together to find that solution. I work with each person until they have resolved this and are fully functioning in the world to the extent that they wish to.
Doing this work is an investment in life. What is the value of living life fully, traveling anywhere, participating in the world to whatever extent desired? What is the cost of living in limitation, psychologically and economically? My professional fee, on par with other therapists and holistic healers, is on a sliding scale to make my work available to as many people as possible.
Call today to find out more about how this works and set up an appointment. Today is the day to begin living fully again.
Pati McDermott, CHT
© 2012 by Pati McDermott, CHT