When we first think of the word “fear,” it tends to immediately have a very negative impact on us. Fear actually is a universal human experience that is absolutely necessary for survival. Without fear, we would do things that would result in injury or death. However, sometimes the fear we experience is not necessary and results in undesirable experiences or even dysfunctions over time. This type of chronic fear can be crippling to our happiness. Understanding fear is the first step to overcoming it.
Innate vs. Learned Fears
A few fears seem truly innate. An infant will react in ways that indicate fear in response to a sudden noise. More commonly, however, fears are learned from experiences in life. A small child will not hesitate to touch a hot stove, to put dangerous things in his or her mouth, or to approach a threatening animal. The child must learn to avoid these things, and in some cases fear can be the teacher.
We may fear something that is unknown, which is the most common of fears not based in current reality. Fears may also be products of our imagination, having no basis in reality. Of course, it occasionally turns out that there is some real basis for a fear; a basis that we have not consciously recognized. Yet even then, when the basis becomes known, we are usually able to cope with the situation.
Rational vs. Irrational Fears
Some of the fears we learn are completely rational. However, sometimes we learn to fear in an irrational or distorted way, and these fears may take place without conscious awareness of their cause. For example, a child frightened by something in a dark place may learn to fear the dark, and that learned fear may persist for a lifetime. The child is not aware that he or she is being conditioned to fear the dark. While it is entirely rational that he or she would experience fear in that situation, it is irrational for the child to continue to do so as an adult.
Conscious vs. Subconscious Fears
To further understand fear, we must consider the possibility that it may be experienced at a subconscious level of awareness, with only its effect being experienced consciously (the only thing we actually see). Fear of the “unknown” may simply be a conditioned fear that arises as a result of beliefs that have been accepted as true only in the subconscious domain. For example, someone could fear of people of another culture, or experience a fear reaction to a sound or situation that does not seem to have a reason or make sense. In other words, we may have learned to fear something at some time in the past and do not have conscious memory of the event.
The concept of experiencing fear subconsciously may seem unusual. Yet there are several illustrations of this happening. The subconscious may “protect” us by keeping us “big,” thus shielding us from being hurt by producing a weight problem. Or, it may may keep us in a state of readiness for “fight-or-flight,” resulting in various gastro-intestinal disorders such as colitis or ulcers; or the subconscious even may cause us to be introverted rather than to risk criticism.
On the other hand, we may have conscious awareness of the “thing” that is feared without awareness of why it is feared or of the reason for its intensity, as in the case of a phobia. It is also possible to have neither conscious nor subconscious awareness of the “thing” that is feared or of why it is feared. Beyond that, we may have no conscious experience of fear at all, even though the subconscious domain may fearfully respond by producing those protective reactions in the form of behaviors or dysfunctions that appear irrational to us.
Subconscious parts of the mind often control behavior through influences that were “learned” in past situations, that is, at the time the parts came into existence. This behavior can be understood best when the cause is considered in the light of the limited knowledge that was available at that time. For example, the limited knowledge of the small child might result in the child approaching and being attacked by an animal, with a consequent phobia of that animal.
The Effects of Fear
The effects of fear may be physical, psychological, or a combination of both, and may range from minor nuisance to severe illness. A phobia is one psychological example; fears of public speaking, of flying, and of driving on freeways are others. Another might be hostility that manifests itself in obvious or subtle ways. A frightened, cornered animal will exhibit hostility that is the product of fear; the fear being essentially a protective device.
Many physical changes take place when we experience fear; changes that affect virtually every organ of our bodies. Whether conscious or subconscious, a prolonged experience of fear can result in physical dysfunction that may be recognized as illness. Such dysfunction may become evident in any organ or portion of the body. These changes are geared to provide the inner physical conditions needed for “fight-or-flight.” The pattern of blood flow in the body changes so that the muscle systems involved in physical action are amply supplied at the expense of less essential functions such as digestion, which may cease altogether. Glandular activity, muscle tone, and breathing patterns are all altered. Most changes such as these taking place would be regarded as “illness” if they occurred when there was not consciously experienced fear. In summary, many physical ailments may have their actual roots in conflicts or fears we are not consciously unaware of.
The Resolution of Fear
We may learn to fear things that are consciously known to be the cause of our fear reaction, or we may learn to fear things that are not consciously known. When the “things” become known, we are generally able to cope with them by rational means. We may talk ourselves out of it or make use of its energy in some productive way. Or, we may obtain relief simply by considering its basis in a rational way, re-framing our understanding.
However, when we fear something that is unknown, we are prevented from rationally confronting its cause, and we must rely on our other abilities to resolve that fear. After all, it is a subconscious problem, and it will require a subconscious solution. This is where Yagerian Therapy can help with those fears. In being guided by your therapist and relying on your unrecognized, extra-conscious abilities, a solution can usually be found. At that point, the fear will cease to exist any longer.
Are You Ready to Explore Online Therapy for Irrational Fear?
The Yagerian Method has proven very effective and efficient in helping patients overcome irrational fear. Even where other methods and techniques have failed, there is justified optimism with Yagerian Therapy, because it treats the root cause of your fear; not the symptom – which is your reaction to it.
If you are struggling with irrational fear and it interferes with your quality of life, Online Therapy for Irrational Fear may be your answer. This online program even offers a risk-free trial period to explore and check it out for yourself – click here to try it FREE for 2 hours!
Because the Yagerian Method harnesses the power of reconditioning to eliminate the origin of the fear you are experiencing, that fear will cease to exist after treatment. It may seem hard to believe, but check out a true patient story of success on our testimonials page: Randall’s Revelation!
Experience the results yourself. For a limited time, you can now receive a Free 2 Hour Trial of Yagerian Online Therapy !