Have you ever found yourself facing a huge spider in your house, frozen by a fear that set your heart racing and sweat penetrating your clothes? Have you ever hiked up a high mountain, walked up to the edge of a cliff, and found that one glimpse of the dizzying height made it so that you couldn’t breathe? Have you ever found yourself sitting in a meeting, and as your turn to speak approached, your heart raced and your throat clenched with fear?
The truth is, there are many people today that silently suffer from various weird phobias. Many of these people are unwilling to share their fears with others, even close family members. Still, those fears persist, and occasionally crop up to make life more difficult.
Some fears aren’t so strange. A lot of people can empathize with a fear of talking in front of a crowd, or the fear of creepy, crawly insects. However, there are also a lot of weird phobias out there that are a lot more difficult to understand. A lot of people with such phobias avoid going to a psychiatrist out of shame, and instead look to the Internet for answers.
There aren’t many legitimate sites out there that have truly valuable, professional psychological advice. Mahendra covered a few general psychology sites in 2009, and Joel once listed 5 sites where you can take real psychology tests. But still, high-quality articles on phobias are lacking.
8 Sites To Learn About Phobias
That may be because getting a Ph.D in psychology isn’t exactly cheap, and most doctors aren’t willing to just give away free sessions over the Internet. However, there are a few self-help psychology sites that can really help you understand and start to come to terms with your phobias, no matter how mundane or weird they may be.
One website that should clearly go at the top of any list of self-help psychology websites is the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA site is chock-full of information that would prove helpful for anyone suffering from any kind of mental health issue, phobias included.
You can’t go wrong starting here. At the very least, it’s a great place to go to find a credentialed psychologist in your area. But best of all, there is a “Psychology Help Center” menu item that will take you to a section filled with all kinds of articles covering topics including anxiety, personality, stress, trauma and much more.
There isn’t really a section specifically devoted to phobias, but information about phobia-type symptoms like anxiety and fears are well covered with expert-written content. Best of all, when you decide that you probably could use someone to talk to, the APA directory is right there.
One website that does have an entire section devoted to phobias and fears is Psychologist Anywhere Anytime. The site is owned and operated by Dr. Vince Berger, a professional therapist. The Phobias and Fears section covers some more common phobias like agorophobia, claustrophobia and panic attacks in general. They are each written by Dr. Berger himself.
What makes this site stand out isn’t so much the articles, it’s the availability that Dr. Berger offers to readers. At the end of each article you’ll find Dr. Berger’s contact phone numbers and a contact form. You can call him directly to go through a preliminary screening and potentially become one of his active clients. Be aware that he is also a “pastoral counselor”, so you may be best served by Dr. Berger if you are Christian, or open to Christian counseling.
Another great site that is also produced by professionals is the National Institute of Mental Health. This is an organization that is dedicated to making sure you can improve your life despite the condition you might be suffering from. The NIMH constantly offers articles about the latest, cutting edge research in mental health, so if you want to see what the latest news and treatments are for phobias, this is the site to check out.
You can search for mental health information by topic or age and gender. You’ll find a huge library of mental health topics here, including audio, video and tons of research information.
Psychology Today is a New York publication that has been around since 1967. It is also easily one of the best psychology websites on the Internet today. Just like the APA site, you can find a therapist if you feel that you’d be best served by talking to one. However, I think Psychology Today outperforms all other sites when it comes to providing really well-written articles produced by practicing mental health professionals.
Click on “Topic Streams” to get a drop-down of all of the topics available at this site – you’ll be surprised. You’ll find phobia-related articles under anxiety, self-help, stress and therapy.
The articles are really helpful and can offer you the best insight about your fears and phobias that you can find anywhere outside of a counselor’s office. You’ll learn pretty quick that your weird phobias and anxieties are not all that unusual at all – lots of other people suffer from the same afflictions that you do.
Bupa is a UK-based informational hub for all things health related. Mental health topics are peppered throughout the site, and just by searching for “Phobias“, you’ll find a page chock full of information, with information, therapies and suggested medicines for phobias, a “common questions” tab offering questions other people have asked about phobias and professional answers, and a tab of resources in the UK where you can get more direct and 1-on-1 help with your fears.
If you’re not sure whether it’s phobias or something else that’s bothering you, to the right of the phobia page, you’ll find related topics that you can explore to learn more about other conditions and therapies that are often related to, or contribute to, symptoms of phobia.
You’ll even find all sorts of online tools and calculators you can use to do a “health risk assessment” – this site is just full of tons of information and content that’ll keep you reading for hours.
Mind.org is proof that therapists in the United Kingdom know how to manage and support mental health patients. Mind is an amazing site that not only offers information and advice about phobias and other mental health conditions, but it also lists treatments, statistics, where you can get help and support, and even your legal rights as a mental health patient.
Best of all, if you’re completely confused and just don’t know what’s wrong with you or where to turn, there’s an “infoline” number right at the top of the page that you can call to get pointed in the right direction.
The UK’s National Health Service is also an excellent resource to learn about phobias. What’s nice about the NHS site is that the content includes more than just articles. You’ll find videos that describe phobias. The site explains symptoms and causes, and your choices when it comes to different treatments.
Unlike a lot of psychology sites out there that want you to contact a professional counselor, the NHS site has a section devoted to “self-help”, where you can learn what sort of lifestyle changes you could make to try and treat your phobia yourself.
Last but not least, is Helpguide.org. This site is one of the few private sites that I would include on this list, mostly because the information here is also professional and well-written. It’s a site that’s focused on health, but its mental health section is impressively full of really good content. The “Phobias and Fears” page is an encyclopedia-length expose on phobias, complete with resources at the end, and additional articles to help recognize the signs and symptoms, face your fears, and when to seek help.
Some weird phobias aren’t so serious that you’d need counseling. Sometimes, all you need is some good advice and tips on how to deal with those fears and how to process them. These sites can give you the knowledge and information you need to come to terms with your phobias and hopefully overcome them.
Try a few of them out and see if you find some good tips. Are there other good sites you know of that can help overcome your fears? Share your own resources in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Depressed Woman at ShutterStock
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