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Thinking and Anxiety

A phobic problem has a lot of personal meaning to each person.

This individual’s interpretation of the phobic situation, event or problems can start a chain of event leading to various emotions, e.g. anxiety.

An important aspect is how much of an event (or phobic) is seen as being dangerous.

Thus interpretation of danger, can be unrealistic in that the response of thinking tends to over-estimate or exaggerate the amount of danger in a given phobic area.

Negative thinking and past experiences lead to a lack of belief in these strengths and communication skills.

Common errors include one or more of the following:

  • Overestimating the probability of feared event.
  • Overestimating the severity of a feared event
  • Underestimating coping resources
  • Underestimating rescue factors

– “it will always happen”
– “it will be very bad and dangerous”
– “I cannot plan or cope”
– “Nobody would help me”

Thinking about danger can:

  • Increase the meaning of the phobic event or area
  • Increase the symptoms of anxiety


If the ‘red light’ flashes on, then this is “danger”. The situation is then thought of as dangerous or bad or a big problem. Then the event is seen in a special way. The response is to be very watchful and scan (search) the events. The “radar” selects part of the event and this reinforces/confirms/worsens the feeling and belief of the danger.

Then emotions worsen, eg. anxiety or panic attacks.


Credit: This resource was handed during my dr sessions. It has been transcribed with approval from psychiatrist but is the property of him