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Continued: Where do phobias come from?

  • Article by: PAMELA KNUDSON , Grand Forks Herald
  • Last update: October 27, 2013 - 2:38 PM

What’s in a number?

Some phobias are driven by superstition, such as fear of the number 13, he said. People with this fear may not drive on 13th Avenue.

“If something bad happens on the 13th, they attribute it to the date,” he said, as a way “to explain things they don’t understand.”

Phobias are often paired with something negative, he said. “It’s often tied to something that’s happened.

“If, as a child, you were bit by a German shepherd, you may be afraid of [that breed]. It’s an association that we’ve made. Even if the German shepherd is friendly, you’re still afraid.”

Among the several treatment approaches, “exposure therapy is very popular,” Ferraro said.

“If you were afraid of spiders, you’d be exposed to them gradually, in a piecemeal way. You might be given a picture of a spider, then see a spider in a cage. Somebody would hold out a spider for you to touch. It’s done incrementally.”

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