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Counterphobia: How doing things that terrify me helps my anxiety

by Olga Rosales Salinas

Sometimes, managing my generalized anxiety is like walking around an emotional world dodging landmines. My experience with this diagnosis consists of learning new coping methods, implementing mental-health management tools, and taking preventative measures regularly. I also see a therapist. Last week, while Zooming with him, he lobbed over the term counterphobic, which he’s observed as a noticeable character trait of mine.

What is counterphobia?

I find the term fascinating. For me (and my therapist), it is the experience of pushing into something that seems to be the cause of my phobias. It’s the experience of jumping on an emotional landmine on purpose. For instance, if being on stage makes me anxious, why do I continually do it? If being in a management role puts me at a level seven on my anxiety, why do I apply for management roles? Masochism? No. Counterphobia. While masochism is a way to seek and inflict physical or emotional harm to oneself, counterphobia is the impulse to seek mastery of a feared phobic action.

Read the full article at Jumble & Flow.


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