Overcoming Fears and Phobias with CBT Treatment

A specific phobia is an intense fear of a particular thing like a dog, or a situation like flying in an aeroplane.

People’s fear of the object or situation is so severe that they may experience physical symptoms of anxiety, and even have panic attacks, when confronted with it, or even anticipating having to deal with it.

People with a specific phobia either avoid the thing/situation they fear or endure the situation or object with distress.

The adult phobia sufferers knows their fear of the object or situation is excessive or unreasonable. Simple phobias impact on the sufferers ability to function be it at work, socialise, study or cause significant distress.

Common phobias include:

  • Fear of the dark
  • Fear of water
  • Fear of heights (heights phobia)
  • Fear of animals (e.g. dog phobias, bird phobias, insect phobias, mice phobias, spider phobias)
  • Fear of enclosed spaces or being trapped (e.g. tunnels, lifts, flying in a plane)
  • Fear of blood and injury ( e.g. seeing blood or an injury or having a needle phobia)
  • Fear of water
  • Fear of vomiting (vomiting phobia)
  • Fear of the dentist

Specific phobias are very common, with 10-20% of the population developing a phobia during their lives. Phobias often start in childhood but can occur at any age. Phobias are roughly twice as common among women than men,


Psychological treatment of phobias involves: education about anxiety, slow breathing to control hyperventilation,  and relaxation training (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, isometric relaxation),  graded exposure therapy and cognitive therapy.

Melbourne Clinical psychologist Catherine Madigan offers CBT treatment for phobias so call 0419 104284 to schedule an appointment 

American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Burns, D.D. (1999) The Feeling Good Handbook, New York, New York. Plume.

Please note, it is important to consult a qualified mental health practitioner such as e.g. a psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm any diagnosis you think you might have. You must not rely on the information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No assurance can be given that the information on this site will always include the most recent developments or research with respect to a particular topic.

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Quick appointments no matter where you live in Australia. Online shyness, public speaking and anxiety treatment available.

Minimal out of pocket expense (Medicare & Health fund Rebates)

Clinical Psychologist with approx. 25 years of experience. Also offering virtual reality exposure therapy.

Business hours, After hours and Saturdays appointments

Frequently Asked Questions

Anxiety Australia is an anxiety clinic in Hawthorn, Melbourne that is run by Catherine Madigan, who is a clinical psychologist. She primarily focuses on treating anxiety disorders and stress management techniques to individuals and businesses through one on one consultations and stress management workshops.

She offers professional, discreet and confidential treatment options that work.

Catherine’s effective anxiety treatments offered in Melbourne can help you overcome disorders such as:

Call now for an appointment on 0429 883 671

The website provides information about anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. You will also find contact details for other psychologists around Australia who have substantial experience in and/or work primarily with anxiety disorders.

Catherine Madigan is a Melbourne based Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about empowering clients with confidence. The reason her focus is primarily on the treatment of anxiety disorders is that she gains great satisfaction by witnessing the freedom and life changing results her therapies can deliver.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia, with 1/7 people (14% of the population) reporting having had an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, 18% vs 11%. ABS National Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Summary of Results 2007.

Anxiety or fear is a normal response to a present or imagined threat. Mild fear can be helpful as it enables us to respond quickly when faced with a dangerous situation and to be alert in difficult situations (e.g. exams). However, excessive fear may lead to people being paralysed e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless.

Anxiety is a normal emotion as it affects most people and is widespread. You would be abnormal if you didn’t experience fear sometimes. However, if your anxiety is out of proportion to the situation you are experiencing and/or persists in the absence of threat, e.g you worry about events months ahead or are experiencing anxiety long after the danger has passed, you may need professional help.

Some people are more prone to experiencing anxiety than others and it is not caused by just one thing but by a combination of factors including: genetics, family environment and traumatic life experiences. Sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. Nevertheless, you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively.

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