Some of the most common issues I work with are sexual performance difficulties and sexual fears and anxiety. In this particular post, I want to open up the discussion a bit more to include a broader review of the types of fears that I most commonly encounter in my practice. For simplicity’s sake, I will break it down into the 3 most common types of fears that I see my clients struggling with. These are, in no particular order, the fear of failing, fear of the unknown, and fear of emotions. These are all quite ubiquitous, but can create devastating effects, and so I would like to briefly touch upon each one in turn. And although they are uniquely different, they also have much in common.
Let’s start with fear of failing first. This fear is so common, there is a word to describe it– atychiphobia. In the older heyday of psychoanalysis, a common way of seeing clients who were struggling to make progress was that they were just simply resistant. This viewpoint assumes a kind of oppositional stance, with the client somehow working or fighting against the therapist to make change or progress. Rather than trying to push up against this so-called “resistance,” I take what I call a “pro-symptom” approach, which basically means that I want to try to understand what are the benefits of holding onto these problems or symptoms, rather than discarding them at once. This goes back to the harm reduction model that I advocate and have written about in the past; rather than try to push someone into something they are not ready yet […]