Agoraphobia is one of the most debilitating and least understood phobias and simply refers to a fear of open spaces. People with Agoraphobia often prefer to stay in their own home or other familiar spaces as much as possible, avoiding going to new places and meeting new people.
Usually stemming from unresolved past trauma, clients can be severely restricted in their lives and movements, yet may not even remember the original trigger event of the phobia.
This can be especially frustrating and many people with Agoraphobia endure unnecessary self imposed home confinement unless they seek professional help.
If left untreated, Agoraphobia, like all other phobias, can often increase in severity through avoiding outside contact more and more. This downward spiral is often the cause for accompanying depression, as human being crave social contact.
The most successful therapeutic approaches for phobias include controlled exposure. In the case of agoraphobia that may mean introducing exposure to open spaces in planned stages, tailored to suit each individual client’s circumstance and pace. Tolerance is built up over time. Alongside, feelings and memories that are triggered in this process are explored and processed in therapy. Depression and Anxiety usually dissipate over time, as the condition is tackled, providing the client is willing to engage in therapeutic activities, often between sessions, even if they are anxiety provoking at the time, in order to build up resistance. However every activity is assessed for appropriateness and agreed by the client.
Not everyone suffering from agoraphobia is necessarily housebound, nor is everyone who is nervous about going to new places agoraphobic. Most people with Agoraphobia are somewhere in-between. However severe the condition, counselling can usually help to regain control over your life, rediscover enjoyment of the outside world and participate more fully at work and in social activities.
Constanze has valuable personal and professional experience in working with agoraphobia.She has a lot of empathy and understanding of this condition and the often accompanying anxiety and panic attacks, low self-esteem, depression, insomnia and isolation. She is available for regular sessions in Greenwich, London.