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Zefiris
04-21-2010, 01:20 AM
So, my MC has suffers from a severe case of Rupophobia (Fear of dirt).

In a later chapter she has to overcome this fear in order to make her escape through a sewage system.

My question is if somebody in a pretty much life or death situation masters their fear to save themselves what effect does it have on their phobia in the future.

Does it effect them less, effect them the same, not effect them at all, are they able to overcome the phobia easier if needed to again?

Thanks in advance :) :) :) :)

shadowwalker
04-21-2010, 02:28 AM
I believe the treatment of phobias is to build up to and then confront the phobia. But there is that build up - if one was forced into the confrontation, the circumstances which forced it could (and probably would) add to the phobia.

Zefiris
04-21-2010, 02:38 AM
Thanks. :)

Mine will be forced since the character will have had no reason to deal with the phobia since then.

Would it have any other psychological effects/damage to the person?

shadowwalker
04-21-2010, 03:06 AM
Would it have any other psychological effects/damage to the person?

Well, that would depend on what happens in the sewer. Any "trauma" would be exaggerated by the phobia.

blackrose602
04-21-2010, 06:42 AM
I happen to be the Phobias guide for About.com, and I've written a few pieces that deal with this sort of situation (well, not the sewer part LOL). In essence, what you're talking about is known as flooding--the sudden, rapid immersion into the feared situation. It's a legitimate therapeutic technique when guided by a mental health professional, but definitely not recommended as a self-help measure. That said, plenty of people end up in situations where, like your character, they HAVE to confront their phobia.

What happens next depends largely on your character's personality. Other than the phobia, is she basically psychologically healthy? Is she generally calm and collected, or timid and easily panicked? Does she have any other psychological disorders?

What happens in the sewer? As shadowwalker said, what happens down there greatly affects the ultimate outcome of the phobia. If it's pretty smooth sailing, she may come to realize that the fear was silly. If she's attacked/gets stuck/has trouble getting out, then she's just made more negative associations with the fear.

Here are a few articles I've written on the topic. I hope you find them helpful!

Flooding (http://phobias.about.com/od/glossary/g/floodingdef.htm)
Psychology of Fear (http://phobias.about.com/od/introductiontophobias/a/psychologyfear.htm)
Just Deal With It (http://phobias.about.com/od/selfhelp/qt/dealingwithphobias.htm)

shaldna
04-21-2010, 01:45 PM
There are different methods to dealing with it, some incude gradually building up to things, and some include a sudden imersion into it.

Personally I'm not afraid of anything (except santa claus and captain birdseye and twilight fans) so I'm not too sure about how people will react when faced with having to overcome a crippling fear or die.

I suspect that there are some people who will never overcome their fear, even in that situiation

Zefiris
04-21-2010, 04:05 PM
I happen to be the Phobias guide for About.com, and I've written a few pieces that deal with this sort of situation (well, not the sewer part LOL). In essence, what you're talking about is known as flooding--the sudden, rapid immersion into the feared situation. It's a legitimate therapeutic technique when guided by a mental health professional, but definitely not recommended as a self-help measure. That said, plenty of people end up in situations where, like your character, they HAVE to confront their phobia.

Thanks for replying, absolute writer really does attract all kinds of experts. I really didn't expect to have an expert on phobias and overcoming them to reply :) :) :) :) :)




What happens next depends largely on your character's personality. Other than the phobia, is she basically psychologically healthy? Is she generally calm and collected, or timid and easily panicked? Does she have any other psychological disorders?

My MC isn't really psychologically healthy. She suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder and throughout the story has shown an unfair balance of justice, believing in punishing people who wrong her in harsh ways no matter how small their crime.


What happens in the sewer? As shadowwalker said, what happens down there greatly affects the ultimate outcome of the phobia. If it's pretty smooth sailing, she may come to realize that the fear was silly. If she's attacked/gets stuck/has trouble getting out, then she's just made more negative associations with the fear.

Pretty smooth sailing really, the worst that happens to her in their is falling a few times into the filth and when she finds a way out finding that the wooden hatch leading out is locked and she has to break through herself.


Here are a few articles I've written on the topic. I hope you find them helpful!

Flooding (http://phobias.about.com/od/glossary/g/floodingdef.htm)
Psychology of Fear (http://phobias.about.com/od/introductiontophobias/a/psychologyfear.htm)
Just Deal With It (http://phobias.about.com/od/selfhelp/qt/dealingwithphobias.htm)

Thanks, I'll definitely have a read through them later :)

backslashbaby
04-22-2010, 03:39 AM
I got thrown into one of my phobias, and it got much worse later :( I had a fear of heights. AAMOF, it had been much better over the years. But then I went driving in the Costa Rican mountains with my uncle. Dear Lord, I've never been so afraid in my life. The roads in this place were very dangerous (not the highway way -- a shortcut).

On one hand, nothing really happened, of course. But on the other, it was just too damned terrifying. He drove it too fast. It was just too far down.

It sounds silly, but I think it was fairly traumatic! It was really, really awful, and I've been worse about heights ever since.

kaitiepaige17
04-22-2010, 03:45 AM
I'm TERRIFIED, and I mean TERRIFIED of spiders, and I'm pretty sure if I allowed, say, a tarantula to crawl up my arm I wouldn't feel any different about spiders; I would still be afraid. Of course, that may be just my personality. But wow, someone who's afraid of dirt... I'm not so sure...