Do you suffer from Christmas Phobia?
There are plenty of people who suffer from Christmas Phobia – even if it’s not recognised officially. If just the thought of Christmas makes you anxious, and you have no rational justification for the fear, you may well be a Christmas Phobic. If the arrival of Christmas makes you even more anxious, you quite probably are one.
A phobia is an irrational fear that generates anxiety whenever we’re exposed to the thing we fear. There are named phobias for just about everything, except Christmas.
Some common phobias include:
- Claustrophobia … fear of enclosed spaces;
- Agoraphobia … fear of open spaces;
- Acrophobia … fear of heights;
- Arachnophobia … fear of spiders.
Some less well known phobias:
- arachibutyrophobia … fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth;
- logizomechanophobia … fear of computers;
- politicophobia … fear of politicians;
- triskaidekaphobia … fear of the number 13;
- venustraphobia … fear of beautiful women.
Perhaps we should name our seasonal phobia christmasophobia.
If you’re a christmasophobic, where might your phobia have come from? Perhaps a fearful or traumatic childhood experience I recently read a sad but endearing story of a Japanese lady with christmasophobia whose mother left her at the age of nine on Christmas Eve, never to return. Less common might be a similar experience later in life. One of my christmasophobic clients had experienced a trauma on Christmas Day at the age of nineteen.
Sometimes a relatively mild recurring disturbance can grow into a phobia over time. A challenging family relationship that only has to be endured at Christmas could trigger a phobia after repeated bad experiences. An acquaintance of mine could well have developed christmasophobia if it wasn’t for the fact that he only had to spend alternate Christmases with his mother in law.
Curing a phobia
Can christmasophobia be cured? Any phobia can be cured. If the phobia was triggered by a trauma, treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) could be sufficient to cure the phobia. The favoured treatment for PTSD has for many years been Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Nowadays more modern techniques, often combined with CBT, can achieve a quicker cure.
If the phobia has been reinforced over many years by avoiding the trigger, in this case avoiding Christmas, the phobia can be cured using the classic CBT technique of exposure therapy. This means repeatedly exposing the client to the feared anxiety trigger. In this case this would mean fully participating in Christmas. More modern acceptance-based techniques, often combined with CBT, can expedite the cure.
My client whose christmasophobia had been triggered by a trauma at age 19 had certainly reinforced the problem by repeatedly avoiding her family’s Christmas celebration. Her treatment first addressed her PTSD symptoms using the modern ‘rewind technique’ that involves repeatedly watching an imagined video of the trauma in a relaxed state.
Her phobia was then further treated using Acceptance-Action Therapy (AAT), an advanced form of CBT that focuses on accepting feelings and being willing to experience anxiety-provoking situations. Her phobia was quickly cured enabling her to spend Christmas with her family for the first time in years.” explains Graham.
These days no-one should have to endure their christmasophobia, or any other phobia, for long. Modern treatments are highly effective and, in my experience and the experience of other CBT-AAT specialists, all phobias can be quickly cured.
|About The Author
Graham Price is a Chartered Psychologist, CBT and AAT Specialist, Personal and Executive Coach, Personal Development Trainer, Stress Management Consultant, BPS, UKCP, HPC, BABCP Accredited. He is author of “What Is, Is! The Power of Positive Acceptance” published by HotHive.
Graham is available for comment, interview and articles. Graham can talk in depth about Christmas Phobias, what causes it (and other phobias) and how to cure it. He is also willing to offer journalists the opportunity to try a complimentary phobia cure session.
Please contact Chantal Cooke at PRDemystified on 020 8544 0091 / 07788 184 649 or email Chantal@prdemystified.com
For more information about Graham see www.abicord.com/graham-price