Solutions to overcome ergophobia or fear of work

To overcome your ergophobia cannot be done overnight. To do so, you need some time so that your brain can learn something else than what it has internalised for years. Getting rid of a phobia is not necessarily easy and depends on many factors. As you are no longer able to distinguish your fears from the real danger, it is necessary to put things back in place by working on acquiring new perceptions, knowledge and reasoning. In this way, you will gradually be able to get rid of them and get back to living properly.

Today, there are several therapeutic tools that can help you overcome ergophobia. The most commonly used include: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychoanalytical methods, drug treatments, meditation, relaxation, etc.

Before the therapy…

There are different forms of fear of work, and although your anxieties are so disturbing that you are almost constantly questioning your behaviour, you may be able to maintain an activity, however degrading and demanding it may be on a daily basis. In this case, it may be a little early to consider therapy. You can turn to professional counsellors (occupational psychologist, skills assessment counsellor, etc.) to help you take stock of your professional situation and find out whether your anxiety is not due to a growing gap between your work environment and your deepest desires. By finding an activity that is truly meaningful to you and your values, you will also find satisfaction and a much calmer relationship with work.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): the standard mode of treatment for anxiety disorders such as fear of work

Cognitive-behavioural therapy consists of desensitising you to your fear and to do this, it is necessary to confront it with the help of your therapist. Your therapist will gradually expose you to the objects and situations that cause you anxiety in a hierarchical manner. In the first stage, you start by learning relaxation techniques that allow you to refocus and learn to manage your panic attacks in an emergency. In the second stage, your therapist may ask you, for example, to list all the situations that cause you anxiety so that you can confront them, at your own pace and with his help. These exercises must be carried out several times, progressively and over a long period of time, to enable the learning of these new behaviours. A large number of studies have proven that this habituation method is effective in the treatment of phobias.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapies (VRET) as a viable alternative

However, one of the central problems in the treatment of ergophobia is the return to the workplace, especially if the ergophobia has a traumatic origin and is therefore linked to a particular work environment. It is then complicated to practice the tools for managing emotions that are developed during CBT. Virtual reality therefore offers a non-negligible contribution in terms of the realistic immersion it offers in conditions similar to those experienced by the individual in the workplace. It is an additional preparation stage where the ergophobic person can train, get used to it, and put in place functional strategies to overcome the anxieties he or she feels. Consequently, in the specific case of fear of work in particular, the use of virtual reality can really reinforce the effectiveness of desensitisation because of its greater capacity for immersion. You will be in a space that is neither really your workplace nor the therapist’s office where you can learn to control your anxious reactions, which will help you to return to work more quickly.

Psychoanalysis to overcome fear of work

From a psychoanalytical perspective, a phobia is an expression of a hidden conflict in your subconscious that is a consequence of your history. The role of psychoanalysis is to enable you to identify the causes of the phobia, which is the first step towards healing. Through this method, the psychoanalyst seeks to deconstruct your phobic behaviour, the triggering factors, the avoidance strategies put in place, and the symptoms of the phobia (physical and mental) so that little by little new mental patterns appear. It is this awareness that enables you to get rid of your ergophobia. Psychic links then begin to be established. Psychoanalysis allows you to face up to what you were dreading.

The use of drug treatment

Medication is an effective way of reducing the anxiety and panic attacks associated with your ergophobia. Under no circumstances will medication be sufficient for your treatment. Antianxiety drugs are preferred only temporarily to help you get through difficult situations. Taken alone, they are not sufficient to resolve the cause of the anxiety. Be careful, as the effectiveness of this treatment is more variable and some individuals may be at risk of developing a psychological or physical dependence. Only a psychiatrist or a doctor can prescribe a treatment adapted to your needs!

Overcome your fear of work with alternative medicine

Alternative medicine techniques are very fashionable and well suited to relieving your phobias.  There are no less than 400 of them and they allow you to work on controlling your tensions and your emotions and to learn reflexes that favour relaxation. These relaxation exercises are particularly effective before confronting a situation that you find particularly difficult to face. In the case of your ergophobia, take a moment to do a yoga, meditation or sophrology session before leaving for work. These methods will enable you to learn certain reflexes that will help you to relax and will help you to control your tensions in the event of stress. Be aware that they are not enough on their own to make your phobia disappear. Psychotherapy is necessary to treat it and help you to get rid of it permanently.


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