How to overcome ochlophobia, the fear of crowds?
Many solutions exist to help you overcome ochlophobia. The methods used are sufficiently diverse that you can find the one that suits you. Virtual reality therapies, hypnosis, more traditional relaxation methods (sophrology, yoga, acupuncture…) can be the key to getting rid of it.
Cognitive and behavioural therapies: a gold standard in the treatment of fear of crowds
Current studies show that whatever the phobia, these therapies are effective in 80% of cases. They allow you to learn certain psychological skills to help you cope with your difficulties and acquire new skills to better deal with emotions.
If you choose to treat your crowd phobia using CBT, your therapist will initially set up preliminary interviews to assess your emotional suffering in a personal and emotional context. This will also allow the therapist to better understand your difficulties and to build a strong therapeutic alliance necessary for the therapy to go well. Next, you will construct a therapeutic contract including the objectives and the means chosen to overcome your ochlophobia. You will define the target problems in concrete and practical terms that will enable you to free yourself from the repetitive behaviours you suffer from. The implementation of a therapeutic programme then involves the use of so-called ‘exposure’ strategies. In a session, the therapist will gently immerse you in a real-life anxiety situation in a safe and gradual manner.
Using virtual reality to treat fear of crowds
An alternative to this method of exposure now exists. If you are afraid of confronting a real anxiety-provoking situation even in the presence of your therapist, you may be more amenable to exposure via a virtual reality headset. This form of therapy is proving to be a tool to meet the needs and requirements of cognitive behavioural therapy. Its advantage lies in the fact that all parameters are under the control of the therapist through the therapeutic software. If you suffer from ochlophobia, you will be exposed to scenes in which you have to face other people’s eyes. It is also possible to change the number of people so that you are immersed in a crowd that becomes more and more dense as the sessions progress.
Overcoming the fear of crowds with medication
You may also be prescribed medication if your ochlophobia causes panic attacks. Antidepressants have shown therapeutic benefits for this type of disorder. Only doctors and psychiatrists can prescribe a treatment tailored to your needs. Do not hesitate to contact them, they will be able to advise you.
A wide variety of practices can also be offered if you are a fan of alternative medicine. Some are described as physical (osteopathy, chiropractic, slow gymnastics, etc.), others as more psychological (EMDR, hypnosis, EFT) and still others combine psychological and physical components (yoga, meditation, sophrology, etc.). They are all complementary! You will learn certain reflexes that will help you to relax and they will help you to control your tensions in case of stress.
Using alternative medicine to treat fear of crowds
Many alternative medicines can be adapted to reduce or even neutralise phobias. There are several hundred of them and it is necessary that you find the one that corresponds to you the most for a maximum beneficial effect. Among the most common alternative medicine solutions, we can find:
The principle of hypnosis is based on relaxation and introspection. Hypnosis sessions consist of putting you in a modified state of consciousness following a period of relaxation. The hypnotherapist will lead you to an anchor point (a happy event in a reassuring place, or with a person you love) and encourage you to imagine a situation that is usually distressing for you. Thanks to the anchor point, your fear will calm down. The long-term goal is to create a habituation in order to desensitise yourself.
Sophrology is a precious ally in terms of personal development. It is about reconnecting your body and your mind by helping you to better manage the negative emotions felt during your phobic episode. The work is not done on the phobia, but on the stress generated by it.
Osteopathy directly addresses the physical manifestations of high anxiety. Nausea, dizziness, adrenalin… All these symptoms are generated by a part of the nervous system. The osteopath will come to restore a balance in this nervous system with the aim of calming and better controlling the next panic attacks.
If the relaxation brought by these methods is the central node of alternative medicines, it is not enough to make a phobia disappear. To overcome a phobia in the long term, psychotherapy remains necessary.