Fear of animals (zoophobia) causes and treatment

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Fear of animals (zoophobia) causes and treatment

Its quite understandable why would someone fear a dog or a certain animal but why would someone fear all animals together?

Zoophobia is the name of the fear of animals phobia and its the type of phobia that lets someone fear all animals.

If a dog ran after a child who was 6 years old then there is a big possibility that this child will grow up into a adult who fears dogs, (see How childhood experiences affect adulthood) But why would that child fear all animals even though only dogs ran after him??

In this article i will tell you about fear of animals (zoophobia) its causes and treatment methods.

Fear of animals phobia causes

There are two concepts you must understand before you can know why certain people fear all animals. Here they are:

  • Bad past experience and animal phobia: If a cat scratched a child's hand and scared him then there is a very big possibility that he will develop phobia of cats when he grows up. In the Solid Self confidence program i said that a bad past experience is in most cases the root cause of a phobia.
  • Over generalization and fear of animals: Over generalization is the way of thinking that lets someone create general beliefs based on only one event. For example a women who was betrayed by a man and then believed that all men are cheaters is a perfect example of someone who used over generalization

Over generalization is one of the famous negative thinking patterns and its always responsible for the creation of false beliefs.

Now what do you think will happen if someone feared a certain animal because of a bad past experience and in the same time used over generalization as one of his thinking patterns?

As you may have already guessed that person might fear all animals or develop what we call zoo phobia. I am not claiming that this is the sole cause for zoophobia but i am trying to give you an insight about how the mind works so that you can guess why we sometimes fear certain objects.

Fear of animals treatment

In fact over generalization can't only make the person fear other animals that never harmed him but its also the main reason people fear a certain animal.

If a dog ran after a person while he was a little child then doesn't it make sense that this child fears that specific dog instead of fearing all dogs out there?

Again over generalization played a role in letting the child fear all animals of the same category even though only one of them harmed him.

In order to treat fear of animals you have many options. Here are few things you should do that will help you get over your fear of animals:

  1. What's the source of your animal phobia?: Do you know that some children fear animals not because any animal harmed them but because they saw the response of their scared parent when he saw a certain animal? an important part of the treatment of the animal phobia is to realize that sometimes your fears are learned as a result of watching someone else responding with fear towards a certain animal
  2. Fix your negative thinking patterns: If you managed to get rid of negative thinking patterns such as over generalization you will find that treating your fear of animals became easier. After all if you managed to believe that the animal that harmed you one day was a bad one and that not all animals are the same you will be able to get rid of zoophobia.
  3. Gradual exposure: I don't want you to do this on your own. Better have someone help you with it. Gradually expose yourself to that animal and whenever you feel in control increase the intensity of the exposure. For example if you fear cats then try walking beside one. Keep doing so until you feel comfortable and then move on to the next level which is touching a cat. Again once you find yourself in control you can move to the next level which is carrying the cat and so on. By far this is one of the best treatment methods for animal phobia

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by 2knowmyself.com; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

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