What is the aim of this show?
My Extreme Animal Phobia is a new series where we introduce people to unusual phobias that are disrupting their lives. For instance,Jahara is afraid to open windows or turn on her air conditioner for fear that spiders or bugs will get inside her home. Marvin,a big,tattooed,motorcycle-riding family man,wont spend time outside because of his traumatic terror of pit bulls. Seth is terrified of snakes. The objective is to portray the condition and how these great fears can impact lives. As a guide and doctor,I go to the root cause in order to diagnose and treat.
Why do you think it needed to be addressed through a series?
Theres never been an extensive media coverage to help promote awareness and education around the treatment of animal phobias. Its the first time we are talking about this fear and the people we would help. Its for those who have been treated and for those who are suffering.
How did you get into this line of work?
It happened by fluke. I was studying forensic psychology and after graduation,I needed to find an internship. I came by one at an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder clinic. Two weeks later,I changed my direction. I began to do the exposure therapy,and saw lives change,which inspired me.
Is therapy a sure cure?
It depends on the case. Factors such as stress,conflict,job profile and so on in the person contribute to that fear. Perceived fear of threat is far greater than the actual threat,so one has to start confronting those triggers. It is thus important to help the person confront each of these issues in hierarchy before addressing the root cause of their animal phobia and desensitising him or her to it.
To treat people of their animal phobias,did you have to overcome yours first?
I do not have any animal phobias. I love animals; they offer us so much. But when I ask somebody to confront their fears,I cant ask my patients to do anything I would not be willing to do.
Which phobia is most common?
The ones I treat often are phobias of dogs,cats,birds,insects,but more around spiders and snakes. Ive certainly never had somebody come to me and say theyre afraid of a giraffe or a rhinoceros.