Coulrophobia: How To Successfully Identify And Overcome Phobias.

1313 words - 5 pages

I decided to use a phobia that I suffer from. I suffer from coulrophobia, a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of clowns that compels avoidance, despite the understanding by the phobic individual and reassurance by others that there is no danger.And my fear extends to circus music, clown outfits, clown voices, etc.... My mother claims I have been coulrophic since birth, but for this essay I need to pinpoint a moment in my life that could have caused my phobia. So I will use my earliest memory of not only clowns, but of fear and sadness.When I was 4-years-old, our home phone rang in the middle of the night. It was a family friend named Becky. My mother came and got me out of bed, loaded me in the car, and we headed to Becky's house. I knew something was wrong because my mom was crying and wouldn't tell me anything. Becky lived not too far away in an old mansion. She collected clowns. Her wallpaper was clowns, her furniture, her phone, her dishes, and her artwork. She had clown music boxes, statues, and figurines. There was a shelf ran around her entire living room and its purpose was to display clown keepsakes.When we arrived at Becky's house, we were greeted in the foyer by many of my relatives. While I had no real sense of time, I knew that it was odd for my family to be randomly assembling at Becky's. I could tell everyone was sad. My mom then proceeded to try to tell me about death and angels, and tell me that my grandfather had gone to be with Jesus.At that moment all I remember is the room seemed to be spinning around and all I could see were swirls of color, and clowns everywhere. In the background I couldn't hear my family, I could hear was the sound of circus music playing from one of Becky's music boxes. From that day forward I would never step foot in Becky's house, or even be around clowns. It was even hard for me around Becky, because when I saw her all I could think of were clowns. Since then, seeing a clown or hearing circus music has evoked a feeling of fear and sadness in me. I even get that feeling every time I have to write the word "clown" in this essay.My fear happened because my mind associated the sadness and fear I felt when I learned my grandfather had passed away, with clowns. Before I continue, let me familiarize you with some common terms in classical conditioning, and with classical conditioning. Classical conditioning, simply stated, is learning by association. If every time you hear a horn honk, you get kicked in the stomach, eventually you will associate the sound of a horn honking with the fear and feeling of being kicked in the stomach. Or another example that most of us can relate to is a particular song is played and you immediately think of a particular romantic partner. Here are some more terms common in classical conditioning:"h Unconditioned Stimulus (US): any stimulus that will always and naturally elicit a response"h Unconditioned Response (UR): any response that always and naturally occurs at the...

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