Cat and dog phobia not only affects the quality of life of the individual, but also can cause social problems such as not being able to go out in daily life, not being able to meet with a friend who has a cat or dog. Experts say that anxiety symptoms such as numbness in the hands and feet, sweating, trembling, frequent breathing, and increased heart rhythm can occur, and that this phobia can be treated. Depersonalization can be achieved with the application of virtual reality glasses, which is one of the cognitive behavioral therapy methods.
Üsküdar University NP Feneryolu Medical Center Specialist Clinical Psychologist Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı made an assessment about cat and dog phobia.
Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı, who defines phobia as “a terrifying, extraordinary fear and anxiety in the face of certain objects, situations or events”, said, “Cat and dog phobia is the extremely pressured, logical explanations that one feels when encountering a dog or cat. It is the terrifying level of fear.” said.
Can interfere with daily life
Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı said that her phobia of cats and dogs can reach a level that can prevent her from even leaving the house and doing her daily activities in case of seeing a cat or dog.
Even seeing it on TV can trigger
Noting that people with phobias about cats and dogs, which can be encountered at any time in daily life, including city life, experience intense distress and decrease in functionality, Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı said, “Exposing a person to animals in animal phobias includes an extremely unbearable state of panic and fear. This can even be triggered by the person seeing that animal on television.” warned.
Noting that the symptoms of anxiety occur in these situations, Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı said, "Symptoms such as numbness in the hands and feet, sweating, tremors, frequent breathing, and increased heart rhythm may occur." said.
Avoidances feed the phobia
Noting that these symptoms will lead to avoidance after a while, Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı said, “Avoiding can be defined as the situations in which the person avoids the object, event or situation that he or she has developed a phobia of. For example, not going to the house of a friend who has a cat, not being able to leave the house alone while going to the market. Avoidance feeds the phobia.” warned.
Cognitive behavioral therapies can be used in the treatment of phobias
Noting that phobia can be treated, Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı gave the following information about treatment methods:
“Cognitive behavioral therapies are among the most functional methods in phobia treatments. From time to time, traumas experienced by the person in the past and negative thought patterns also take place on the basis of phobias. In these cases, the EMDR technique helps us to get very positive responses. Cognitive behavioral therapies focus on cognitions and behaviors of the person. After giving detailed psychoeducation about the symptoms of anxiety and the phobia, the phase of desensitization of the person to the avoided and phobic object begins. This session can be started with the therapist in the room, or it is supported by homework to be given to the client outside the session.”
Depersonalization is achieved with virtual reality glasses
Noting that VR (Virtual Reality Glasses) application is the biggest helper of the last period in the gradual desensitization in the session room, Cemre Ece Gökpınar Çağlı said, “With a professional program, various modules and scenes have been developed in order to provide desensitization to animals and various phobias. The client starts desensitization studies in the session room with the therapist. When deemed necessary, psychiatrist evaluation and pharmacotherapy support may also be needed.” said.