Lots of people have phobias, from the common ones like arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or leaving the house) to more unusual ones like Pogonophobia (fear of beards) and Turophobia (fear of cheese).
If you have a phobia, or your child does, what is the best way to deal with it?
The best way for a mild phobia is through gradual desensitisation e.g first talking about spiders, then looking at pictures, then looking at them in controlled way (e.g through glass in a zoo). Other phobias would be addresses in the same way.
If it is more serious, and really affecting daily life, them I'd suggest a psychologist referral through a family doctor. Cognitive behavioural therapy is particularly effective in treating phobias, but it does need professional support.
The best way to deal with a phobia is with gentle exposure. Give your anxiety a rating out of 10, and with each time you confront the object of your fear, you should hopefully see that number decreasing. It is a very slow and difficult process, but in the end it will be worth it.
I have never tried it myself but I have heard that hypnosis can do wonders and in a very short time. I know someone who is terrified of flying and after only one session she is almost over it. She reckons one more session and she will be to pop on a plane no worries! I think that sounds pretty amazing I don't think it comes cheap though.
My dad once told me that the best way to overcome fear is to regularly undertake the activity that is the source of fear. I have applied this theory into practice and have found it to be highly effective. However, this method may not work in all instances and professional help should be sought in extreme or incurable cases of phobia.