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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I overcome a phobia of open doors?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 10


    When life doesn’t quite go as it should, a little support is needed - a patient listener, an understanding ear, and help to find solutions. … View Profile

    Think about why you have the phobia. Have you had a bad experience with an open door at some time? If so, you obviously survived it, so you must have handled it.
    Overcoming any phobia involves working on yourself and learning skills. Discussing with your therapist what might be causing the phobia will give you a starting point. Phobias are unreasonable fears. The fear is out of proportion with the danger. Often there is no actual danger at all. People don’t normally have horrible things coming through an open door at them. Examining your thoughts and beliefs about open doors will help you to discover why you have the fear and how to overcome it. You will replace your unreasonable fears with a more realistic attitude to open doors.
    Relief from your phobia can occur in little steps, each bringing you closer to the goal. Learning Mindfulness skills will help. You learn how to relax and control your thoughts and body sensations so that you are less distressed. The mind and body are calmer and you feel better. You are then more able to confront the open door without the awful feelings that accompany phobias. Once you realise that there is nothing to be afraid of, the phobia begins to dissipate, and eventually, is extinguished completely.

  • Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    I thoroughly respect the wisdom and experience of those who respond here to questions about phobias.

    There are various approaches taken according to our training.

    May I add that one approach is to see if a phobia originates in a past incident.  If after investigation such an incident becomes evident, the problem can often be addressed rapidly, sometimes in a session or two. 

  • Anthony Berrick


    The Australian Psychological Society publishes a literature review of evidence-based psychological interventions for mental disorders. This review looks at high-quality scientific studies to determine what treatments are supported by evidence.

    The current (third) edition of the review states:

    There is Level I evidence for cognitive behaviour therapy and Level II evidence for self-help (primarily CBT-based) in the treatment of specific phobia in adults. In the current review, there was insufficient evidence to indicate that any of the remaining interventions were effective.

    NB: Level I is the highest level of evidence.

    What this means is that, even though it is possible that some other interventions may be beneficial in treating phobias, there is currently not enough high-quality scientific evidence to support any treatment other than cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

    CBT treatment for phobias involves learning skills to manage anxious thoughts and feelings and exposure to the feared stimulus (in your case, open doors) to gradually reduce the anxiety response.

    Since the evidence shows that self-help using CBT can be an effective strategy, you might want to try to get hold of a CBT-based self-help book such as The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Dr Edmund Bourne.

    If you'd prefer to work with a professional, or you don't have much success using the book on your own, a psychologist who specialises in treating anxiety disorders using CBT will be able to help. You can get a mental health plan from your GP to see a psychologist under Medicare.

    All the best.

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