There are many ways that a therapist might work with someone to help them overcome their fears, a phobia (like being afraid of snakes) or having a panic attack (where a person feels their heart beating, they are short of breath, and feel like they might die). Many therapists use what are called cognitive-behavioral techniques to help a person gain control over these kinds of irrational fears.
You can also learn more about these techniques on your own, and through self-help books. Keep in mind that not every technique is appropriate for every kind of concern or every person — some may work better than others for you. If you fail at one, don’t despair; it means you should either try again until you succeed with that technique, or try another one from the list.
1. The Experimental Method
Do an experiment to test your belief that you’re “cracking up,” having a heart attack, or losing control.
2. Paradoxical Techniques
Exaggerate your fears instead of running away from them. If you have the fear of cracking up or having a stroke, you try your hardest to crack up or have a stroke.
3. Shame-Attacking Exercises
Purposely do something silly in public, in order to overcome your fear of appearing foolish.