pastel by PattyRice, www.PattyRice.com

How To Squash Your Fear of Bugs (and Other Phobias)

The Slate podcast How To! features Dr. McMahon on reprogramming your brain to conquer your phobias. See: How To Squash Your Fear of Bugs (and Other Phobias)

Every year, around the same time, Peter’s apartment comes alive. The shadows begin to scuttle and the pipes creak with creepy crawlies. At least that’s how it feels. Peter is freaked out by Israel’s large flying cockroaches. Logically, he knows they don’t pose a threat. But he can’t control his visceral disgust at encountering one and his panicked vigilance in the days that follow. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Dr. Elizabeth McMahon, a clinical psychologist who has been treating phobias like these for the last 30 years. She has some very practical advice for Peter, and anyone else with an irrational fear they’d like to overcome. Elizabeth often uses virtual reality therapy with her clients, most recently to treat needle phobias. She’s made this needle phobia training available for licensed therapists or supervised trainees.