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Mark's Story

Ever since childhood I have experienced palpable blood phobia (haemophobia) which has influenced and restricted my behaviour in a great many ways. Recently, due to a minor health concern, I was informed by my doctor that I would need a blood test. This was a scenario which filled me with dread and, despite my best intentions, one I was unable to fulfil.

My doctor therefore recommended that I contact Steps 2 Wellbeing to undergo therapy to overcome my phobia so that I could successfully undertake a blood test, an inevitable part of everybody’s life but something I felt I could never achieve. The thought of having a blood test would leave me incredibly anxious and in extreme cases my blood phobia would result in me passing out.

Due to the fact that I’d had this condition since childhood, and its considerable physical symptoms, I was sceptical that any form of therapy could really help. I was fairly convinced that my behaviour was fixed with regards to my attitude towards blood and needles.

My therapist and I went through my beliefs about my phobia and carefully questioned them. I was encouraged to look for positive reasons to be able to face my fears, something which at the start of therapy was very difficult. However, throughout the process I was helped by my therapist to challenge myself in an effort to move towards my goal. We even managed to set up scenarios in which I carried out a mock blood test. As the therapy progressed I felt more comfortable with facing my phobia as we addressed the validity of my beliefs and acted out what would actually happen in a blood test. All of this was carried out at an agreed pace and in a safe environment. Throughout all of this my therapist was always there to offer support and I never felt alone.

In the end I managed to have a blood test. It wasn’t easy, but with the brilliant help of my therapist, I left the session having achieved something I would have thought impossible before the therapy.

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