“I am forever grateful for the time I spent in treatment with Dr. Tomassetti, and wish I would have pursued single session phobia treatment sooner!”
By definition, phobias are something that we do our best to avoid. People with phobias will go to great lengths to minimize contact with the object of their fear. Afraid of snakes? Forget that day trip to hike around the Hudson River. Terrified of vomit? You’ll just have to miss that party. Fear of flying? It’s only road trips for you!
Levity aside, intense fears can cause significant distress. Prior to treatment, some of my clients have been unable to attend even the most important family events due to fear of flying, or have postponed necessary medical treatment due to fear of blood or injections. Women have reported to me that they have even delayed pregnancy due to intense fear of nausea and vomiting.
As a high-energy person, I enjoy getting down to business and getting things done in an efficient manner. The best way to get over a fear is to face it. Although single session phobia treatment is evidence-based, it is not offered by many psychologists. For these reasons, I’ve dedicated a part of my practice to single session phobia treatment: the most efficient way to overcome phobic avoidance. This intensive option is favored by clients who are motivated to just get it over with as quickly as possible. With a motivated and confident professional guiding you, almost everyone can overcome their phobia.
If you are considering this one-session option, check out this blog to hear one client’s perspective on the process. *Published with permission, certain details have been edited for clarity and to protect the client’s anonymity.
client success story!
“When I first heard of ‘Single Session Phobia Treatment,’ I thought it was too good to be true. Surely, I wouldn’t be able to address my fear of needles in ONE session. I decided to at least meet with Dr. Tomassetti for an intake appointment. When I did, she explained the rationale for treatment, including a summary of the evidence in support of this treatment, her success with other clients like me, and a description of the structure of the single session versus the longer format treatment. She explained all of this in such a way that it made sense to me, so I thought ‘why not?’ Dr. Tomassetti had a warm and inviting demeanor, which I found comforting, as I thought about the discomfort I would likely experience while soon facing my fear. She also managed to make me laugh during the intake, so I took that as another sign that I found the right fit.
At the start of the exposure session, Dr. Tomassetti guided me through the development of a “hierarchy.” The hierarchy is a list of things that I felt afraid of – everything from just thinking about needles to watching videos of people getting injections to getting an injection or blood draw myself! We used something called “SUDS” to describe how scary each item was to me. After we finished making this list, we started with something low on the list, which was simply talking about needles. Slowly, we proceeded to watching videos of nurses handling needles and eventually of sticking a patient. Next, Dr. Tomassetti presented an actual needle, and I observed as she stuck herself with the small needle. After watching Dr. Tomassetti handle the needle, I was given the opportunity to handle a clean needle myself. Dr. Tomassetti was so hands on with this process, that she even presented a dummy used for training nurses, giving me the opportunity to observe her performing a “blood draw” and allowing me to actually stick the dummy with the needle myself! If you had asked me a day before this session if I could have done any of this, I would have said “no way!” Dr. Tomassetti was exceptionally professional and invested in my success. She had various props ready and available to foster my victory!
With each additional step in my hierarchy, I was being exposed, and at the same time desensitized to my fears surrounding needles. Every few steps, we would take a quick break to breathe, stretch, and process what was happening. At the end of each hour, I was shocked at how much I had accomplished. I was now mindlessly holding a capped needle while having a conversation about where I might get my first flu shot ever.
Through the process, Dr. Tomassetti also helped me with challenging my fears and restructuring my thoughts to be more accurate and helpful. She equipped me with behavioral strategies so that I could gain greater control over my physiological sensations. For example, she taught me breathing strategies that allowed me to regulate not only my breathing, but even my heart rate. She also taught me how to eliminate the possibility of passing out by teaching me how to position my body into a squat position and wrap my arms around my legs. So, while the point of this single session was to expose myself to my long-held fear so that I could debunk the irrational beliefs I adopted, Dr. Tomassetti also taught me a variety of coping skills that I have since found useful in other contexts as well.
All of this culminated in Dr. Tomassetti accompanying me to the doctor’s office so that I could have my blood drawn – something I had been avoiding for years. Engaging in this single session phobia treatment with Dr. Tomassetti was probably one of the most empowering ways I could have spent six hours. Successfully allowing my blood to be drawn, without passing out, felt incredibly freeing. I am forever grateful for the time I spent in treatment with Dr. Tomassetti, and wish I would have pursued single session phobia treatment sooner!”
Contact Dr. Tory Tomassetti today!
If you are considering phobia treatment, contact me to talk about the best form of treatment for you. While not all phobias are well-suited for a one-session format, examples of phobias that would be a good fit include: needle/injection phobia, bodily fluid phobias, insect/animal phobias, and dental phobias. While phobia treatment can sound intimidating, I will be with you each step of the way- I’ll hold the snake, ride the elevator, look over the edge of a tall building, or even handle simulated bodily fluids to foster a supportive environment that is conducive to successful completion of treatment.