According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, “the 12 month prevalence for any anxiety disorder is over 12% and one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime”. (1)
Fear, like all emotions, developed originally as a tool for protection and survival. It is an indicator of boundaries being overstepped: physical boundaries such as those of our homes or even our bodies; emotional and mental boundaries as those of our wishes, believes, and will. Fear is not a feeling to get rid off but one to understand and work with. However, a constant experience of living in and with fear can lead to anxiety that can become crippling. Working with fear and anxiety in therapy often includes a two-pronged approach: practical tools to manage and master the symptoms of anxiety so that life quality can be enhanced and exploring the deeper, often very personal approach to fear in general, including the history of fear and fear management in one’s life and a more truthful understanding of one’s ability to deal with the dangers and problems of life.
Fear (and anxiety) likely will never completely “go away” — and really, they shouldn’t. But for most people it is possible to come to a new and productive relationship with fear, one in which fear regains its original role: a warning of eminent or possible danger.