How To!

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

Dr. Elizabeth McMahon on reprogramming your brain to conquer your phobias.

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Episode Notes

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.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Not Be Scared.”

Do you have a question with no easy answers? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John and Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Amanda Ripley (bestselling author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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