Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fear, Panic and Phobias

It hits you out of nowhere. For no apparent reason. Its effects are paralyzing. Fear. Of elevators. Of leaving the home. Of fear itself. In the middle of it, you feel like you'll never climb out. In those moments, it's exactly as Goethe so eloquently put it ... "even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt us."

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we'll penetrate the mysterious world of fear, panic and phobias. If you're a sufferer, or know someone who is, you'll find some real clarity today. These conditions are not as murky or impenetrable as you might think.

By the way, my book offer is still open. Free copies of Norberto Keppe's Liberation of the People: The Pathology of Power are available. You might think this has no connection to today's topic, but Keppe's books are therapeutic in the deepest sense of that word. His studies into psychopathology are unmatched in the history of psychological, philosophical and even theological thought, and I know any introduction to his work will open your eyes to a deeper understanding of all aspects of the human condition. Just write me at if you'd like a copy.

Like most of us, I've had friends who've suffered from the debilitating effects of fear and panic. From the outside, it can seem so ridiculous. How can you be afraid of that, we say in disbelief. But to the sufferer it's all too real. I had a friend years ago who couldn't walk out on the roof of the old office building we worked in together because he had a fear he'd jump off. When I came to Brazil 6 years ago, and I began to study Keppe's work, I began to understand many neurotic conditions like this one. I began to see that all of our outside difficulties have personal, psychological connections inside us. Our reaction to outside events is more a question of the outside thing mirroring something to us about what's going on inside us. That's what we'll look at today.

Oh and by the way, I think my friend's fear of jumping was consciousness to him of how self-destructive he was in his life, but didn't want to see. On the roof, he had consciousness of this, but thought this feeling was unique to being on the roof.

Let's, if you'll pardon the pun, dive in and see if we can de-mystify this area.

Leo Lima is a psychoanalyst at Norberto Keppe's Integral Psychoanalysis clinic here in São Paulo. He attends clients in person and by phone from North America and Europe. Let's find out what he has to say from his extensive clinical experience.

Click here to listen to this episode.



Anonymous said...

Hi Richard!

I wonder about agrophobia, where a person fears of open places, where he/she doesn´t see any "exit" and is afraid of not getting out of the "infinite place". What is the usual association about agrophobia and the cure? Thanks for your podcast

Mikael J,Sweden

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Hi again Mikael,

There are no "usuals" in Analytical Trilogy. Each case must be seen in an individual way, depending on the associations the client makes about the situation.

But in the case you describe, with the associations you gave, it could be analyzed that this type of person has great fear of infinity, and feels that infinity is limiting him/her. This would show a very strong rejection of the infinite, a feeling of being trapped by the infinite, by God in fact.

It would be necessary to talk more to the person to get a more precise profile, but this person thinks that his limited ideas are advantageous while living more, experiencing more, raising the limits of his possibilities, is very dangerous. His ideas, then are more valuable than anything that comes from God or the infinite.

Hope that's helpful, and thanks for the questions!

Anonymous said...

I am extremely claustrophobic. It has impacted my life tremendously. I am always striving to become more and more conscious yet I cannot seem to conquer this phobia. I live in NYC and cannot use subways or elevators. I cannot travel with family on airplanes. This makes me feel bad about myself. Can you help with some insight regarding this particular phobia? Claudia Pacheco's book, Theomania is not available anywhere that I know of. I would be interested to study this work. Thank you for your work. Lori A

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Hi Lori,
I sympathize with your debilitating problem. I don´t want to presume to offer analysis through a commentary, but let me offer a couple of rays of light for you:
First, you may want to think seriously about Trilogical analysis through Keppe´s clinic in Brazil. There is analysis available by phone (there are many clients in North America and Europe who dial in once or twice a week). Trilogical Analysis is very effective over the phone, and may help you a lot.
I also have copies of Dr. Pacheco´s book, Healing Through Consciousness: Theomania and Stress, and I could mail you a copy. Of course, I´ll need your e-mail address first, and then I´ll write for your mailing address. Send me a note at

Thanks for your comment, Lori, and I know that Analytical Trilogy can help you to tackle this phobia at the source.