Automatonophobia refers to fear of objects that represent human beings. These objects include wax statutes, dummies, and animatronics creatures. People with this kind of fear believe that things such as robots that move on their own are extremely harmful1.
Automophobic people are unease when they are in places that have wax statutes and dummies. Their social life is also affected because they cannot visit areas such as museums or shopping centers which have mannequins.
Symptoms of Automatonophobia
Automophobic people manifest the following signs and symptoms which vary from one person to another3:
- They may have difficulty in breathing and sometimes they breathe very fast. This may be accompanied with heart palpitations. Automophobic people may have nausea which comes along with vomiting and diarrhea.
- Other symptoms include they shake and sweat. They feel dizzy and may develop a condition known as insomnia. Automophobic people are very sensitive to light and sound.
Automatonophobia causes vary among individuals and some of them include4:
A frightening experience you may have had in the past about dummies can make you have fear of any object that resembles human beings. For example in today’s world where technology is advancing, many people are able to watch movies. These movies have characters that resemble human beings in the form of robots and do very frightening things that can make you scared. When you are exposed to these movies frequently, you will have fears of robots.
People can become automophobic subconsciously. The negative thoughts you attach on something can make you frightened. For example, if you had a nightmare about dummies chasing you, you will be scared.
Medical studies are yet to come up with diagnostic test to confirm diagnosis of automatonophobia. This is partly because the causes of phobia are not yet known2.
Management of Automatonophobia
Automatonophobia is type of phobia which can be effectively managed through psychological therapies. Psychological therapies are important because they identify the underlying causes of phobia; have a new dimension about the situation and teach you strategies to eliminate the triggers.
There are many therapies that can manage phobia. Each therapy may be used alone or combined with another therapy for optimal results. These therapies may be done on one person or in groups of people with automatonophobia.
Some of the therapies that can be used to manage automatonophobia include:3, 4, 5
Exposure therapy involves being exposed to objects or situations that frighten you. This therapy holds that when you are exposed repeatedly to wax statutes, dummies and mannequins, you will eventually cope with these objects and your fears will reduce.
In exposure therapy, the first task of your therapist l is to guide you imagine the wax statutes and dummies that scare you. This is a systematic process and you will start with an object that that makes you panic a little and proceed to more frightening ones.
There are several techniques that you will be thought to make you relax such as breathing deeply and relaxing your muscle. Once you feel comfortable with these techniques, you can try them at home. These techniques will help you when dealing with phobia of any type.
Exposure therapy can be used alone or in combination with cognitive therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most commonly used form of therapy to treat a wide range of anxieties such as phobia, panic, etc. In cognitive behavioral therapy, negative thoughts and how you perceive yourself and the world around you are dealt with.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is divided into the following:
- Cognitive therapy assesses your negative thoughts and their contribution to phobia.
- Behavioral therapy examines your behaviors and response towards situations that trigger anxiety.
The underlying principle of cognitive behavioral therapy is that thoughts and not external factors influence the way a person feels. In other words, it is not the situation you are in that determines how you feel but your perception of the situation.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, you will be able to challenge your own negative thoughts about a situation by doing the following:
Identify your negative thoughts
With anxiety disorders, situations are perceived harmful than they actual are. To a person with automatonophobia, objects that seem to be moving are scary. You may see this is as improbable fear but spotting your own negative thoughts may be difficult. Through the supervision and guidance of a therapist, you will learn to do this step by step.
Confront your thoughts
In this step, you will be thought how to evaluate your negative thoughts. This step requires you to question the facts of your frightening thoughts, analyze beliefs and test the certainty of the limiting thoughts. In order to confront your negative thoughts, your therapist will conduct experiments on what your fear, comes up with merits and demerits of worrying and evading the thing you fear and determine the likelihood of what you fear may happen.
Replace negative thoughts
Once you have correctly identified unrealistic fears and negative distortion in your anxious thoughts, you can begin to change them with fresh, correct and helpful thoughts.
- Your therapist will teach how to come up with sensible positive statements to tell yourself when you face a situation that raises your fears.
Moreover, your therapist will teach you how to recognize when you fear and how it feels like in the body. You will also be taught how to deal with panic and fear.
Counseling is another form of therapy that can help you deal with phobia. Look for a competent counselor and discuss with him/her your fears. The counselor will try to comprehend the underlying causes your fears and will assist you came up with strategies to eliminate them.
Strategies to Deal with Automatonophobia
Besides therapies, there are some strategies that you can embrace to deal with automatonophobia such as1:
- Deal with those fears courageously: Do not feel ashamed of these fears, get up and deal with them head on.
- Eliminate panic: Do not let challenges ruin your efforts of dealing with those fears. Stop panicking and soldier on.
- Tune your brain: Rewiring your brain can help you deal with these fears. Tell yourself to be brave so that you can confront automatonophobia.
- Automatonophobia. http://www.hypnosisondemand.com/overcome-automatonophobia-fear-ventriloquists-dummies/
- Automatonophobia. http://listphobias.com/Automatonophobia
- Cognitive therapy. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt-phobias.htm