Challenge #03054-H131: Irrational Therapy

They are a therapist helping those who have severe phobias. How do they do this? They help the person through careful exposure therapy. If the person is afraid of something that is actually quite dangerous, they simply help the person learn to control the fear so they can think clearly if confronted by it. For those that are terrified of that which is actually quite harmless, tiny exposure times, coupled with therapy and mild relaxants, seem to help. -- Fighting Fit

[AN: Having looked into exposure therapy, it's a lot more complicated than that. Some of the more extreme phobias have to begin with obvious pictures of obviously distorted cartoon versions of the phobia, with warning ahead of time, and even then taking the image away when panic sets in. Fun times]

Therapists don't always have to have a specialty, but those who go into the occupation generally do so for at least one reason, and the specialty... happens. Therapist Lar had found hir way into treating phobias simply because most of hir clients had them. Phobias, being irrational, cannot be easily cured. There's no easy way to train a brain to not fear something it auto-panics about.

Human Ark, like most Deregger expatriates, had an irrational fear of crawling insects. Big ones, small ones, it didn't matter. If they didn't fly, they were horrible. If they did fly, then they dissolved into shrieking terror. Discipline, on their planet of origin, consisted of locking a child in a room full of things they hated. The phobia was the natural result. Lar and Ark were working together on finding where the boundary was.

Ark had a large bowl of warm tea, a blend that helped them feel calm and, as a matter of necessity, in control. The soft room was well lit and made entirely of colours that showed the dirt, so that Ark could see that it was completely clean and uninfested. There was a therapy Skitty on their lap. Everything was safe. Lar therefore began with a circular dot on hir datareader screen. "Is this safe?"

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