Therapy With Heart is continuing to provide the therapy services that focus on relationships and healing. This includes providing psychotherapy sessions for couples, individuals, and adolescents/families via telehealth or in-person in the office. To schedule an appointment call (480) 888-5380 or email

Reactive Fear

Counseling Services

Fear….This is a scary word that most of us do not like to talk about. Unfortunately, it is a feeling most of us are familiar with because we are all faced with uncertain situations. For me, I feel it every day. My son was born with a rare chromosome abnormality that creates complications related to eating, breathing, hearing, and talking. Since the moment we found out he would be different, I have been full of fear and uncertainty for his health and his future. Fear of infection and what that would mean for his life. Uncertain of the timeline for this rare disorder with limited medical research to help guide us through the uncertainties that are to be expected. Concern for what his life is going to look like and how to plan for it.  Fear has become a part of me for the past 6 years that I have learned to embrace much like my son has learned to overcome his struggles. 

When we are scared, we try to find safety to feel better. Finding safety can look like reaching out to family or buying all the toilet paper off of the shelves. When we are in our reactive fear we often do irrational behaviors such as the toilet paper buying. We do things out of impulse in hopes that it will bring a calm to the storm happening inside. It has taken me quite some time to embrace my fear and not live in reactive fear. This isn’t to say that I don’t react. Like anyone else, I have moments when I am irrational. I found myself spending way too much at the grocery store on pantry items that we typically don’t have or use but I was able to recognize it and owned the fact that I let my fear get the best of me in that moment. 

COVID-19 has created a mix of emotions in most of us that are complex to sort through. Therefore, we are trying to control external factors because we feel so out of control on the inside. There is nothing wrong with this. We just need to find positive things that we can control. Trying to control our partner or others…probably not the best idea. Reorganizing our closet, trying something new to bake, and controlling your breathing are great ways to manage during this time! Even making the decision to not react out of fear gives you a sense of control because you are deciding how to respond in this time instead of feeling like you are forced to respond in a certain way. 

Fear can often be disguised as judgment, anger, or avoiding. If you find yourself making quick reactive decisions or doing things that are out of character for you, know that you are not alone. Have hope that you can make a choice to do something different. You can take a deep breath to bring you back in the moment. You can find an activity that you have complete control over. You can write down the pros and cons before making a decision. Call someone else to talk about how you are feeling or a struggle you are having. Feel the fear and trust that it will move through. 

Please know we are here as an additional resource to help manage that overwhelming fear so it doesn’t result in reactive activity. This will not last forever and you are not alone.


This Post Written By:
Tara Verhagen, LAMFT – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380
Fax: (480) 203-2881