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What is Globophobia?

Last updated on 3rd May 2023

Globophobia, an extreme and irrational fear of balloons, is a type of specific phobia that occurs most frequently in children. Globophobia is a relatively unknown phobia, although it is becoming more recognised within the UK.

Nearly 5 million people across the UK experience a type of specific phobia. However, there are currently more than 400 recognised phobias and specific figures relating to the prevalence of globophobia are not available.

Today, we are going to look at globophobia in more detail, including the common causes, triggers, symptoms and treatments.

Fear of balloons

What is globophobia?

Globophobia is an extreme, overwhelming and irrational fear of balloons. This phobia often includes extreme fear, anxiety or panic at the thought, sight, sound, touch and smell of balloons. However, in some people, globophobia only includes a fear of balloons popping or, specifically, the sound of a balloon popping.

Globophobia can include the fear of several types of balloons, including:

  • Inflated balloons.
  • Deflated balloons.
  • Latex/rubber balloons.
  • Foil balloons.
  • Balloon animals.
  • Helium balloons.
  • Balloons filled with air.
  • Water balloons.
  • Hot air balloons.

Some people with globophobia may have a fear of all of these balloons, or their phobia may centre around a specific type of balloon. For example, some people with globophobia are not afraid of foil balloons as they are less likely to pop, and others are only afraid of inflated balloons.

Balloon phobia is particularly common in young children, with many of them growing out of their fear before adolescence. However, in some cases, instead of growing out of their fear, the symptoms of globophobia can worsen over time, with some people experiencing a phobia of balloons throughout their life. Globophobia can also occur in adulthood.

Although many people dislike the sound of a balloon bursting, especially when it happens unexpectedly, this does not necessarily mean you are experiencing a phobia. Someone with globophobia may also experience a fear of balloons, even if there is no real risk to them or if they are not in close contact with them.

For example, they may experience symptoms if they see a model balloon, even if it cannot pop, or if they know there are balloons in the same building as them. This irrational fear of balloons can have a significant impact on their day-to-day life and can cause them to experience fear, anxiety and panic even in situations where there is no risk.

To be classed as globophobia, your fear of balloons will include:

  • Feelings of intense fear, panic or anxiety that are difficult to manage.
  • Fear or anxiety that is out of proportion to the potential danger.
  • A fear of balloons that lasts for a minimum of six months.
  • Engaging in avoidance behaviours to prevent encounters with balloons.
  • A fear of balloons that interferes with your day-to-day life, overall well-being or sense of safety.

Because a person with globophobia will likely experience intense and overwhelming fear, anxiety or panic when they encounter balloons, they may implement avoidance behaviours which are designed to help them avoid balloons or places or situations where they might encounter balloons.

For example, they may avoid attending birthday parties and other celebrations, such as anniversaries, and may refuse to attend places popular with children, in case balloons or balloon animals are present, for example, family-friendly restaurants, fairgrounds and farms.

Avoidance behaviours can negatively impact your social life and your relationships, as well as your ability to carry out everyday tasks. Avoidance behaviours also often have a paradoxical effect, meaning that although a globophobic person implements avoidance behaviours to help them manage or reduce their phobia, they actually have the opposite effect and instead reinforce the phobia and, in many cases, result in more severe symptoms in the future.

Someone with globophobia may also have difficulty concentrating or functioning in certain situations and find that their fear interferes with their day-to-day life. Some people find that they are consumed by thoughts of balloons or the fear that they could encounter a balloon, and this fear impacts on their behaviour.

Symptoms of globophobia may not only occur when you are faced with a balloon. Some people with this phobia also experience symptoms when they think about balloons or see, hear, smell or touch something that reminds them of balloons.

Globophobia can be connected to several different fears related to balloons, including but not limited to:

  • A fear of balloons popping or bursting and making a loud bang.
  • A dislike of the texture of balloons.
  • A fear of the weightless drifting of a balloon.
  • A dislike of the rubbery latex smell of balloons.
  • A fear of balloons carrying you into the sky.

If you have globophobia, you may be aware that your fear of balloons is irrational and disproportionate to the risk and danger. However, you may still be unable to control your fear and prevent or reduce your physiological and psychological responses to balloons.

Globophobia can be related to and occur in conjunction with other phobias, including:

  • Phonophobia: An extreme fear of loud noises.
  • Helliophobia: An extreme fear of helium.
  • Barophobia: An extreme fear of gravity.
  • Casadastraphobia: An extreme fear of falling into the sky.
  • Linonophobia: An extreme fear of string.
  • Coulrophobia: An extreme fear of clowns.
  • Lastihophobia: An extreme fear of elastic bands.

How common is globophobia?

Globophobia is a type of specific phobia, which means it is a lasting, overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a specific object, situation, activity or person; in this situation an overwhelming fear of balloons. Because the diagnostic criteria for phobias refer exclusively to specific phobias, there are no individual statistics available that indicate how many people have globophobia. However, approximately 7.5% of the population experiences a specific phobia, equating to nearly 5 million people.

However, it is thought that many phobias, including globophobia, go undiagnosed.

This could be for a number of reasons, including:

  • The parents or guardians expect the child to grow out of their fears.
  • The child cannot articulate or explain their fears properly.
  • People have never heard of the phobia so are unaware they are experiencing a medical condition.
  • People do not discuss their fears with others so are not aware that their fear of balloons is extreme.
  • Avoidance behaviours reduce a person’s encounters with the feared object.
  • People are not aware that there are effective treatments for phobias.
  • People are aware that their fear is irrational and find this embarrassing so do not seek a diagnosis.

Balloons tend to cause polar opposite reactions in many people. Some people love balloons and associate them with parties and celebrations whereas other people dislike them, particularly the loud bang they create when they burst.

Negative thoughts and feelings towards balloons usually occur on a spectrum, ranging from low levels of fear and anxiety to severe fear, panic and anxiety that can impact your ability to function in your day-to-day life and can impact your decision-making and result in avoidance behaviours of certain places, situations or objects. It can be difficult to determine how many people are scared of or dislike balloons and how many are experiencing a true phobia.

Globophobia with fear of balloon animals

Who is at risk of globophobia?

Although anyone can develop globophobia, certain risk factors can increase the likelihood that you will develop a fear of balloons, including:

  • Having a previous traumatic or negative experience with balloons.
  • Having a sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or another condition that makes you sensitive to loud noises.
  • Being overanxious or having a heightened mental state, as this can make you more sensitive to loud noises.
  • Having another related phobia, such as phonophobia or coulrophobia.
  • Previously experiencing war or a negative event involving guns, bombs or violence.
  • Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with globophobia.
  • Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with another phobia.
  • Being exposed to the fear of globophobia during childhood or adolescence.
  • Having a history of anxiety, depression, panic attacks or another mental health condition.
  • Being a naturally more anxious or fearful person.
  • Going through a significant life event or stressor, having higher than usual stress levels or being in a heightened mental state (particularly if you are exposed to a fear of balloons or having a negative experience with balloons during this time).
  • Having a substance use disorder, including an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

As mentioned earlier, globophobia is more likely to develop during childhood. However, the condition can develop at any age. A child who experiences a traumatic, negative or stressful event, even if this is unrelated to balloons, is more likely to develop globophobia.

This is because stress and trauma can cause feelings of anxiety and fear and can reduce your ability to cope with fear or stress. Globophobia is also more commonly diagnosed in females, compared to males.

In fact, females are twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of globophobia compared to males (9.8% compared to 4.9%). However, it is unknown whether these statistics reflect a true gender disparity or whether they are a result of other factors.

It is also important to note that although the above risk factors raise the likelihood that you will experience globophobia, they do not guarantee that you will develop the condition. A child or adult with none of the above risk factors may develop globophobia, whereas someone with several risk factors may never develop the condition.

How to deal with globophobia

Some people with globophobia think they are effectively managing their phobia because they have implemented avoidance behaviours. Avoiding balloons may seem like the easiest way of dealing with your fear and preventing symptoms of your phobia from occurring. However, avoidance behaviours can actually reinforce your fear and worsen your phobia over time.

Avoidance behaviours can also have a significant impact on your life, particularly if they cause you to avoid social situations or impact on your well-being. Failure to deal with your phobia can also cause you to experience more severe symptoms when faced with balloons in the future.

An effective way of dealing with your balloon phobia is to learn coping and calming strategies that you can implement short term when faced with your triggers, and long term on a day-to-day basis to help reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms and the likelihood of the symptoms of your phobia occurring.

Coping and calming strategies can help you to alleviate your symptoms and reduce the impact that your phobia has on your day-to-day life and overall well-being.

Some long-term and short-term strategies you can implement to help you deal with your phobia include:

  • Learn about your phobia
    Identifying what initially caused your fear of balloons and thinking about the initial onset of your symptoms and the situation surrounding it can help you to understand your phobia in more detail. This allows you to address the root cause of your fear and any negative thoughts and emotions that are connected to it. Learning about your phobia also includes identifying your triggers and determining which of your triggers are having the biggest impact on your life. Understanding your phobia can help you to rationalise and understand your thoughts and emotions related to your fear, reduce your automatic fear response and reduce the impact your phobia has on your life.
  • Create a fear ladder
    A fear ladder can help you to analyse and understand your fear of balloons and determine which of your triggers create more severe fear, anxiety and panic than others. A fear ladder allows you to organise your triggers from least severe to most severe. Because phobias are highly individualised, everyone’s fear ladder is different.
    However, an example fear ladder is shown below:
    – 1 = Somebody popping a balloon near you.
    – 2 = Blowing up a balloon.
    – 3 = Holding a balloon.
    – 4 = Being in the same room as an inflated balloon.
    – 5 = Being in the same room as a deflated balloon.
    – 6 = Watching a video of a balloon popping.
    Once you have created your fear ladder, you can then confront your fears one at a time, starting at the bottom of the ladder (the trigger that results in the least phobic response). This can help you to build up your tolerance of your triggers gradually and reduce your fear of balloons.
  • Challenge negative thoughts and feelings
    Many people with phobias find themselves thinking about balloons in a negative way or recalling negative memories involving balloons. If you find yourself thinking about balloons negatively, try to disrupt and challenge any negative thoughts and memories to prevent your fear from escalating. Remind yourself that the risks from balloons are negligible and that they pose no danger to you. If you begin to experience symptoms of globophobia, remind yourself that the feelings will soon pass and that your fear is irrational, and that balloons aren’t going to hurt you. This can prevent your fear or anxiety from escalating.
  • Avoid negative depictions of balloons
    There are significantly more positive depictions of balloons in films, TV shows and books, compared to negative ones. However, it is the negative depictions that are likely to have a lasting effect. Negative depictions can validate your thoughts, increase your fear or anxiety responses and worsen your phobia. Avoid negative depictions to prevent your phobia from escalating.
  • Desensitise yourself
    Desensitising yourself so that you are less sensitive to balloons can help reduce the severity of your phobia. Some ways you can desensitise yourself are to spend time around balloons you are less fearful of, such as deflated balloons or water balloons, watch TV shows or films where balloons are portrayed positively, such as Winnie the Pooh and Up, and go to places where balloons may be present, even if you cannot see them. This can help you to gradually reduce your fear response.
  • Practise yoga, meditation or mindfulness
    Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can all be implemented as long-term coping and calming strategies to help you manage or reduce your phobia. They teach you how to control your breathing and manage your body’s response to your triggers and can help you to feel more in control and calm. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can all reduce the physiological and psychological responses you may have when faced with your triggers in the future. Practising them every day can help to improve the symptoms of globophobia over time and reduce the likelihood of you experiencing a phobic response.
  • Practise deep breathing techniques
    Deep breathing techniques are a long-term strategy that can help you to reduce the impact your phobia of balloons has on your life. Deep breathing is an effective way of lowering your stress levels, relieving tension in your body and reducing anxiety and panic. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to relax and calm down and can also help you to control your central nervous system, which is central to your phobic responses. Practise deep breathing regularly, as part of your daily routine, and implement the strategies you have learnt if you encounter a trigger in the future.
  • Implement lifestyle changes
    Several lifestyle factors can worsen the symptoms of phobias, including lack of sleep, high stress levels and a poor diet can worsen anxiety and make your symptoms more likely to occur. Making simple changes to your lifestyle can help reduce the severity of your phobia. For example, implementing a successful sleep routine and taking steps to reduce your everyday stress can help to reduce the severity of your phobia both short term and long term. You should also try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and increase the amount of exercise you do.

What triggers globophobia?

There are many different things that can trigger your globophobia. Your triggers can vary, depending on what initially caused you to develop globophobia, your perception of danger, the severity of your symptoms and your current mental health and mindset. It could be that you only have one trigger or that multiple things trigger the symptoms of globophobia. In many cases, certain triggers result in a more severe phobic response than others.

The most common triggers for globophobia are:

  • Seeing a balloon, specifically the types of balloons that your phobia centres on.
  • Hearing the sound of a balloon popping.
  • Hearing another sound you associate with balloons, such as the sound of a balloon being blown up or the sound of latex being touched or rubbed.
  • Going to a birthday party or another event where balloons could be present.
  • Going to a fairground, theme park or another place where balloons are commonly sold.
  • Smelling something you commonly associate with balloons, such as the smell of latex.
  • Seeing something you commonly associate with balloons, such as a helium canister or string.
  • Touching something made of latex or foil.
  • Thinking of balloons or remembering a previous encounter with balloons.
  • Watching a video or seeing a picture of a balloon.
  • Knowing that you are in close proximity to balloons, even if you cannot see them.
Child with globophobia

What are the symptoms of globophobia?

Symptoms of globophobia can occur at any time, including when you see, hear, smell or touch balloons or when you are thinking or talking about balloons. The symptoms of this phobia can vary significantly in their frequency, severity and the way they manifest. Symptoms can differ from person to person and from situation to situation.

These differences can occur for several reasons, including because of different triggers, the perceived risk and threat of danger, your current mental and emotional health and well-being and any treatments you are undergoing or coping strategies you have implemented. The symptoms of globophobia can range from mild to severe, with some people experiencing more severe symptoms than others. It could also be that different triggers and situations result in more severe symptoms than others, for example, your symptoms may be more severe if a balloon bursts near you, compared to if you see a packet of deflated balloons in a shop.

The symptoms of globophobia can be similar to the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, particularly if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Symptoms are usually automatic and uncontrollable. They may feel like you are unable to control or reduce your feelings and that your phobia is taking over your body, your thoughts and your feelings.

 Symptoms can be both physiological (related to your body) and psychological (related to your mind) and can include:

Physiological Symptoms:

  • Difficulties breathing, including shallow breathing, rapid breathing or feeling like you cannot catch your breath.
  • Experiencing a panic attack.
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed.
  • A rapid heart rate, heart palpitations and feeling like your heart is pounding.
  • A choking sensation, difficulties swallowing or feeling like something is stuck in your throat.
  • A prickly sensation, similar to pins and needles.
  • A dry or sticky mouth.
  • Shaking, trembling or chills.
  • Unusual or excessive sweating or clamminess.
  • Unusual flushing or paleness, particularly in your face.
  • Gastrointestinal distress, including nausea, vomiting or stomach pain.
  • Feeling confused or disorientated.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Unusual or severe headaches.
  • Feeling hot or cold or being extra sensitive to temperature.
  • Unusual fatigue or tiredness.
  • A lack of appetite when in triggering situations or in the lead-up to triggering situations.
  • Insomnia in the lead-up to triggering situations.

Physiological Symptoms:

  • Overwhelming fear, anxiety or panic when faced with a balloon or another trigger.
  • Feelings of fear, anxiety or panic that are out of proportion to the risks.
  • Being unable to control your negative thoughts or feelings, even if you are aware that they are out of proportion to the true danger.
  • Avoiding parties, celebrations and other situations where you could encounter balloons.
  • Feeling out of control.
  • Anticipatory anxiety in the lead-up to encountering your triggers.
  • Difficulties concentrating or functioning normally in triggering situations.
  • Experiencing frequent or distressing nightmares about balloons.
  • Feeling defenceless or vulnerable when faced with a trigger.
  • Having a sense of impending doom or feeling like you are going to die.

Symptoms of Globophobia in Children:

Globophobia more commonly occurs in children compared to adults. Although the symptoms of this phobia can be similar in both children and adults, in some cases, the symptoms can differ, particularly in younger children.

This could be because younger children may be less able to rationalise or understand their own thoughts and feelings, may be less able to explain to an adult what they are feeling and may be less constrained when experiencing fear, panic or anxiety.

Symptoms of globophobia in children can include:

  • Crying, screaming or having a tantrum.
  • Lashing out by hitting or kicking people or objects that are close to them.
  • Trying to run away or hide.
  • Clinging to a parent, guardian or another safe person.
  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Showing extreme anxiety, fear or panic.
  • Refusing to celebrate their birthday or other people’s birthdays.

What causes globophobia?

Globophobia can have many different causes and the cause of this fear is often highly individualised and specific to that person. Some people with a balloon phobia can pinpoint one clear event or situation that caused them to develop a phobia, whereas, for other people, multiple factors contributed to them developing globophobia.

It could also be that you are unable to identify exactly what caused your phobia to develop. However, identifying the root cause of your phobia can be extremely beneficial and can help you to address your initial trigger and any negative patterns of thought or negative feelings that are attached to the initial onset of your phobia.

This can make it easier to treat your phobia and for you to develop coping strategies. Being aware of the cause of your globophobia can make your phobia easier to manage.

Some of the most common causes of globophobia are:

  • A negative or traumatic experience involving balloons
    This is the most common cause of globophobia, and the traumatic experience usually happens during childhood. In many cases, the traumatic experience involves a balloon bursting unexpectedly close to you and the bang scaring you, although there can be other traumatic experiences, such as a water balloon hitting you and scaring or hurting you. A negative or traumatic experience is also known as a direct learning experience or traumatic conditioning. In many situations, the experience involved no real danger or risk. However, as long as you experienced significant fear, distress or trauma, this could have led to the development of globophobia. Following the negative experience, you may have experienced intrusive and negative thoughts or memories of the trauma and began to avoid trauma-related triggers, for example, by avoiding birthday parties or places and situations where you could encounter balloons. This can cause the fear or anxiety you felt at the time of the experience to linger or worsen.
  • Fear rumination
    Fear rumination is a common cause of phobias and usually occurs following a negative or traumatic experience involving balloons. Fear rumination is when you engage in a repetitive negative thought process and persistently and repetitively recap a traumatic, scary or negative experience involving balloons. Over time, these thoughts and memories become increasingly scary, upsetting and intrusive and can make you remember the experience as being more traumatic, painful or scary than it was in reality. Fear rumination reinforces your natural fear responses and can result in you developing a phobia.
  • A learned phobia
    A phobia can develop because of an observational learning experience, meaning you observed a fear of balloons in another person and learnt to be scared of them yourself or associate balloons with fear or danger yourself. You are more likely to learn a phobia if you are exposed to it during childhood or adolescence. For example, children who grow up with a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with globophobia are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
  • Negative depictions of balloons
    Although balloons are most commonly associated with happy events, they are occasionally portrayed negatively. For example, movies or TV shows often use one lone balloon floating away or bursting to signify a negative event or the loss of innocence. Balloons have also been used in horror movies, such as It, where a balloon was used to lure victims to their deaths. Being exposed to negative depictions of balloons, particularly during childhood or a vulnerable phase in your life, can result in your developing a phobia.
  • Experiencing significant stress
    Significant, long-term stress can result in a disproportionate fear response or an inability to manage intense situations, which can make it more likely that you will develop a phobia. A stressful and distressing event, such as a death or a sudden loss of stability in your life or being in a heightened mental state, can also trigger a phobia, as it can result in you being less able to manage your emotions and thought processes when experiencing stress. If you are exposed to a fear of balloons or have a negative experience with balloons while experiencing significant stress, this is more likely to develop into a phobia.
  • A traumatic experience not involving balloons
    In many cases of globophobia, the fear is connected to the loud bang a balloon makes when it pops. A traumatic or negative experience involving loud noises, such as an experience involving war, guns or bombs, can result in you developing globophobia as you create a negative association between the popping of balloons and the traumatic event.

How is globophobia diagnosed?

Because globophobia is not a well-known phobia, it is thought to be significantly underdiagnosed, with the number of people who currently have a diagnosis predicted to be far below the true figures. Many people with globophobia have never heard of the condition so do not seek a diagnosis. They may also not realise their symptoms are severe enough to qualify as a phobia.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing a true phobia, consider whether your symptoms include:

  • Fear, anxiety or panic that is out of proportion to the actual risks.
  • Fear that impacts your ability to function in your everyday life or in certain situations.
  • Thoughts and feelings surrounding balloons that negatively impact your quality of life, your mental health or your well-being.
  • Symptoms that occur when faced with your triggers or when thinking about balloons.
  • Fear or anxiety that results in avoidance behaviours.

If you think you could be experiencing globophobia, your first step will be to make an appointment with your GP. Although your GP is unlikely to be the one who makes a formal diagnosis, they will need to refer you to a psychologist or phobia specialist. To ensure a referral is necessary, your GP will ask some questions relating to your fear of balloons.

This could include questions related to:

  • Your symptoms, including what your symptoms are, how frequently they occur and how severe they are.
  • Your medical history, including any anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobias or other mental health conditions you have experienced.
  • Any medication or supplements you take.
  • Whether you have a family history of phobias.

A referral will then be made to a psychologist who will discuss your symptoms in more detail. For this appointment, try and remember when your symptoms began and what initially caused you to develop a fear of balloons. The psychologist will also conduct a phobia questionnaire and ask how much your phobia interferes with your everyday life and your decision-making.

Because globophobia is a type of specific phobia, your symptoms will be compared to the diagnostic criteria for specific phobias.

To receive a diagnosis of globophobia, your symptoms will need to correspond to the seven key criteria listed below:

1. The fear must be persistent, excessive and unreasonable. It can occur either when balloons are present or when they are not present.

2. Exposure to balloons or another trigger leads to an immediate anxiety response in the majority of situations.

3. The fear is excessive and disproportionate to the threat, and this is recognised by the individual.

4. The individual avoids places or situations where balloons could be present. If a balloon is present, the individual will experience extreme fear, anxiety or distress.

5. The anticipation of balloons and the avoidance behaviours associated with avoiding their triggers can have a significant impact on the individual’s day-to-day life.

6. The fear has lasted for a minimum of six months.

7. The phobia is not associated with another disorder or mental health condition.

If your symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria, you will receive a diagnosis of globophobia. Depending on the severity of your phobia, treatment may be recommended.

Exposure therapy with balloons

How is globophobia treated?

There are multiple effective treatment options available for globophobia. If your symptoms occur frequently, are severe or if your phobia results in avoidance behaviours or affects your day-to-day life and well-being, treatment will likely be recommended.

However, not every person with a phobia requires treatment. If your symptoms are mild or do not impact your everyday life or well-being, or you have implemented successful coping strategies, you may not require treatment. However, you should still discuss your treatment options with your GP or psychologist before making a decision.

Because there are multiple treatment options available, your doctor will create a personalised treatment plan that is designed to effectively treat the cause and symptoms of your phobia.

When creating your treatment plan, your psychologist will consider:

  • How severe your symptoms are.
  • How frequently your symptoms occur.
  • What the root cause of your phobia is.
  • How significantly your phobia impacts your life.
  • Your overall health and well-being, including your mental health.

Some of the most effective treatment options for globophobia are:

Exposure Therapy:

This is the most common treatment option for globophobia and has proven to be effective in treating this condition. Exposure therapy, also known as systematic desensitisation, is designed to change your patterns of fear and avoidance and eliminate the negative thoughts and emotions you have associated with balloons.

Sessions involve gradual and repeated exposure to your triggers in a safe and controlled environment with the aim of you eventually being exposed to your triggers without experiencing fear and anxiety responses.

During your sessions, you will work with the psychologist to create a fear ladder of objects, situations and scenarios that are the least to the most triggering. Your exposure will begin gradually, with a situation that creates the least phobic response, for example, looking at a picture of a balloon. Once you are comfortable with this level of exposure, you will move on to the next level.

The aim is that through systematic desensitisation, you will eventually be comfortable with the most triggering situations, such as holding a balloon or blowing a balloon up.

Exposure therapy helps you to overcome your fear in four ways.

1. Emotional Processing: The sessions help you to create realistic thoughts and beliefs about your triggers.

2. Extinction: The sessions help you to unlearn any negative associations, negative patterns of thought and negative feelings associated with balloons.

3. Habituation: Because exposure is repetitive over time, this can help to decrease your reactions to your triggers.

4. Self-Efficacy: The sessions will show you that you are able to overcome your fear and reduce your anxiety, making this seem more achievable in the future and more likely that you can continue what you have learnt in the sessions independently.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of talking therapy that can be extremely effective in treating phobias and other mental health conditions. It works to change the way you think, feel and behave by deconstructing negative thought patterns surrounding balloons into smaller parts which will be focused on one at a time.

CBT sessions will focus on existing negative thought patterns and any harmful thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to your triggers as well as the root cause of your phobia.

By addressing negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours, CBT can remove or reduce your fear response and reduce your psychological and physiological responses to balloons and other triggers.

As part of your sessions, you will:

  • Discuss your triggers and symptoms.
  • Explore what caused your fear of balloons.
  • Explore your fears in more detail.
  • Learn how to recognise your negative thoughts and change the way you are thinking.
  • Learn coping strategies and calming strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, distraction techniques and coping statements.

Clinical Hypnotherapy:

There are multiple types of clinical hypnotherapy available for treating globophobia and the sessions usually involve a combination of guided relaxation techniques and focused attention to help you reduce your stress, fear and anxiety responses.

During the sessions, you will be put into a deeply relaxed state while you discuss your phobia and your triggers. You will identify and discuss the root cause of your fear of balloons and any thoughts, memories and feelings that are contributing to your phobia.

Hypnotherapy sessions aim to repattern your negative thoughts, memories and feelings and change your perception of balloons. You will also learn calming strategies, such as deep breathing and relaxation techniques, to help you reduce your symptoms in the future.


Medication is not a common treatment choice for phobias and will likely only be used if you are also experiencing anxiety, depression or another mental health difficulty alongside your phobia.

In this case, some of the medications you may be offered include:

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About the author

Nicole Murphy

Nicole Murphy

Nicole graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Psychology in 2013. She works as a writer and editor and tries to combine all her passions - writing, education, and psychology. Outside of work, Nicole loves to travel, go to the beach, and drink a lot of coffee! She is currently training to climb Machu Picchu in Peru.

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