New iPhone app can help you overcome fears

A new 'self-help' iphone app that claims to assist people in overcoming a variety of fears and worries ranging from extreme shyness to obsession has been developed.

Mayo Clinic will release the app called Anxiety Coach this week for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch.

Unlike other self-help apps, Anxiety Coach helps people conquer their fears by guiding them through a series of confidence-building exercises while simultaneously tracking anxiety levels in real time and gauging their progress.

The app is designed for people with any level of anxiety.

It can help someone overcome a common fear such as public speaking, or guide people with more severe symptoms in tracking and fighting anxiety.

The strategies used in Anxiety Coach are based on cognitive behavioural therapy, the most effective psychotherapy for fears and worries.

In cognitive behavioural therapy, people increase their confidence by gradually confronting situations that they have avoided out of fear.

Anxiety Coach was developed by clinical psychologists Stephen Whiteside, director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Programme at Mayo Clinic, and Jonathan Abramowitz an adult anxiety disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina.

"The app is based on a long history of clinical research of what is helpful in conquering anxiety. It really challenges people to face their fears, as opposed to other apps that focus on relaxation strategy but don't get to the core of what is helpful in the long term," Whiteside said in a statement.

"It really challenges people to face their fears, as opposed to other apps that focus on relaxation strategy but don't get to the core of what is helpful in the long term," he said.

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