Dutch people who fear blushing can now take a short course to overcome their fear, a report has said.
Femke Buwalda and Corine Dijk, two psychologists affiliated with the Royal University of Groningen, developed the course to cure people with so-called erythrophobia - an abnormal and persistent fear of blushing.
Blushing is the reddening of the skin on the face and neck. It is an unconscious physical reaction, comparable to sweating. It results either from physical circumstances - intensive physical strain or emotional circumstances such as shyness.<b1>
It has been scientifically proven that people who fear they will blush automatically blush more often. In order to avoid that, those people usually tend to avoid certain situations.
This evasive behaviour only strengthens their erythrophobia and, subsequently their social isolation. In addition, people who fear blushing are less able to cope with the phenomenon when they unexpectedly find themselves in a situation where they will blush.
During the course, six to eight participants learn to deal with their fear. The 14-hour course is the shortest existing therapy to cure erythrophobia successfully.