Sydney Phobia Clinic

Sydney Phobia Clinic is Sydney’s premier clinic for the treatment of specific phobias. We combine the best evidence-based cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques with cutting edge virtual reality experiences. All our structured programmes are developed and delivered by psychologists.

Medicare rebates are available if you have a mental health plan from your GP.

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We can help with:

  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of spiders or insects
  • Claustrophobia
  • Dental anxiety
  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of blood/injuries (including fainting)
  • Animal and bird phobias
  • Fear of driving
  • Fear of flying
  • Fear of weather or lightning
  • Fear of vomiting
  • Social anxiety
  • Performance anxiety
  • ...need something else? Contact us!

Our structured programmes involve 5 sessions over 4-8 weeks. In these sessions you will learn about what happens in your brain when you experience distress and anxiety, acquire powerful skills to combat these effects, and practice the skills in the complete safety of virtual simulations.

Programme structure

Pre-programme assessment: Phone or Skype assessment with a clinical psychologist.

Session 1: Psychoeducation, physical management strategies

Session 2: Review, cognitive therapy strategies

Session 3: Behavioural strategies and hierarchy development

Session 4: Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

Session 5: In-session exposure and skills practice

Extra Session: If fainting is an issue (such as fainting at the sight of blood or injury), an extra session will be required to teach the applied tension technique.

Post-programme assessment: Check-in, follow up, questionnaires

By the end of the 5 sessions you will have all the skills you need to effectively manage your anxiety, and plenty of practice under your belt.




What are specific phobias?
More than a dislike or aversion to particular things, phobias are markedly excessive and irrational fears that are accompanied by specific physiological response and concern. Often, the focus of the fear will be avoided outright or else endured with dread, which serves to preserve or maintain the concerns over time. While phobias are relatively common in childhood and then outgrown, phobias may also be acquired or ‘learnt’ at any stage over the lifespan and require a particular learning approach to resolve.

How are phobias treated?
Cognitive-behaviour therapy, or CBT, is the treatment of choice for a range of mental health difficulties, from stress management, interpersonal issues, through to severe psychiatric illnesses. CBT takes a practical, goal-oriented approach to phobia treatment. The goal is to learn new coping skills, identify and change entrenched patterns of thinking or behaviour, and eventually change the feelings toward the phobic triggers.


Why Virtual Reality?
Exposure is a fundamental component of phobia treatment. However, it is often not prioritised in treatment due to barriers such as time, logistics, and in some cases avoidance due to perceived risks. Virtual reality allows us to face our fears in-house, in a safe and controlled manner. Unlike in vivo (real life) exposure therapy, virtual reality exposure treatment (VRET) is practical and easily accessible, and can be fully controlled by the individual. At Sydney Phobia Clinic, we develop our own specialised VRET programmes under the guidance of clinical psychologists and in line with cutting-edge research. For the first time, you get to be in complete control and progress at your own pace.


Sydney Phobia Clinic delivers structured programmes rather than ongoing therapy. This way you know how long treatment will take, and exactly what you are in for. All of our programmes are developed and delivered by registered psychologists.

Treatment methodology is based on Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the most effective psychological treatment for anxiety. Programmes have a strong focus on Exposure Therapy, a type of CBT that helps individuals face their fears in a gradual, systematic manner.


Corrie Ackland - Clinical Director

Corrie is the Clinical Director and the principal Clinical Psychologist. Corrie holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and Master of Psychology (Clinical) from Western Sydney University. She has experience across psychological presentations and has worked in the area of severe anxiety presentations and phobias for more than 5 years.


Jenna Segall - Psychologist

Jenna holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from Macquarie University and a Master of Psychology (Clinical) from Western Sydney University. Jenna specialises in using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and has worked individually with clients and facilitated group therapy. She has experience across psychological presentations, particularly with anxiety disorders, depression, and selective mutism.