Christian clinical psychologists and counselors should note this addendum to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Listed below are some common Christian phobias, along with brief descriptions and, in some cases, the prognosis.
Boredboardophobia—This extreme fear of boredom at board meetings manifests most frequently at home in the minutes immediately preceding the meeting. Patients demonstrate a reluctance to leave the house, accompanied by whimpering, pouting, and stamping of the feet.
Campfirophobia—Most clinicians will be sympathetic toward this fear, which is characterized by an adverse reaction to the song “Kumbaya.” Symptoms range from mild nausea to the urge to run screaming from the room.
Codaphobia—This is seen most often in people with personality types that are resistant to change. Codaphobics are afraid of contemporary Christian music, particularly those songs with several repeats. They may exhibit pursed lips, furrowed brows, and clenched hands. (See also pitsophobia and wesleycrosbyphobia, below.)
Dropinophobia—Fear of unannounced pastoral visits. Sufferers of this condition may be seen tossing magazines under throw pillows and frantically scooping music and movies of dubious spiritual value into closets at the approach of visiting clergy.
Globophobia—Pronounced with a long “o”, globophobia is the all-consuming fear that one may be called to missions. As epitomized by the song “Please Don’t Send Me To Africa,” some who are afflicted by this condition have been known to doodle through entire missionary slideshows, and to attempt to alleviate their symptoms by means of substantial monetary contributions.
Jellophobia—Interestingly, this fear of potluck dinners has a companion condition known as jellomania (love of same). Sufferers of jellophobia have been known to attend fellowship dinners to which they contribute only a bag of potato chips, and to leave the buffet line with only a plate of those chips and a cup of red Kool-aid. Despite the name, may also be triggered by repeated exposure to meatloaf or broccoli casserole.
Mahlimushiphobia—Taken from Numbers 3:20, this phobia is defined by a fear of reading complicated passages of Scripture aloud. Of particular concern are passages such as the tribal lists in Numbers (hence the name) and the genealogies in Matthew.
Malachiphobia—Also known as tenthophobia, this is the fear of tithing one’s income. Persons with this condition are extremely gifted at rationalization. This phobia is exceptionally resistant to therapy.
Nivophobia—Fear of using any translation of the Bible other than the one most familiar to the phobic. Patients manifest a sense of unease, sometimes leading to extreme agitation when hearing familiar verses in unfamiliar versions.
Olordophobia—Patients with this malady fear being asked to pray aloud in public. Symptoms include mumbling, stammering, rapid heartbeat, and clammy hands. This is a minor phobia which often resolves with repeated exposure to the phobia-inducing stimulus.
Pewnophobia—Perhaps the most common phobia on this list, pewnophobia is the fear of having to sit in the front pew. A closely related condition is the fear of arriving at church to find someone else sitting in one’s usual seat. Symptoms include anxiety and irritability, and in extreme cases the phobic person will simply leave the premises.
Pitsophobia—Seen most often in members of liturgical denominations, this is the fear of raising one’s hands or arms in worship. Sufferers may be seen with their arms pressed closely to their sides, glancing around uneasily, clearly uncomfortable at the attitudes of worship in non-pitsophobics. Those undergoing therapy may occasionally lift one hand briefly to waist level.
Savophobia—This may be the most seriously debilitating phobia on the list. Patients with this phobia are afraid of witnessing, and they may be recognized by their uncanny similarity to non-Christians. Avoidance, rationalization, and conformity are common manifestations of savophobia.
Vibsophobia—Although the name of this condition is derived from VBS, it is an umbrella term encompassing those with the fear of working with children in any church setting. Patients cite many contributing sub-fears: runny noses and dirty diapers top the list, which also includes questions I don’t know the answer to.
Wesleycrosbyphobia—The fear of singing hymns. Ironically, this condition is often found in families where codaphobia (300.29.03) is also present, most frequently in persons of different generations. In such a family, the prospect for resolution of both phobias is extremely grim.
Christian clinicians are advised to familiarize themselves with this list so as to recognize the symptoms in their clients, always remembering the most effective and proven therapy—perfect love casts out fear.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2000) is published by the American Psychological Association. This addendum is entirely fictional.
“Please Don’t Send Me To Africa”, © Scott Wesley Brown, 1995
1 John 4:18 (NIV)
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