Phobias and Funerals

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, May 1, 2023

Fear can be a powerful driving force in life, but it can also play a big part in dealing with death. Everyone fears something, and fear can often stop us from experiencing new and unique things. While many people have fears surrounding death, the mourning process can amplify these feelings. Death has a lot of big unknowns, and this in itself can be a cause of fear. This article will discuss phobias that are commonly associated with grief and the process of funeral arrangements.

Thanatophobia - The Fear of Death

Thanatophobia is also known as the fear of death or dying. It is only natural for people to worry about death as they go through their life. But, it is also common for people to fear losing their loved ones. Severe cases of Thanatophobia can include anxiety and depression. It is most commonly seen in people in their twenties, although many women experience a second wave of Thanatophobia in their fifties. 
Thanatophobia treatment generally focuses on talking through the roots of fears. A therapist may help an individual come to an understanding that while fear is natural, it shouldn’t stop them from living life and experiencing new things. 

Necrophobia - The Fear of the Dead

Necrophobia, or the fear of the dead, is most commonly seen at the funeral itself. One suffering from Necrophobia may be afraid of or grossed out by the body of the deceased. Necrophobia may stem from past experiences, superstitions, or germaphobia. People with this fear may experience anxiety or a panic attack at a funeral or memorial service; especially if they do not take the time to mentally prepare themselves for the event.
Treatment for necrophobia may include discussing the source of their fears, developing relaxation techniques, and even exposure therapy. Developing relaxation techniques and strategies to cope with this phobia can be important in coping during funerals and memorial services.

Coimetrophobia - The Fear of Cemeteries

Coimetrophobia is the irrational fear of cemeteries. This may stem from other superstitions and fears, such as Phasmophobia (fear of ghosts) or Taphophobia (the fear of being buried alive). The fear of cemeteries can cause someone to not want to visit their loved one’s graves, or even attend the burial. 
Therapy for Coimetrophobia can vary, but much of it focuses on understanding where your fear comes from and working towards resolving your anxieties about cemeteries. 

Placophobia - The Fear of Tombstones

Similar to Coimetrophobia is Placophobia, the fear of tombstones. This fear usually stems from past experiences. It can be fairly easy to avoid dealing with this fear, but it may complicate the grieving process or make arrangements for loved ones. 
Treatment for Placophobia may include working on recognizing unhealthy patterns or past experiences that may have led to or increased feelings of fear. Understanding and coming to terms with complex feelings and emotions can be a good start in overcoming this fear. 

Seeking Help with Extreme Phobias and Anxiety Surrounding Death

If you experience crippling fear or anxiety involving these or other topics, consider seeking professional assistance via a counselor or therapist. While we listed the basics of how treatment for these phobias may occur, your mental health professional will be better equipped to guide you in the healing process. 

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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