Strictly’s Amy Dowden Tells The One Show How She Got Therapy To Overcome Her “Biggest Fear” Of Dogs
Amy Dowden of Strictly Come Dancing revealed that she received therapy to overcome her “greatest fear” of dogs.
The Welsh dancer told the BBC’s The One Show how her fear means she avoids visiting friends and family with dogs and has incredibly never been to her brother’s house because of it.
During a segment of the show that focused on Amy facing her fears, she explained that it started at a young age when a friend was injured after being badly bitten by a dog. However, the worst happened to Amy, and her phobia was exaggerated, when she herself was bitten. Explaining how her fear affected her life, Amy said her goal was to be able to visit friends who had dogs in their backyards and feel comfortable.
“Strictly Come Dancing fans might think I’m full of confidence, but offscreen I have a phobia that prevents me from living my life the way I want to,” she said.
“I avoid going to my friends who have dogs. My brother has two dogs and I have never been to his house because I am so scared.”
The program then showed Amy with her friend Hannah who owns a Staffie called Lily. Amy explained that she hadn’t visited Hannah’s house since she had Lily because she felt “off limits”.
“My fear goes back way beyond what I remember. All I know is that my friend at school had a bit of her lip missing because she was bitten by a dog – and then when I was older I was bitten by a dog and It took my fear to a whole new level. The worst that happened to me because of a dog actually happened. If I could be with Lily and not come out of the garden, that would be the icing on the cake for me, ”said Amy.
In order to combat her fear, Amy started a class with psychotherapist Sobia Janjua who specializes in cognitive behavioral behavior. The therapist began by asking Amy to rate her anxiety towards dogs in some out of 10 situations.
“If I’m walking and there are two or three dogs off leash then it’s a 10 because I don’t know what to do or where to look or where to run,” Amy said.
Describing the sessions as “emotionally draining,” Amy said she “began to recognize that my fear was irrational” and eventually found the courage to visit Hannah and Lily in their garden.
“I smile on the outside but petrified on the inside,” she said. However, after slowly building up the courage to stroke Lily, Amy felt confident enough that Lily broke free from her lead.
“If you had told me a few weeks ago that I would be sitting here now with your dog Lily off leash, I would be like ‘not at all’. I’m still nervous but I’m really happy with what I did. today. I really feel like a weight has been lifted and I can visit my friends’ homes and gardens without this constant anxiety and worry that I’m going to meet a dog. “
Viewers of The One Show have expressed their support for Amy on social media, calling her “brilliant” for overcoming her phobia.
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One Twitter user said, “That was great Amy, well done! I have a driving phobia and I can’t get over it.”
While another congratulated her: “For all those who make fun of Amy the #TheOneShow, remember that phobias are irrational fears. Victims know this, so mocking is not helpful. My son would have literally walked on a busy road to avoid a dog on a path. “
Last week the BBC confirmed that the fan favorite Amy would be back on the show in 2021 as a professional dancer. An official launch date has yet to be confirmed, but the BBC has announced that Strictly will air in the fall. Last year’s streak began a little later on October 17 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is likely to resume its normal schedule in September weather permitting.