One of the hardest things a Paruretic has to deal with is the feeling of isolation. What’s so unique about Paruresis is that although millions of people suffer from the disorder, everyone copes alone. Of course, the fear of embarrassment, rejection and humiliation make this so, however if sufferers only knew how beneficial ‘sharing their story’ was to their recovery; lots more people would openly disclose their secret to those around them. This is where support groups come in. Although telling your partner or close friend about your condition is an incredibly powerful Paruresis treatment, they may find it hard to fully understand what you’re dealing with. But speaking with a group of guys who know exactly what you’re going through has unparalleled benefits, and should be seriously considered if you suffer from Paruresis.
Being able to sit in a room and openly talk about how your day-to-day life is affected by the disorder, gives you the means to let go of all the embarrassing incidents, all the public toilet diversion tactics, and all of the aspects that make up your ‘secret identity’.
Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to put your personal situation in perspective. Let’s say for example, you’re unable to ‘go’ at a urinal. Well, there might by a guy in your group who has trouble ‘going’ in his own home. The perspective can be valuable by minimizing the perceived degree of your condition. And, if for example, you’re the guy who has trouble ‘going’ in his own home; the very aspect of sharing this information with a group is a major accomplishment on your road to recovery and a crucial part of your Paruresis treatment.
There’s also another major benefit in attending a support group; guys to practice with. The group might try collective exercises (depending on the severity of the attendees conditions), or perhaps you’ll partner up with a ‘pee buddy’ and undertake ‘Systematic Desensitization’ tasks. If you’ve not heard the term before, ‘Systematic Desensitization’ is a Paruresis treatment than involves gradually exposing oneself to our phobia. The result is a desensitization to the fear.
In the support group, you may be asked to construct a list of public toilet scenarios ranging from slightly anxiety-provoking to very anxiety-provoking. You then pair up with someone with a similar list to yours. Finally, you can meet up once a week and attempt to overcome each step, one at a time.
Now don’t be put off if this sounds a little odd or unconventional. The bottom line is that this technique works. Why is it such an effective Paruresis treatment? Because when you walk into a public toilet with someone that not only knows about your Paruresis, but sufferers from it too, the whole dynamic of the scenario changes. You’re unconscious mind acts as a protection mechanism and it’s been trained to perceive public toilets as unsafe. However, when you’re with your buddy; you’ve got protection, you’ve got back-up, you’ve got safety. As a result, you’re able to relax and you’re perfectly capable of ‘going’.
If you’re interested in joining a support group, the Internation Paruresis Association has a list of groups from all over the world. Click here for more information: