Thrive with Michelle Winter


EmetophobiaThe Thrive Programme has been especially rewritten for emetophobia sufferers. Cure your emetophobia & Thrive, by Rob Kelly, is an action packed psychological training programme teaching you about the characteristics and symptoms of emetophobia, so that you gain understanding of how you’re (unknowingly) creating and maintaining it. By working through this brilliant research based programme, completing the actions and exercises, you are taught how to both stop and banish symptoms for good.

The book does not use exposure therapy. Even though there is research to show exposure therapy is effective, it is estimated that around 90% of emetophobes wouldn’t dream of doing exposure therapy because of their strong desire for control, (Kelly, 2013).

Think of emetophobia being like a large brick wall. From the ground up, Thrive teaches you how each component part (the bricks) of the phobia interlink maintaining its complexity. Thrive teaches you about each component part, giving you not only the skills to change but the knowledge behind why you are doing what you are doing. When you understand why you behave the way you do and how to change that, it makes sense to put the effort in to overcome your phobia.

Lego-BricksClients who come to me with emetophobia have usually been through the mental health system, have seen numerous specialists and had endless hours of uncomfortable therapy. Unfortunately main stream services rarely understand the nature and complexity of emetophobia, and a lot clients have found themselves labelled with an eating disorder or food phobia. They rarely have a positive story of their experience, hence them approaching me.  The good news is The Thrive Programme is not therapy, there’s no going over the past raking over painful issues. With Thrive you learn all about you, what makes you tick, your personality, and your styles of thinking. You learn resilience and how to manage your mindset by getting to the route of the phobia.


Emetophobia is a fear of being sick yourself and/or others also being sick. It is known by many different names: specific phobia of vomiting (SPOV), vomit phobia, sickness phobia, fear of vomiting and the list goes on. It is associated with other fears and disorders such as phagophobia (fear of gagging, swallowing or choking), a fear of pregnancy, social anxiety and obsessional disorders.

It is believed that about 8% of the population has emetophobia, although many emetophobes prefer to remain secretive about it for fear of judgement, so this figure may well be higher.  People with this fear go to great lengths to avoid encountering anything that could lead to vomiting. This can be incredibly restrictive for them, affecting every area of their life. If you’re constantly weighing up danger to the risk of exposure to vomit or vomiting yourself, that’s an incredible amount of energy required and an awful lot of anxiety.

Here’s a rundown of some of the typical symptoms of emetophobia:

Panic attacks
Waking in the night scared
Not sleeping well
Avoiding hospitals
Avoiding theme-parks
Avoiding certain foods
Avoiding public toilets
Not eating well or having issues around eating
Checking sell-by dates religiously
Not eating meat
Avoiding pubs and clubs
Not seeing friends as much
Avoiding any TV or films with vomit scenes
Not wanting to have children for fear of morning sickness,
or being unable to deal with sick children if they have them
Avoiding planes and other public transport
Avoiding staying away from home for too long
Not able to go to public places where you feel trapped, eg
middle of cinema with no access to isles
Taking anti-emetic medications to avoid being sick yourself
even when you don’t need to
Wearing anti-nausea acupressure wrist bands
Always having ginger biscuits in the house and mints in your handbag

I realise emetophobia for everyone differs slightly, but I just wanted to show you that I do get it. And not only do I get it, I know The Thrive Programme works for emetophobia. Visit our testimonials page to see some of the emetophobes we’ve shown how to change their lives.

Thrive's had amazing results

Rob Kelly, the author of Cure your emetophobia & Thrive book, recently ran a research survey for emetophobes who had completed The Thrive Programme. It was the largest ever research survey on the efficacy of treatment for emetophobia and 62 participants responded. 55 participants stated their symptoms reduced from ‘significant’ to having ‘little or no impact’ upon their lives after receiving The Thrive Programme, and five from ‘significant’ down to ‘modest’, again after the programme.

Not only has Rob had extensive experience of emetophobia in clinical practice, he has also read every piece of published research in the world. This knowledge is all apparent in the book. He has also trained about 80-100 Thrive consultants, one being me. So rest assured The Thrive Programme is a well-grounded proven solution to emetophobia.

See Rob Kelly speak below at a conference on National Emetophobia awareness day. Its 80 minutes long during which time he explains about what it is, how it develops, thinking styles and belief systems behind it, and why other approaches don’t work.


"Change the way YOU see things and the things YOU see will change"

Wayne Dyer


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Thrive with Michelle

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