All About Ichthyophobia, the Fear of Fish, and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling

Ichthyophobia banner - fisherman holding a large fish

What is Ichthyophobia?

Ichthyophobia is the Fear of Fish and, like all other fears and phobias, can cause significant anxiety and stress if you suffer from it.

It is a relatively rare phobia because most people do not encounter fish on a regular basis.

There may be a number of reasons why you developed Ichthyophobia, for example:

  • Negative experiences associated with Fish in the past.
  • “Inheriting” the fear of Fish from a parent who suffered from it.

Although phobias are often described as ‘disorders’, there is no valid scientific evidence that Ichthyophobia is the result of any kind of biological fault or chemical imbalance as proposed in the biomedical models of mental illness.

On the contrary, Ichthyophobia is much more likely to be the result of your own, subjective evaluation (what you think your experiences mean) of what happened to you and is therefore better described as a psychosocial symptom.

Common symptoms of Ichthyophobia

Ichthyophobia Symptoms & Behaviours

All phobias, including Ichthyophobia, create feelings of anxiety because phobic objects or situations are always perceived as a threat.

Consequently, the symptoms of Ichthyophobia are both specific and generic and may include:

  • Avoiding Fish.
  • Staying away from rivers and lakes.
  • An elevated heart rate.
  • A sense of dread about what might happen.
  • Worrying that you might pass out.
  • Feeling dizzy or disoriented.
  • Having heart palpitations.
  • Having a dry or sticky mouth.
  • Hot sweats.
  • Feeling Stressed.
  • Difficulty breathing easily.
  • Feelings of panic.

Moreover, you may have all, some or even different symptoms to these listed here and this is due to the subjective nature of Ichthyophobia.

Furthermore, you should also be aware that many of these somatic symptoms (symptoms felt in the body) listed above WILL subside over time and rarely last for more than 20 to 30 minutes.

Scientist examining the causes of Ichthyophobia Banner

What Causes Ichthyophobia?

it is likely that your Ichthyophobia is the result of either traumatic experiences or adverse situations that you experienced at some point in your life.

For example, fish, like many small animals, can move rather quickly and their sudden movement may have led to you being startled whilst gazing at them in a pond or aquarium (known as the “startle reflex”).

What’s more, because the Fear of Fish has never been linked to any biological factors, the most likely explanation for your Ichthyophobia is the way that you understood and made sense of your earlier experiences.

Is your phobia making you anxious or are you creating the anxiety?

It might be hard to accept, but it’s almost certain that the anxiety you experience when you encounter your phobic object or situation is being unwittingly created by YOU and NOT the thing you fear.

Find out more about the subjective vs objective nature of phobias here.

Ichthyophobia sufferer in therapy session

Counselling and Therapy for Ichthyophobia

We can offer you a number of different types of therapy and counselling for your Ichthyophobia the Fear of Fish.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had your phobia.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your phobia is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for Ichthyophobia on the following links:

Although all forms of psychotherapy use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Furthermore, research also suggests that the therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.

Free Initial Consultations for Ichthyophobia Banner

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming Ichthyophobia or recovering from related mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular phobia and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.


Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome Ichthyophobia but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your fear of fish using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for ichthyophobia problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.