What, however, if you repeatedly showed the same response, and the same degree of response, to the sight of a small, harmless spider on the other side of the desk? Or to travelling over a bridge (an entirely safe and structurally secure bridge)? Or to nding yourself in a busy supermarket? Or to eating in public? is situation, where a person experiences a degree of anxiety or panic that is predictable (i.e. happens in recognizable circumstances), is far in excess of what is necessary (i.e. disproportionate) and this causes a signicant emotional distress to the individual is what is meant by the term phobia.