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ACTION ON FEAR

An advice sheet for tackling phobias

What are phobias? Living with phobias

Seeking help

Coping with phobias

Conquering phobias

Real stories – survivors of fear


LIST OF PHOBIAS! D-
Demophobia- Fear of crowds.
Dendrophobia- Fear of trees.
A- Dentophobia- Fear of dentists.
Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing. Dextrophobia- Fear of objects at the right side of
Achluophobia- Fear of darkness. the body.
Acousticophobia- Fear of noise. Doraphobia- Fear of fur or skins of animals.
Acrophobia- Fear of heights. Dromophobia- Fear of crossing streets.
Aeroacrophobia- Fear of open high places.
Agateophobia- Fear of insanity.
Agliophobia- Fear of pain. E-
Agoraphobia- Fear of open spaces or of being in Elurophobia- Fear of cats.
crowded, public places like markets. Emetophobia- Fear of vomiting.
Agyrophobia- Fear of streets or crossing the street. Enetophobia- Fear of pins.
Ailurophobia- Fear of cats. Entomophobia- Fear of insects.
Alektorophobia- Fear of chickens. Eosophobia- Fear of dawn or daylight.
Alliumphobia- Fear of garlic. Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers.
Amathophobia- Fear of dust. Epistaxiophobia- Fear of nosebleeds.
Amaxophobia- Fear of riding in a car. Equinophobia- Fear of horses.
Androphobia- Fear of men.
Anthrophobia- Fear of flowers.
Apiphobia- Fear of bees. F-
Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking Felinophobia- Fear of cats.
to the roof of the mouth. Frigophobia- Fear of cold or cold things.
Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders.
Aurophobia- Fear of gold.
Autophobia- Fear of being alone or of oneself. G-
Gamophobia- Fear of marriage.
Geliophobia- Fear of laughter.
B- Geniophobia- Fear of chins.
Ballistophobia- Fear of missiles or bullets. Genuphobia- Fear of knees.
Batrachophobia- Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, Gephyrophobia- Fear of crossing bridges.
newts, salamanders, etc. Gerontophobia- Fear of old people or of growing old.
Bibliophobia- Fear of books. Glossophobia- Fear of speaking in public or of trying
Blennophobia- Fear of slime. to speak.
Brontophobia- Fear of thunder and lightning. Gymnophobia- Fear of nudity.
Bufonophobia- Fear of toads.

H-
C- Heliophobia- Fear of the sun.
Caligynephobia- Fear of beautiful women. Hellenologophobia- Fear of Greek terms or complex
Carcinophobia- Fear of cancer. scientific terminology.
Catoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors. Hematophobia- Fear of blood.
Ceraunophobia or Keraunophobia- Fear of thunder Herpetophobia- Fear of reptiles or creepy, crawly
and lightning. things.
Chaetophobia- Fear of hair. Hippophobia- Fear of horses.
Chionophobia- Fear of snow. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long
Chorophobia- Fear of dancing. words.
Chronomentrophobia- Fear of clocks. Hydrophobia- Fear of water or of rabies.
Claustrophobia- Fear of confined spaces.
Coulrophobia- Fear of clowns.
Cryophobia- Fear of extreme cold, ice or frost. I-
Crystallophobia- Fear of crystals or glass. Ichthyophobia- Fear of fish.
Cyberphobia- Fear of computers or working on a Iophobia- Fear of poison.
computer.
K- Pteronophobia- Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Kinetophobia- Fear of movement or motion. Pupaphobia - Fear of puppets.
Kleptophobia- Fear of stealing. Pyrophobia- Fear of fire.
Koinoniphobia- Fear of rooms.
Koniophobia- Fear of dust.
Kymophobia- Fear of waves. R-
Ranidaphobia- Fear of frogs.

L-
Lachanophobia- Fear of vegetables. S-
Leukophobia- Fear of the colour white. Scoleciphobia- Fear of worms.
Linonophobia- Fear of string. Scolionophobia- Fear of school.
Logizomechanophobia- Fear of computers. Selachophobia- Fear of sharks.
Logophobia- Fear of words. Somniphobia- Fear of sleep.
Lutraphobia- Fear of otters. Spheksophobia- Fear of wasps.
Suriphobia- Fear of mice.

M-
Mechanophobia- Fear of machines. T-
Melissophobia- Fear of bees. Tachophobia- Fear of speed.
Melanophobia- Fear of the colour black. Technophobia- Fear of technology.
Mycophobia- Fear or aversion to mushrooms. Thalassophobia- Fear of the sea.
Mycrophobia- Fear of small things. Thermophobia- Fear of heat.
Trichopathophobia- Fear of hair.
Triskaidekaphobia- Fear of the number 13.
N- Trypanophobia- Fear of injections.
Nebulaphobia- Fear of fog.
Necrophobia- Fear of death or dead things.
Nephophobia- Fear of clouds.
Noctiphobia- Fear of the night.
W-
Wiccaphobia: Fear of witches and witchcraft.
O-
Octophobia - Fear of the figure 8.
Ombrophobia- Fear of rain or of being rained on. X-
Ophidiophobia- Fear of snakes. Xanthophobia- Fear of the colour yellow or the word
yellow.
Xenoglossophobia- Fear of foreign languages.
P- Xenophobia- Fear of strangers or foreigners.
Panophobia- Fear of everything. Xerophobia- Fear of dryness.
Papyrophobia- Fear of paper. Xylophobia- 1) Fear of wooden objects. 2) Forests.
Pedophobia- Fear of children.
Phasmophobia- Fear of ghosts.
Philemaphobia- Fear of kissing. Z-
Photophobia- Fear of light. Zoophobia- Fear of animals.
Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.
Views About Fear!
"The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself - nameless, unreasoning, "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-
unjustified, terror which paralyzes killer. Fear is the little-death that
needed efforts to convert retreat into brings total obliteration. I will face my
advance." fear. I will permit it to pass over me
F D Roosevelt - First Inaugural and through me. And when it has gone
Address, March 4, 1933 past I will turn the inner eye to see its
path. Where the fear has gone there
"What are fears but voices airy? will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Whispering harm where harm is not. Frank Herbert, Dune (Bene Gesserit
And deluding the unwary Litany Against Fear)
Till the fatal bolt is shot!"
Wordsworth "A man who has been in danger,
When he comes out of it forgets his
"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more fears,
terrible than the rack, more potent And sometimes he forgets his
than the snake." promises."
Edgar Wallace - The Clue of the Euripides - Iphigenia in Tauris (414-12
Twisted Candle (1916) BC)

"All of us are born with a set of "What we fear comes to pass more
instinctive fears - of falling, of the speedily than what we hope."
dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters Publilius Syrus - Moral Sayings (1st C
in the dark, or speaking before a B.C.)
Rotary Club, and of the words "Some
Assembly Required."
"Solitude scares me. It makes me think
Dave Barry
about love, death, and war. I need
distraction from anxious, black
"Am I afraid of high notes? Of course
thoughts."
I am afraid. What sane man is not?"
Brigitte Bardot
Luciano Pavarotti

Courage is not the lack of fear but the


"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he
ability to face it."
is."
Lt. John B. Putnam Jr. (1921-1944)
German Proverb
Don’t like spiders or
It was an incident at work two years
snakes? There’s help. ago that finally convinced her she had
to get help.
Sheryl Uberlaker "A friend at work, we used to play
Canadian Press 28.07.05 games and tease each other. He knew I
was fearful of snakes and as a joke he
Sssssnake. put up this screen saver of just snakes.
They were coral snakes all moving
Even hearing the word once made about, and I came into the room . . . and
Louise's gut coil in fear. I screamed and ran out of the room
As far back as she can remember, and wouldn't speak to him for days on
Louise had a morbid fear of snakes, to end.
the point that as a child she wouldn't "That was too much. I thought, 'I don't
go in the backyard one entire summer want anybody to do that to me again.' I
because a harmless garter snake had was really angry and it brought to light
been seen swishing through the grass. that I really needed to do something."
"Even though my brother ended up
killing it, I still would only go out Phobias go way beyond simple fear, says
through the front door," recalls the Randi McCabe, associate director of
single mother of three in her late 30s, the Anxiety Treatment and Research
who asked that her real name not be Centre at St. Joseph's Hospital in
used. Hamilton.
Dr. McCabe, who treated Louise, says
She is not sure what triggered her more than 10 per cent of the population
terror of the belly-crawling reptiles, suffers from some kind of phobia, and
called ophidiophobia, but suspects she those involving animals or insects are
may have been spooked by a large snake among the most prevalent.
as a little girl growing up in South "Animal fears are very common in the
America, or perhaps her parents general population . . . but for most
reacted with distaste or even terror to people the fear doesn't really
the serpents. interfere with their life," said Dr.
"There were always large snakes about. McCabe, who has written a book,
There were pythons and anacondas." Overcoming Animal and Insect Phobias
But when her family moved to Southern (New Harbinger Publications), with
Ontario, her aversion to the slitherers fellow psychologist Martin Anthony.
travelled with her. A garden hose "So for a fear to be a phobia, it has to
moving in the grass, anything long and cause the person a lot of distress or
skinny that even remotely resembled a impairment in their life."
snake's undulating movement would set "It's an irrational fear," Dr. McCabe
her heart pounding and leave her said. "The person knows their fear is
sweating and gasping for breath in a way out of proportion to the actual
full-blown panic attack. stimulus, but they can't control it."
The seeds of phobia often develop look at the snakes and be more
early in life. A child might be comfortable with looking at the snakes
frightened by a large dog, for instance, in the book and touching the pictures
and develop a lifelong canine phobia, and working my way up from touching
known as cynophobia. Sometimes, the tail to the head," she recalled. "It
children become phobic about an animal was desensitizing me."
or insect because adults around them Over successive sessions, she was able
have shown fright. There is also to hold rubber snakes, and even took
evidence to suggest a genetic them home or kept them in her purse
component. Anxiety disorders and as part of continuously increasing
phobias tend to run in families. exposure - and downgrading her
discomfort.
Psychologist John Walker, director of When she was able to enter a reptile
the anxiety disorders program at store and not only look at bull-nosed
Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital, says and Burmese pythons but also touch
he works with schools to identify them, Louise knew she had conquered
children with anxiety disorders, the phobia.
including animal and insect phobias.
Treatment involves gradually exposing Her therapy culminated in a journey
the children or adults to the dreaded many people would probably find
animal or insect over time in a bid to traumatic, even without a crippling fear
desensitize them and chip away at their of the reptiles.
apprehension. She and Dr. McCabe travelled to the
"The most powerful approach for these snake pits of Manitoba, where
phobias is to practise facing what you hundreds of red-sided garters roil in a
fear and spend time with them," Dr. seething, undulating mass during mating
Walker said. season.
"It was amazing to be in there to watch
Working with Dr. McCabe, Louise these snakes move, amazing that I was
followed a step-by-step program that that close to that many snakes and not
began with just looking at rubber sweating and not wanting to run or not
snakes. She then moved to viewing crying. It was fantastic."
pictures of snakes in a children's book.
"Every day my homework was just to
PHOBIAS
Simple phobias, agoraphobia & social phobia

What are phobias?

A phobia is an excessive or unreasonable fear of an object, place or situation. Simple phobias are fears
of specific things such as insects, infections, flying. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in places where one
feels "trapped" or unable to get help, such as in crowds, on a bus, or standing in a queue. A social
phobia is a marked fear of social or performance situations.
Phobias are extremely common. Sometimes they start in childhood for no apparent reason; sometimes
they emerge after a traumatic event; and sometimes the develop from an attempt to make sense of an
unexpected and intense anxiety or panic (e.g. "I feel fearful, therefore I must be afraid of
something").
When the phobic person actually encounters, or even anticipates being in the presence of the feared
object or situation, s/he experiences immediate anxiety. The physical symptoms of anxiety may include
a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, chest or abdominal discomfort, trembling, etc. and the
emotional component involves an intense fear - of losing control, embarrassing oneself, or passing out.
Commonly people try to escape, and then to avoid the feared situation wherever possible. This may be
fairly easy if the feared object is rarely encountered (e.g. fear of snakes) and avoidance will not
therefore restrict the person's life very much. At other times (e.g. agoraphobia, social phobia)
avoiding the feared situation limits their life severely. Escape and avoidance also make the feared
object/situation more frightening.
With some phobias the person may have specific thoughts which attribute some threat to the feared
situation. This is particularly true for social phobia where there is often a fear of being negatively
evaluated by others, and for agoraphobia when there may be a fear of collapsing and dying with no one
around to help, or of having a panic attack and making a fool of oneself in front of other people.
With some phobias there may be accompanying frightening thoughts (this plane might crash; I'm
trapped; I must get out). However with other phobias it is more difficult to identify any specific
thoughts which could be associated with the anxiety (e.g. it is unlikely that a spider phobic is afraid of
making a fool of themselves in front of the spider). With these phobias the cause seems to be
explained more as a conditioned (learned) anxiety response which has become associated with the
feared object.

How to cope

There are several counselling approaches to helping a phobic person. However, it may only be necessary
to do anything about your phobia if it is severe or is interfering with your life and distressing you. The
approach described here is based on cognitive behavioural therapy.
There are two components in treating a phobia effectively: firstly, confronting the feared situation,
and secondly, dealing with any frightening thoughts that are associated with the anxiety.

Confronting the feared situation

It is important to stop avoiding the feared situation; rather it needs confronting whilst managing the
level of anxiety. Because it can be very difficult to start in the midst of the feared situation, the
usual approach is by a graded exposure. This means drawing up a hierarchy of threatening situations
and confronting the least feared situation first before moving on to the more threatening ones. For
example, somebody with a phobia of spiders might use the following hierarchy:
Reading about spiders
Looking at and then touching a photograph of a spider
Looking at/touching a plastic model of a spider
Looking at/touching a jar with a small spider in it
Picking the spider out of the jar
Picking up a large spider.

To help manage the anxiety experienced during the exposure exercises, relaxation and breathing
exercises can be used (see leaflet on relaxation). It is important to stay in the situation until the
anxiety has gone and not to "escape" when the anxiety is high (to do so would only reinforce the
anxiety). This might take up to 20-30 minutes, but the anxiety will diminish and eventually disappear if
you stay in the situation; you then start to learn that you can survive and even feel relaxed in this
situation.

Dealing with frightening thoughts

If you can identify any threatening thoughts associated with your phobia, it is very helpful to try to
write them down and "challenge" them. For example:

Frightening
Rational thoughts
thoughts

This plane will I've flown many times before and nothing has happened. This is the safest
crash way to travel statistically.

I'll make a fool I've done this before and managed to cope - there is no reason why I
of myself cannot do so this time.

I'll collapse and I have felt like this before and nothing terrible happened to me - this is
die just anxiety - it won't harm me.

If the fear is of having a panic attack, read the leaflet on "Anxiety and Panic". Anxiety is normal and it
won't harm you - the worst it can do is to feel very unpleasant. View each time you confront the
feared situation as an opportunity to learn to overcome your anxiety in this way, rather than something
to dread. When the anxiety has gone, remind yourself that you have survived, and have not gone mad,
lost control or died!
If your fears are about making a fool of yourself and being judged negatively, remind yourself of your
positive qualities, and of the times in the past you have coped with similar situations, got on well with
people, or have had positive comments from others. You may well be much more critical of your own
imagined failings than those of others; similarly, others are likely to be unaware of, or uninterested in
your failings. Anyway, it is not possible to get on with or be approved of by everyone!

When and where to seek further help

If your phobias are interfering with your ability to lead a full, normal life and you don't make any
progress in challenging them yourself
If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety or distress, and you seem to be feeling like this often
If you are avoiding situations that matter
If you suffer from overwhelming blushing/trembling/sweating in social situations or feel that you
lack social skills
The ups and downs of to encounter at work, like fear of driving,
public speaking, socialising and enclosed
phobias spaces. Unsurprisingly, fears of elevators,
heights and flying have increased since the
attacks on the Twin Towers. In fact,
They can ruin your life and
according to the National Phobics Society,
restrict your opportunities. Hugh one in four people in the UK are suffering
Wilson on hang-ups and how to from an anxiety disorder at any given time.
cope with them
"People are more likely to experience high-
anxiety states or panic attacks when their
The Guardian Monday April 4, 2005
general stress levels are higher," says
therapist Roger Elliott, managing director
Amanda is scared of lifts. It's not that she
of self-help company Uncommon Knowledge.
can't take them at all, but she doesn't like
Unfortunately, stress levels in British
to. Unfortunately, her office is on the 10th
offices have never been higher. "Phobias at
floor. "I get a bit panicky in lifts," she
their worst (that is when they are being
explains. "I start to feel dizzy and have to
triggered regularly) are crippling. Fear will
take long, deep breaths to calm myself
pretty much take over your volition as you
down. My colleagues and my boss don't
are 'hardwired' to avoid fearful situations.
know about it, so when I'm with them, or
Public speaking phobia can dominate
when I'm late or just don't have the
someone's life if there is even a possibility
energy to use the stairs, I take the lift
that they will be required to do some at
and suffer it."
work. Social phobia as well is a terrible
condition and can quickly lead to depression
Amanda considers her problem to be "silly"
as the person restricts their life
and refuses to admit it to her boss. But
experiences."
her phobia has clear implications for her
career. She keeps an eye out for
Specific phobias, like the fear of lifts or
opportunities for advancement, but won't
heights, can be a nuisance. Social phobias
consider another job above the fourth
can be devastating, especially for someone
floor. In the meantime, she has learnt to
trying to forge a successful career.
live with the fleeting moments of fear, and
According to the American Psychiatric
to combine meetings out of the office and
Association, the most common social phobia
with colleagues on other floors so that
is the fear of speaking in public. Many
several can be accomplished in one trip.
people have a generalised form of social
phobia, in which they fear and avoid
For office workers, what can seem at
interpersonal interactions. This makes it
other times like quirky idiosyncrasies can
difficult for them to go to work at all.
make the ordinary working day an eight-
hour struggle to stay in control. According
But American employees with phobias have
to experts, more and more of us are
somewhere to turn. While phobias rarely
suffering from phobias and irrational
register with British employers, in
fears, a situation that has been made
America, where it is estimated that up to 6
worse by the real or imagined terrorist
million workers suffer from phobias that
threat. Unfortunately, many of the most
they are likely to face at work, sufferers
common phobias are ones that we are likely
are given some protection under the employees worry about being labelled and
Americans With Disabilities Act. In treated differently. They may worry it will
theory, people with severe phobias can hold back their careers. This creates a
expect employers to make reasonable vicious circle, because if people don't talk
accommodations to their condition, and in about it, companies don't get used to the
practice, many more companies are taking idea of dealing with it."
employee phobias seriously since the US
terrorist attacks. Similarly, many sufferers never seek
treatment for their fears, preferring
What those accommodations amount to is instead to simply avoid situations where
still left to individual companies, but can they may occur. For workers wanting to
include letting workers take the train climb the corporate ladder, however, public
rather than fly, work from home or avoid speaking, meeting new people and even
the tree-climbing exercise on team- flying can be unavoidable. Severe phobias
building outward bound days. In the UK, may require professional help, and there's
severe phobias - those that affect day-to- plenty out there. But milder anxiety
day life and last for longer than a year - disorders often respond well to self-help
also come under disability legislation, and treatments. The mental health charity
industrial tribunals can force companies to Mind suggests that self-exposure therapy
make reasonable accommodation for phobic (confronting your fears in small steps),
employees. The problem, says Sue Pratt, a relaxation techniques and visualisation can
spokeswoman for the Disability Rights all be helpful. More information can be
Commission, is that few phobic employees found on their website.
in the UK feel comfortable admitting they
have a problem. In addition, says Sue Pratt, modern
technology can forge a compromise
"Part of it is because they fear they will between companies and their phobic
not be taken seriously," she says, "but a lot employees. "Email working, video
of it comes down to how comfortable conferencing and working from home are
employees feel talking to their line all becoming well-established," she says.
managers about such problems. If you talk "For a lot of common phobias, new
to mental health charities, they will say technology can provide an answer."
that with any mental health issue,
Overcoming Anxiety and Fear of Flying, Death, Failure and
Other Fears, Anxieties and Phobias

Author of “The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success,


Peace and Emotional Well Being” shares the secret of anxiety
management.

Sedona, Arizona (PRWEB) August 17, 2005

Do you have a fear of flying, death, or failure? Are you afraid of the
dark, heights, or public speaking? Does commitment phobia make you so
anxious that that it impacts your inner peace, joy and love?

Hale Dwoskin, the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Sedona
Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional
Well Being,” shares the secret of anxiety management.

Dwoskin says, “One of the topics we explore in The Sedona Method is


that anything that we are afraid of happening, we actually have a
subconscious desire for or expectation of happening.” Based on this
premise, you may find the following exploration helpful for releasing your
reactions to what is going on in the world, and for releasing your fears in
general.

Make yourself comfortable and focus inwardly. Begin by bringing to mind


something about which you feel afraid or anxious—you may want to start
with something small—in order to see exactly what it is that you fear is
going to happen. Give yourself a moment to notice whether there is a
strong feeling of fear at the moment, or a very light hint of fear. It
doesn’t matter which it is: simply observe and welcome it.

Now, ask yourself: Could you let go of wanting this to happen? Or could
you let go of expecting this to happen?

The question may have made you laugh. Try asking the question again, and
notice what else you discover. In fact, you may already be able to discern
a difference. So, focus on that same thing you’re afraid of, or on
something else, and then go through a series of questions for releasing
fear in this simple way.
What is it that you’re afraid will happen? What is it you do not want to
have happen? Now, could you let go of wanting that to happen? Or could
you let go of expecting this to happen?

Once you’ve gotten over the shock of the fact that you somehow want a
negative thing to happen, it’s often very easy to let go of the fear in this
way because, consciously, it’s not truly what you want.

If you get stuck on any particular fear and are having a hard time letting
it go, simply welcome the feeling as best you can and then let go of
wanting to change it. Then go back to experimenting with this shortcut.

Again, focus on something that you fear. It could be the same thing or it
could be something else. Notice exactly what it is that you’re afraid will
happen. If you’re afraid of heights, for instance, underneath it there
might really be a fear of falling.

Could you let go of wanting that to happen? Or could you let go of


expecting this to happen?

Focus again on that same fear, or on something else that you do not want
to have happen, on something that you worry about, or on something that
makes you nervous. Maybe you have a fear of public speaking. This could
include the fear of failure, or of seeming like a fool in front of a roomful
of people.

Whatever underlying fear you feel: Could you let go of wanting that to
happen? Or could you let go of expecting this to happen?

Check how you feel inside. Wasn’t it easy to let go in that way? This
process will help you clear out the hidden recesses of your subconscious
mind. After you release something that you’ve subconsciously wanted to
happen, you’ll see a tremendous difference in your life in many areas,
including how you feel. Have fun experimenting with this shortcut on your
own.

Add this little trick to your toolbox of Sedona Method applications and
enjoy the results. It’s great for those occasions when fearful thoughts
arise in your consciousness, but you don’t have enough time to do an in-
depth process. Whenever you become aware of yourself thinking about an
unwanted outcome, simply let go of wanting it to happen by asking
yourself the question: Could you let go of wanting or expecting that to
happen?

As you use this Method, you will find over time that the very situations
and experiences that you used to find the most exhausting or disturbing
will become less and less so, until you may even forget that you used to
have those kinds of experiences.

Hale Dwoskin is the CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training


Associates, an organization headquartered in Sedona, Arizona. He is an
international speaker and featured faculty member at Esalen and the
Omega Institute. For over a quarter of a century, he has regularly been
teaching the Sedona Method to individuals and at corporations
throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, and leading
facilitator trainings and advanced retreats since the early 1990's. In
addition to being the author of “The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting
Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well Being,” Dwoskin is also the
co-author of the five-book series “Happiness Is Free and It's Easier than
You Think.”

Sedona Training Associates currently offers seminars throughout the


US, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Eastern and Western Europe, and
Japan. It also publishes audio programs that are distributed worldwide.