Is Trypophobia Real? How Can EFT Tapping Help?

EFT Tapping for Trypophobia

EFT Tapping For Trypophobia

In this article, you'll learn about what trypophobia is, the possible triggers and symptoms and how you can overcome it using EFT Tapping Therapy which has proven to be an effective alternative therapy to help individuals cope with their fears, and heal the root cause.

Is there something out there on the horizon that frightens you? You are not alone.

Perhaps we all struggle with some kind of fear - from being scared of the dark to having an irrational fear of flying, from jumping around seeing a spider to being scared to speak in front of a huge audience and many more.

While you take time to reflect on what your existence might be, if you conquered some of your greatest fears and phobias, I’m going to explain a common but little-known phobia known as trypophobia.



Do you become uncomfortable and ill to your stomach when you see a honeycomb, sea sponges, or soap bubbles? If yes, then you might be suffering from trypophobia, or the fear of holes.

Trypophobia is a pathological fear of holes, particular those that are clustered together in a pattern or closely packed holes.

When people with it stare at surfaces with small holes clustered together, it makes them feel sick. 

The head of a lotus seed pod or the body of a strawberry, for example, could make someone with this fear uncomfortable.

Although it is not recognised as a formal diagnosis, it has received a lot of attention worldwide. The name for this problem comes from the Greek word "trypo" which means "hole."

Some specialists believe it to be a type of anxiety illness.

When people with trypophobia view patterns made up of holes or spots, they have a significant physical and emotional reaction. The more circles there are in a cluster, the more uneasy people feel.

It's one of several fears of harmless objects, such as chaetophobia (fear of hair) and microphobia (fear of little objects) (1). 


For any trypophobic individual, the effect of a triggering image can vary from no response to a severe reaction. Even if the image or item does not strictly fulfil the criterion, almost any repetitive pattern can trigger an emotion.

People who suffer from trypophobia are frequently triggered by images of clusters of small, irregular holes, such as:

  • Lotus seed pod, lotus breast
  • Lotus seeds photoshopped onto the skin
  • Surinam toad giving birth
  • Tafoni (rock formation)
  • Coral
  • The frozen peas image
  • Googly eyes on the face
  • Sponges
  • Swiss cheese
  • Honeycombs
  • Strawberries
  • Soap bubbles
  • A cluster of eyes as found in insects
  • Fruit seeds
  • Holes or pebbles in concrete
  • Air holes in a slice of bread
  • Patterns in the frosting of a cake or pie
  • Skin problems like sores, scars, pores and spots
  • Spotted animals
  • Pomegranates (2)
Honeycomb- Trypophobia


When a person views an object with small clusters of holes or structures that resemble holes, symptoms are said to be triggered.

People with trypophobia respond with disgust or fear when they observe a cluster of holes. The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Goosebumps
  • Feeling repulsed
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Visual discomforts such as eyestrain, distortions, or illusions
  • Distress
  • Feeling your skin crawl
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Body shakes
  • Itching
  • Emotional distress
  • Fear and anxiety (3)

New to EFT? Learn how Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping heals, including Anxiety.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.


Trypophobia is a condition with a limited understanding. Several theories have been suggested as to what is causing this. 

Some say, because many of the world's deadliest animals, such as alligators and crocodiles, as well as some venomous snakes, spiders, pufferfish, frogs, and insects, have repetitive high-contrast bumps, has hole-like patterns, circular markings, or pits on their skin, our forefathers who were disgusted or scared by those patterns would have had a better chance of surviving in the presence of those dangers. 

According to this logic, these individuals survived to breed and pass on those traits to their descendants, who in turn passed it on to their offspring, and the aversion is still present in the gene pool today. These are some of the patterns that bother trypophobics.

Women are more likely than men to experience trypophobia. It's also a trait that runs in families. According to one study, roughly 25% of patients with trypophobia also had a close family who suffered from the disorder.

Not much is known about the risk factors linked to trypophobia. According to a 2017 study published by Trusted Source, there may be a link between trypophobia and severe depressive illness and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

People who have trypophobia are more likely to have major depressive disorders, or GAD, according to the experts. A relationship between social anxiety and trypophobia was also discovered in a 2016 study (4).

Some people who are terrified of hole patterns also suffer from other mental disorders, including:

  • Major depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorder with symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Anxiety in social situations
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder (5)


If trypophobia isn't handled, it can lead to problems such as:

  • Mood disturbances
  • Isolation from others
  • Suicide is a form of self-destruction (in severe cases) (6)

If you're dealing with acute trypophobia symptoms, you can use relaxation techniques to minimise the duration of the symptoms while they're happening and reduce their frequency and intensity in the future.

Deep breathing, for example, can calm your anxiety and fear by slowing down your heart rate and inducing a relaxation response in your body.

How To Self-Heal & Become An EFT Practitioner

Discover how EFT Tapping can help you to self-heal or to become professionally qualified as a Certified EFT Practitioner. Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.


Trypophobia is a difficult condition to diagnose because doctors don't know much about it. Your symptoms and how they affect your daily life will be discussed with a psychologist or primary care physician.

Your medical, psychiatric, and social histories will also be taken. While there is no specific treatment for trypophobia, there are some treatments for phobias in general that have varying degrees of efficacy.

Self-help techniques, therapy, and pharmaceuticals may be used as treatments. Self-help treatments can be done alone or with the assistance of a therapist or counsellor.

Individual phobias may or may not respond well to these strategies, which have varying success rates. The following are some self-help strategies:


Lifestyle modifications:

Exercise, eating healthy meals, proper sleep hygiene, and avoiding caffeine and other stimulants are all examples of lifestyle changes.


Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT):

This is a type of talking therapy in which you work with a therapist or counsellor to figure out how your thoughts influence your feelings and behaviour. Clients are encouraged to develop and attain goals by therapists.


Self-help groups:

Many people find group therapy to be extremely beneficial.


Exposure therapy:

A therapist exposes a person to their phobia in modest doses as part of this therapeutic strategy.


Relaxation techniques:

This could involve visualisation and exercise-based strategies.


Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT):

If exposure therapy fails or is too frightening to try, EFT Tapping is a mind-body technique for lowering anxiety and fear that may help reduce or eliminate trypophobia.

What if you could let go of all the fear that prevents you from doing the things you enjoy? Accepting that you are going through anything and that you require assistance is the first step.

Go ahead and seek expert assistance once you've realised you need it. After all, overcoming a trypophobia would only improve your quality of life and help you achieve your mental health goals.

Emotional Freedom Techniques can now help you overcome even the most terrifying fears. EFT Tapping gets to the base of the fear, or whatever is holding you back, and removes it.

For those new to EFT, it is also known as Tapping Therapy, which combines tapping on acupressure points while saying statements out loud to accept situations. 

If you would like to experience the power of EFT Tapping first hand, just download the EFT Tapping Booklet below.

New to EFT? Learn how Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping heals, including Anxiety.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.


EFT Tapping for Trypophobia is an alternative therapy that has shown to be effective and long-lasting.

The following is a sample EFT Tapping technique for trypophobia:


Take A Quick Temperature Check

Firstly, take a quick temperature check on yourself, how are you feeling and if you want to explore your fears and then tap on that.

Identify and explore more about what triggers your phobia, by asking the following questions:

  • What or is it that makes you afraid?
  • What triggers the phobia?
  • What has to happen for you to feel better?

Tap on the surface sensations and then move on to the next step.


Identify The Physical Sensations

Recognize the physical sensations that are linked to trypophobia. You can do so by asking questions such as:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Where in the body are you experiencing this feeling?
  • What is the colour, texture, size, and shape of the phobia?

Measure the level of the phobia by asking: "On a scale of 1 to 10, what number is the phobia at, where 10 is high and 1 is not high at all." Then, start tapping on the same.


Explore Associated Emotions Or/And Memories

Dig deep and explore the emotions and memories associated with the phobia by asking the following questions: 

  • When have you felt these feelings and emotions before?
  • What memory comes up in your mind while you think of these emotions?


Start Tapping On The Side Of Your Hand (Karate Chop) 

Tap on The Karate Chop using the setup statement, for example:
“Even though I have the phobia of honeycombs and I can feel the tingling in my stomach, it’s at a number 9, blue in colour, and it makes me feel uncomfortable, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” (Repeat 3 times)


Then Tap On The Facial And Upper Body EFT Tapping Points

Use the identified phrases to tap on the facial, upper body, and finger EFT Tapping Points:

  •  Eyebrow: I fear about …..
  • Temple: I feel it in my …..
  • Under eye: It’s at a number …..
  • Under nose: It makes me feel …..
  • Chin: It’s in my ….. at a number …..
  • Collarbone: It makes me feel …..
  • Under the arm: So …..
  • Thumb: So …..
  • Index Finger: Feared because …..
  • Middle Finger: I feel it in my …..
  • Little finger: So …..


Close The Sequence By Tapping On The Side Of Your Hand Again

Close the sequence by coming back to the EFT Karate Chop Tapping Points and repeating the setup statement once:

“Even though I have the phobia of honeycombs and I can feel the tingling in my stomach, it’s at a number 9, blue in colour, and it makes me feel uncomfortable, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”


Breathe And Relax

Take a gentle breath in and out, and have a sip of water. 


Test yourself

Test the intensity of the phobia. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What number is the phobia at now?
  • What changed after you did the tapping?
  • How does it make you feel now?

You can stop and conclude with positive tapping once the fear has subsided to a level that you're happy with. If you feel it's the same or worse than before, explore more about the memories and emotions and then tap another round.

Coffee Bubbles

I might have remained unaware of trypophobia until I encountered it in my last EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Seminar in New Delhi.

During the seminar, one of my trainees explained how she sees pictures of small holes in irregular pattern clusters, for example, images of the holes of the lotus seed heads. 

She wanted to clear this phobia and came up with a demonstration. She was shown the image of the lotus seed head at a distance on a phone.

When she saw the image she felt a tingling sensation and became emotional and teary.

She shared that, on the one hand, she had an aversion to seeing these images and on the other hand, she was also drawn to viewing these images, almost obsessing over them.

We used the EFT Tapping process to release the surface sensations like tingling and then explored the root cause by asking questions:

  • When have you felt these feelings before?
  • When have you felt these sensations before?

She uncovered memories some related to the phobia and some unrelated situations where she felt out of control, anxious and panicky.

We tapped on the past events and she started to feel calmer. Twelve minutes later she was shown the same image again and this time she did not feel as triggered by seeing the image and felt a lot calmer.

Interestingly, I realized when I was working with her that I also had similar sensations that made me feel uncomfortable. While I was working with her my aversion to these images also disappeared.


According to two psychological scientists, Geoff Cole and  Arnold Wilkins, at the University of Essex, UK, it’s theorized that trypophobia (derived from the Greek words trypa, meaning hole, and phobos, meaning fear) is an evolutionary response that might stem from an instinct to avoid clusters of small holes or bumps because they resemble the symptoms of contagious diseases (measles, chickenpox, leprosy), because they appear on dangerous things  (poisonous snakes and plants), or because something dangerous might be living in them (7).

In 2017, photoshopped images that were used to advertise the seventh season of American Horror Story triggered latent trypophobia in so many people that led to tweetstorms of protests and warnings (8).

Another recent instance was when trypophobes were warned of several potential triggers in the movie Black Panther (9).

Celebrities like Sarah Paulson and Kendall Jenner have publicly talked about their trypophobia (10).

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."


Star Wars Character

Trypophobia is a phobia that isn't formally recognised. Some researchers have discovered evidence that it does exist in some form and that it has real symptoms that can affect a person's daily life when they are subjected to triggers.

It can be difficult to overcome phobias, but there is hope. You may learn to manage your concerns and live a productive and fulfilled life with the right help. 

This hope is what will help you lead a fear-free life.


Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)

P.S. Want to discover if EFT is right for you? Book a Complimentary Discovery Call. 

How To Self-Heal & Become An EFT Practitioner

Discover how EFT Tapping can help you to self-heal or to become professionally qualified as a Certified EFT Practitioner. Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.

In summary, trypophobia can be scary and very real to someone experiencing it, but it can be a very liberating experience once it no longer controls your life. You can overcome it by practising yoga and/or meditation or even use a clinically proven method. With EFT, you can finally face and release your fear, and once and for all take back your power. Take your time and do what you feel is right for you, as and when you feel comfortable.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is purely for educational purposes and does not in any way replace the requirement for medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment. Please seek professional medical and psychological diagnosis and advice for all medical and mental health conditions. It is advised to always book any consultations with qualified professionals.

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