Pupaphobia: The Fear of Puppets

Pupaphobia The Fear of Puppets

Pupaphobia is an irrational fear of puppets. All phobias are basically a feeling of anxiety or stress towards a particular object, making Pupaphobia no different for all phobias.

To someone who has Pupaphobia, puppets are a nightmare to them, just beholding them cause panic in some cases, while other people see it as a ridiculous or silly object.

The word Pupaphobia originates from the Latin word “Pupillo” (puppet) and the Greek word “phobos” (fear). Pupaphobia is closely related to Automatonophobia and Ventriloquist.

They are fear of dummies, statues, animatronic creatures or anything that represents a being that has feeling or perception.

In the early days, when puppetry was very popular, this was before the TV, Radio, or the Internet, puppetry use to be one of the major forms of entertainment.

We could still see some puppetry shows in few stand up comedy, in likes of Jeff Dunhams, Pinocchio, and a host of others through psychology, we understand that the human mind or capable of creating a biological reaction that is real in any give situation.

Since people living with Pupaphobia believe that puppets represent danger, they grow fear towards them. Then they would continue to feel all the symptoms associated with it.

Honestly, this reaction is not faulty in nature. The real problem is not the anxiety of fear, but rather the thought or idea that into creating this reaction.

Causes of Pupaphobia

Like many other phobias, there is no definite cause for Pupaphobia, but there are some that might worth listing here, and some of them are either environmentally related or genetical in nature.


One of the major causes of Pupaphobia has been said to be movies. Movies like Revenge (1996), the puppet master(1989), Dead of Night(1996), Magic (1978) and Chukky (2002). This movie all portrays puppets that came to life to hunt the living.

These movies could be seen as one of the major causes of Pupaphobiain some individual.


One of Goosebumps novels “Night of the Living Dummy” was a highly influential horror book that instilled fear in people who read the book. With the right genetic, it would be easy for someone to develop Pupaphobia from reading such a book

Symptoms of Pupaphobia

A majority of those who have Pupaphobia, realize the fact that their fear is irrational, but still finds themselves experiencing the fears regardless of their knowledge of it.

In most cases, someone who is suffering from Pupaphobia may also have Achluphobia (fear of darkness) or Samhainophobia (fear of Halloween).

The symptoms of Pupaphobia could be seen among other phobias, and they include:

  • Inability to relax
  • Panic attacks
  • Being quick-tempered
  • Concentration problems
  • Palpitation
  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigues
  • Dry and sticky mouth
  • Sweating excessively
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Breathlessness
  • Prickly sensation
  • Feeling dizziness

Pupaphobia symptoms are automatic and some times uncontrollable. It can take over peoples thoughts and frequently lead them to take extreme measures to avoid puppets, or any other object likened to a being. This is what’s known as “Safty” or “Avoidance” behaviour.

Unfortunately, this most times rather than solving the problem, it reinforces it, which causes a paradoxical effect. Usually, the fear of puppets is as a result of a negative experience, which might be directly or indirectly linked to puppets or the object of fear in other phobias.

Over time, Pupaphobia patients, either gets normalized and accept their fears, or becomes worse. Various factors could cause this; the beliefs in people could help them get past their fears. At the same time, sophisticated avoidance behaviour routines could make things worse.

Treatment of Pupaphobia

Many Pupaphobia patients find psychological therapy to be quite effective in solving their case. Aside from that, there is various psychological treatment out here; these various treatments are known to cure not only Pupaphobia but countless other mental related problems.

Cognitive Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive therapy (CBT) and Changing Limit Beliefs (CLB) are programs that see symptoms of Pupaphobia as “non-helpful thinking lifestyle.”

They also see the pattern of thinking which directly affects or creates the feelings of anxiety and stress when they face the object of their fears.

These type of therapy usually focus on building sets of coping skills and mechanisms that help the individual focus on present rather than past experiences. They are mostly called incremental therapies.

The relationship between thinking (cognition) and feelings (behaviour) is the focal point of this type of therapy.

Psycho Dynamic Therapy

Psycho Dynamic therapy like Psycho-analysis, consider events and social influence that people who have Pupaphobia were exposed to at their early formative life to be a major cause of their problem.

Unlike Cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis takes a rather different approach from incremental therapy. The major goal of psychoanalysis is to help sufferers of Pupaphobia gain insight, explore, and develop some resolve.

These resolves help Pupaphobia patients determining the origin of their problems, which in turns helps them take a more logical approach to their phobia.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy is a common way of treating not only Pupaphobia but all phobias in general. This therapy treats all kind of disorder, by exposing those who have this Pupaphobia to puppets, they gradually cope with the phobia.

Exposure Therapy is an efficient way to desensitize people who are suffering from Pupaphobia.

Exposure therapy procedure is quite adequate, as people who have Pupaphobia, are gradually faced or exposed to puppets. Before they are exposed to puppets which brings them fear and dread, the specialist will prepare their minds for what is to come, and ensure that they can handle the process.

Though it’s a very successful method, still, the specialist treating the disorder are encouraged to be highly skilled in their field before attempting this method, as there might be a level of exposure that the patient need, to be able to surpass his fears.


Taking anti-anxiety pills has been known to help reduce the intensity of some forms of Pupaphobia; the same goes for some antidepressant medications.

Though considering the medicine alone by its self might not yield a long-lasting positive effect, Doctors have advised that it’s best taken with some forms of therapy.

Exercise for Pupaphobia

Exercise is known to be extremely beneficial for people who have various mental disorder, which includes Pupaphobia; cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective exercises that is known to relieve stress.

Aerobic exercises have been said to help people, and it’s more effective at releasing some of the feel-good chemicals in the brain, i.e. endorphins.

Since stress had been seen as a major course of anxiety, Doctor has advised that regular exercise would yield a good result for Pupaphobia.

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