Now fear of the dentist arises from the castration complex. Teeth serve as an excellent symbol of the penis and any thought of harm coming to them provokes castration anxiety and a desire to run from the dentist's venue in a hurry.
What lay behind this nonchalance and absolute lack of fear?
Later in the session - it was his first session with me - when I suggested that he get some blood tests done for he had not seen an internist for a long time, he declared that that is out of question. He dreads needles and has avoided going to a doctor for God knows how long because the very thought of needle makes him faint. He bitterly complained that it is just not needles but the idea of blood coming out of his arm in to the test tubes that makes him queasy and he falls to the ground when he witnesses it. He went on to declare that the medical profession should do the blood drawing while a person is lying down so he does not pass out, fall and hurt himself.
Now the phobia of needles also arises from the castration complex. So this man's extraordinary castration anxiety found an outlet in the fear of needles with medical professions but as if by reaction formation he developed a completely opposite attitude towards the dentists.
The psychology of daredevils and those who climb the highest peaks and do bungee jumping etc. appear to be operating under the influence of the same reaction formation; a defensive maneuver designed to overcome their exquisite sensitivity to and fear of danger.