Barman conquers button phobia


A SCOTS barman has claimed he was cured of his crippling phobia of buttons on daytime TV.

Alex Torrance, 25, from Whitburn in West Lothian suffered from koumpounophobia, a fear of the fastening devices.

He had to cover his mouth whenever he saw a button, and had to avoid shirts altogether.

But after speaking to therapists an encounter with a pearly king and queen on the ITV show This Morning meant he conquered the phobia.

Alex has had to steer clear of buttoned shirts


Alex, who lives with fiancée Pamela Banks and their daughter Faye, said buttons ruined his dream of being an accountant.He said: “I have a phobia of shirt buttons and I just couldn’t wear shirts.“I saw them and I’d have to wipe my mouth and look away. When my fiancée was shopping she’d deliberately buy clothes without them.

“If there were dresses or things she wanted to get she just wouldn’t buy them.

“It was the same with my daughter, we made sure she didn’t have them on.

Alex said he had suffered from the phobia since he was five, but no one understood his problem.

He said: “Nobody ever hears about it so they were always taken aback when I told them.

“They asked me if I was being serious.

“People laugh, it’s understandable, I’d laugh. But I went through school with his so I’ve heard it all before.”



He added: “I’d love to be an accountant but you have to wear a shirt.

“I’ve always done bar work which suited me.”

Alex met personal development coaches Nik and Eva Speakman on the show.

They said his condition was difficult to deal with as it also included OCD and habitually covering his mouth whenever he saw buttons.

He said: “I was nervous of going on the show. I went down and didn’t see how they were going to fix it. I never thought they would do it, they are just geniuses.

“They asked me lots of questions. They asked me for an experience I had with buttons then took me to a bad place and then a good place before I took a deep breath.

“Then they just asked me more questions.”

Alex demonstrated his success on the show by meeting a pearly king and queen and rummaging through a tub of buttons.

He said: “I dress my daughter all the time and now I’ll put her in a wee cardigan which has buttons on it, so they are always there.

“The pub have always been really good with me. A while ago the owners said they were going to get new uniforms and I explained the situation to them and they changed their plans for me.

“So that’s why I don’t want to just leave. I want to stay in a while and maybe to college as well.

“I did up my shirt this morning and Nik said this would happen, but still felt weird about it.

“It’s been a habit for 20 years and it does still feel weird, but I can do it now.”