A Phobia can be described as a persistent and irrational fear or dread of, and a strong desire to avoid a specific situation, activity or object. A Phobic response to a stimulus is a learned response. We are not born into this world with Phobias. Phobias can exist in the lives of people who would otherwise be mentally and emotionally stable. For some people, the phobia can be paralysing – and for others can manifest as high levels of anxiety.
How Can Clinical Hypnosis Help?
Clinical Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy has been used extensively for the successful treatment for Phobias and anxiety disorders. A hypnotherapist may use some of the following techniques when treating phobias and anxiety disorders; hypnoanalysis, systematic desensitisation, direct suggestion, and some NLP techniques. Often, a combination of these may be necessary during a hypnosis session. This depends upon the individual needs of the sufferer and the degree in which the phobia affects them.
Sometimes a person may develop a phobia about a specific object, however the actual underlying fear relates to a different situation. An example of this could be that a person does not like their workplace. Anxiety begins to build up, and then they may attach this anxiety to trains because travelling by train is their only form of transport to work. The hypnotherapist can assist in uncovering the primary source of the fear using clinical hypnosis and appropriate therapeutic techniques. By reprogramming the subconscious mind with appropriate suggestions, the fear can diminish, and the person learns to respond to the stimulus in a more rational and calm manner. Sometimes just the realisation of what the source of the fear is, and how it came about, is enough to bring about a level of positive change for the person.
There are 3 main classifications for Phobias..
Specific Phobia – generally related to a single trigger e.g. fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of spiders.
Social Phobia – generally fears relating to our performance with or around other people. Social phobias are some of the most common phobias and generally respond well to hypnosis. A very common social phobia is the fear of public speaking.
Agoraphobia – generalised fear of leaving a familiar place or area which is ‘safe’ such as, the home. Doing so might cause an onset of panic attacks, which the person with agoraphobia avoids at any cost. This then results in a limited ability to enjoy life because avoidance of “unsafe” places becomes the norm. Sufferers do not necessarily fear open space in itself, but often they fear the situations found in these places. Examples such as meeting other people, fear of not being able to escape from a crowded space, or they perceive a lack of safety in general.
Most people that suffer with a phobia will usually recognise their fear or phobia as being unrealistic or irrational. However they still find themselves unable to face or confront it. When a person with a phobia actually encounters, or even thinks about being in the presence of the object or situation that he/she fears, he/she experiences immediate anxiety. Classic physical symptoms of a phobic response are a racing heart, trembling, excess sweating, shortness of breath, maybe some chest or abdominal discomfort, and emotionally there can be an intense fear of losing control, maybe a feeling like they are going to faint, and fear of total embarrassment.
Many people that suffer with a phobia will tend to build their whole life around it. When this limits a person’s ability to enjoy a normal quality of life, it is time to seek professional help.