Phobia defined as:
A persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation stimulating an overwhelming and compelling desire to avoid it.
Do not confuse a phobia with an intense dislike for example I personally can’t stand sprouts. But I would not run away from a restaurant serving them for dinner.
However, someone with Koumpounophobia (a fear of buttons) will make life-impacting changes to their daily lives in order to avoid looking at, touching, or having to fasten a button on their clothes, someone, without that phobia may read this and wonder why. Anyone with a phobia will quietly nod their head, and say yes I understand.
First, we are not born with a phobia, we only have two primal fears
Fear of falling.
Fear of loud noises.
These are embedded within our DNA, they are the most basic of survival mechanisms, everything else we learn, dad was scared of heights, so was grandad, so am I.
I got chased and bitten by a dog as a child the former is inherited, the later is acquired by experience.
The good news is that hypnotherapy can resolve phobias, and help you to live anxiety-free
Let me answer some of the more common questions people ask me about hypnotherapy and phobias.
• I’m not sure if it’s a fear or a phobia – how do I tell?
• Is it normal to feel like this?
• I know it’s irrational, so why can’t I stop it?
• I don’t know why it’s started – will that stop the hypnotherapy from working?
Not sure if it’s a fear or a phobia?
Fear is a natural response to certain situations, it’s very valuable. It’s part of our “fight, flight, or freeze” response, and it’s what tells us this is something to avoid or overcome take care, it’s dangerous.
Phobias, they are a learned response to an event or object that aren’t threatening by themselves. In that sense, phobias appear to be irrational and trigger much greater and exaggerated fear responses.
A much more useful question might be “How is this affecting my life?”. Is your anxiety, whether it’s a fear or a phobia, preventing you from getting on with other things?
What effect is it having on relationships, work, your quality of life that’s a much better test of whether to do something about it?
Is it normal to feel like this?
I make it a rule not to use the word normal in such circumstances, who am I to say what is normal for you, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, but you can change the way you respond to it.
I know it’s irrational, so why can’t I stop it?
So many people beat themselves up because they can’t get to grips with it. That’s just another by-product of how our brains work. All of our sensory inputs sight sound smell touch taste go via the limbic system, which attaches an emotional response then fires it off to our brains.
These emotions are already present when we start to think rationally about situations. So just bear in mind that all phobias are learned, they are emotional reactions we can see that they need to be resolved, you are just looking at them through an emotional response.
I don’t know why it’s started does that prevent hypnotherapy working?
It isn’t necessary for you to know why or when a phobia was triggered or started to get worse. There are techniques that don’t need you to look back or revisit events, instead, they focus on the present and the future.
What can you expect during a therapy session?
Generally, I employ three techniques for dealing with phobias, this is not definitive, as some tailoring is always needed.
This takes you back in time from the comfort of your imagination to the point where your phobia began. This allows you to re-experience events safely.
If you can’t remember a specific event then we have choices. We take you back to the first time you can remember the feeling that phobia created, or just ask your subconscious to search for and reveal what it believes is triggering event.
Exposure involves teaching you to achieve a strong sense of a positive self at will. This is based on a memory, or a fantasy, of a situation where you felt whatever you want to feel instead of having a phobic response. This might be you visualising a mirror and see yourself as calm, strong, relaxed, confident, or whatever emotional state is stronger than the Phobic response. You learn a simple technique to invoke this state using an anchor usually a word or gesture.
Once you are confident that you can attain this state at will we start to expose to the phobia through incremental mental rehearsal.
Using the ‘anchor’ you learn to dissolve any apprehension and monitor how you feel with positive emotions in place.
Once this is comfortably established you move forward of your own volition to confirm the new responses, learning new ways of dealing with old and dysfunctional memories
The rewind is popular because it doesn’t require traditional hypnosis, and it often has very rapid results. In simple terms it requires you to imagine being sat in the projection room of a cinema, looking at yourself simultaneously sat in the front row, while on the screen is an image from their trigger event.
The film starts in reverse and then moved back and forth at different speeds, and in different forms, such as cartoons, black and white, from a distance, overhead and other variations. Once comfortable you move to the front row, where it’s repeated.
The beauty of this method is it can offer the client many degrees of separation before the confrontation of the event.