Hypnotherapy for phobias
Hypnotherapy for phobias deals with someone who may have an excessive or unreasonable fear of an object, place or situation. Simple phobias are fears of specific things such as insects, infections, flying. A social phobia is a marked fear of social or performance situations.
Phobias are extremely common.
Sometimes they start in childhood for no apparent reason; sometimes they emerge after a traumatic event, and sometimes they develop from an attempt to make sense of an unexpected and intense anxiety or even panic attacks (e.g. “I feel fearful, therefore I must be afraid of something”).
When the phobic person actually encounters or even anticipates being in the presence of the feared object or situation, s/he experiences immediate anxiety. The physical symptoms of anxiety may include a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, chest or abdominal discomfort, trembling, etc. and the emotional component involves an intense fear – of losing control, embarrassing oneself, or passing out. When somebody comes in for hypnotherapy for phobias we deal with these physical conditions as well as the psychological ones too.
Commonly people try to escape, and then to avoid the feared situation wherever possible. This may be fairly easy if the feared object is rarely encountered (e.g. fear of snakes) and avoidance will not, therefore, restrict the person’s life very much. At other times (e.g. agoraphobia, social phobia) avoiding the feared situation limits their life severely. Escape and avoidance also make the feared object/situation more frightening. When we treat people with hypnotherapy for phobias we challenge this need for escape
With some phobias, the person may have specific thoughts which attribute some threat to the feared situation. This is particularly true for social phobia where there is often a fear of being negatively evaluated by others, and for agoraphobia when there may be a fear of collapsing and dying with no one around to help, or of having a panic attack and making a fool of oneself in front of other people.
With some phobias, there may be accompanying frightening thoughts (this plane might crash; I’m trapped; I must get out). However, with other phobias, it is more difficult to identify any specific thoughts which could be associated with the anxiety (e.g. it is unlikely that a spider phobic is afraid of making a fool of themselves in front of the spider). With these phobias, the cause seems to be explained more as a conditioned (learned) anxiety response which has become associated with the feared object.
How does Hypnosis help with phobias?
As we discussed earlier phobias are often trauma related. This is where hypnosis can work to very great effect. Initially, I will find the part of your brain that gains a ‘satisfaction link’ from your fear and redirect that link to a more beneficial purpose.