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for Phobias and fears
Eliminating Irrational Fears with Hypnosis
Phobias are irrational fears of objects or situations, they usually significantly interfere with your enjoyment of normal everyday life, bringing limitations to varying degrees as the sufferer tries to avoid the trigger for their phobia. Some of the most common phobias are agoraphobia, which is a fear of open spaces and being out in public places, spider phobia and claustrophobia which involves being afraid of small or confined spaces.
Many phobias have built up gradually, where avoidance of the fear-provoking situation becomes established behaviour. Often a phobia stems from a singular event and sometimes after having a bad experience one can end up becoming phobic as a protective mechanism to avoid that unpleasant experience in the future. For example, a fear of flying can develop after experiencing particularly bad turbulence.
These behaviours and deep-rooted feelings can be adjusted and changed through the subconscious mind with the use of hypnosis as a way of connecting with, influencing and changing beliefs, attitudes and behaviours within the subconscious mind. Therefore it is through hypnosis that elimination of any irrational fear can be achieved.
Phobias and fears are reacted to by the sufferer emotionally. Hypnosis can establish desensitisation to allow a much less intense fear and can generate more courage and ability to cope with the fear and anxiety. The sufferer can be given courage, confidence and calmness to deal with the feared situation or object.
People with phobias and irrational fears often seriously restrict their lives in their efforts to avoid the phobia triggers and anxiety-producing stimuli.
Hypnosis can permanently eliminate these fears. If you also experience feelings of panic, anxiety or panic attacks, these can be helped successfully with hypnosis too
In simple cases, your fear can be eliminated after several times of listening to the hypnosis. Most phobias, if they have been a problem for a few years or involve panic responses may need more persistent attempts to completely overcome them, but it is perfectly possible for you to free yourself from your fear permanently.
What is a phobia?
A phobia is a persistent and intense fear of a particular stimulus, situation or object. The word phobia comes from the ancient Greek meaning fear or dread. It is much more intense than simply feeling afraid and may involve feelings of panic or actual panic attacks when the feared situation is encountered.
Some phobias can have a lot of different elements to them and may have become complicated over the years. Some people become multi-phobic, these issues can all be treated, and in most cases, improved.
In contrast with a rational fear, a phobia is an unreasonable exaggerated fear of an object or situation. ‘Simple phobias’ refer to the fear of specific things, for example, spider phobia (arachnophobia). A simple/monophobia which is very common is agoraphobia – the fear of being out of your home or another place where you feel safe and feeling stuck or trapped in an environment which is unfamiliar. Suffers of agoraphobia will commonly experience feelings of panic and may have actual panic attacks as a result of being in a crowd, in a supermarket, on a bus or any public or open space.
When the phobic person encounters or even anticipates being in the presence of the feared object or situation, they usually experience immediate, intense anxiety. The anxiety can bring about physical feelings such as those listed below. When faced with their fear, the phobic person may experience an intense fear of losing control and may be worried about embarrassing themselves or fainting. Some symptoms that may be experienced are:
- fast breathing (hyperventilation)
- Tight Chest
- Fast heart beat (palpitations)
- a choking sensation
- flushing feeling hot
- feeling faint
- numbness or‘pins and needles’
- tension headache
- Weak feeling in the body legs feel like ‘jelly.’
- “churning” feeling in the stomach
What originally caused the phobia?
There is always a reason for the phobia, but the sufferer may have repressed the original memory. The phobia can be cured without delving into the past, but for some, unlocking the original memory can be beneficial. It is called the ISE (initial sensitising event), and it may have been forgotten as it is not always anything dramatic.
A personal story of my phobia
I had a terrible fear of wasps as I grew up. The phobia seemed to get worse with each summer, and I would often become convinced there were wasps nests in the house or that I could hear the buzzing of wasps, if a wasp came near me I would run away before anyone else even registered that there was a wasp around at all. I wondered why it was so bad; I would feel absolute terror just at the look of them, in fact even the word ‘wasp’ was difficult to say.
I had a recurring dream of running down a street with my brother and his friends when we were children – eventually, it happened to come up in conversation, and my brother told me that we had been attacked my a swarm of hornets and were all stung many times. I got the worst of it because I was lagging behind as they were about nine years old and I was only 6. It all made sense; I felt it was in some ways beneficial to know there was a good reason.
When I created the Buzz off, Fear of bees and wasps hypnosis recording, I cleared the last of my phobia with that, I still don’t like them, but I can open a window and let them out if one gets in the house.
Looking for the origin of a phobia, (the ISE)
The origin of the phobia is something that you may or may not want to uncover. There are differing theories on whether re-visiting potentially difficult or upsetting memories has a therapeutic effect or not. Phobias very often start in childhood and may be the result of a quite innocuous event. Some phobias have developed as a result of a genuine traumatic event in the persons past, and sometimes the phobia may have developed as it is learned from a parent or relative where they have seen their response to a given stimuli and learned the same exaggerated fear, thus developing the same phobia. What may have begun in childhood as a simple fear can, over the years develop and become worse as the sufferer goes to lengths to avoid the stimulus. This avoidance tends to make the problem worse over time. Additionally, the fear is developed further still, and the phobic response deepened as the sufferer reminds themselves and other people of their fear or phobia, reinforcing it as part of their personality. Depending on the particular phobia it is easier to avoid some rather than others, agoraphobia and social phobia sufferers may find their lives severely affected when they try to avoid the negative stimuli for their panic symptoms.
If you feel it would help you to work out the origin of your phobia, then I would suggest you think about when the phobia seemed to become a problem and look for clues including asking relatives or friends that were around at the time. However, in many cases I worked on with face to face clients in the past it often was the case that it seemed to be nothing of great use, or that a relative inadvertently assisted in the phobia development, such as mum being afraid of spiders. However, often situations like that mean the son or daughter of the spider phobic mother, actually become great at helping get rid of the spiders!
The techniques used in my hypnosis recordings for phobias always include a technique that allows for gradual desensitisation, where you can imagine or visualise what you choose, re-learning a more positive and more appropriate response to the once phobic situation/object.
Many people who suffer from phobias and eventually seek help are quite surprised when they discover their phobias are often extremely common. Phobias respond to treatment where re-learning the response to the situation or object is the primary objective of the therapy. In both CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) and Hypnotherapy, this process is referred to as “Gradual Desensitisation”,
You can with the help of someone close, work through a process of gradual desensitisation yourself without using hypnosis at all, or in addition to it, if you want awesome results. This process involves establishing a hierarchy of personally tailored phobia situations and confronting the least feared situation first before moving on to the more difficult ones. The success of treatment depends very much of how determined the sufferer is to overcome their fear. The approach of Gradual Desensitisation is very gentle, and most people will make progress with this technique. However, there is some effort required, the sufferer will be required to face their fear and very gradually put themselves in situations in their everyday life (if appropriate) which would previously have been difficult for them.
Using a hypnosis recording to reduce anxiety around the phobia before going into the process of gradually facing the fear a little at a time, will result in feeling calm and relaxed in those situations where previously they would have had strong anxiety symptoms or even panic attacks. It does take time; you should be patient for results. Any phobia treatment ultimately requires that the sufferer must gradually stop avoiding the feared situation. E.g. someone with a fear of heights might try going into a department store and looking at the escalator with the knowledge that they are not going to get on it. Repeating this until there is no anxiety, the next step would be to consider getting on but it not being a must. And the next step may be getting on, but it can be several visits later. It is a good idea to get a good friend to go with you.
If your phobia is making it difficult for you to lead a normal life. If the phobia seems to be getting worse, if it stops you doing ordinary everyday things, and interferes with your enjoyment of life it is probably time to do something about it. If you experience high levels of stress or anxiety on a regular basis as a result of this phobia or suffer from panic attacks because of your phobia, then it is time to seek help to improve your quality of life.
The way to get over a phobia is to expose yourself to the feared object or situation and manage the anxiety levels, decreasing them to a manageable level. It is possible to do this on your own, you do not ‘need’ therapy, but it is necessary to have a plan, to work through gradually from easy situations to hard ones through the hierarchy of ‘gradual desensitisation’ and to take it at a steady pace. There are self-help books which may be useful.
Some of the most common phobias are listed below, and we offer hypnosis CDs and MP3s for all of them. See our fears and phobias section for all of our products in this category.
- Fear of Spiders
- Fear of Heights
- Afraid of Water
- Fear of hospitals
- Cynophobia (fear of dogs)
- Ornithophobia (Fear of birds)