Got a phobia?... Use hypnosis!
We are born with only two natural fears--- the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.
All other fears are LEARNED!
And this is good news because it means that in hypnosis a client can be led to understand where their phobia came from and therefore, rid themselves of the fear.
What is the difference between a fear and a phobia?
A phobia is an abnormal fear of an object or situation when that feared object is encountered directly or indirectly. “Indirectly” can include reading about it, seeing it on TV or even thinking about the feared object. With a fear, the person will experience discomfort. But with a phobia, the person will go out of their way to avoid the feared object.
For example, if you would handle a spider if paid the right amount of money, it is a fear. If you would not handle a spider no matter what amount of money was offered, it is a phobia.
If you will deal with getting rid of a spider despite great discomfort, it is a fear. If you will not even go into a building where you know there is a spider or where there has been a spider, it is a phobia.
Another way to look at it is that fear is a natural response to a potentially threatening situation whereas a phobia is irrational and may occur when there is no threat at all. For example, if a person sees a bear while hiking in a forest, they will feel fear, which is a normal expected response given the situation. But if they feel fear thinking about a bear, seeing a bear in a photo or at any other time when the bear threat is not present, it is a phobia.
Because the phobic trigger can be absolutely anything phobias can seem ridiculous, absurd or even funny and therefore are often misunderstood as far as their intensity for the phobic person. I have treated some of the more common phobias such as fear of public speaking, fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of the dark, fear of flying, and social phobias. However I've also treated some unusual phobias as well including phobias of slugs, belly buttons, elevators, kittens, and vomiting. I even had a client who would have a panic attack whenever she became aware that she was thinking!
For the phobic person the intensity of terror can be disabling and horrific.
Often clients become afraid of the FEAR---in other words, they will avoid situations where they suspect they will feel their fear. In extreme cases this can even cause agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) because the client's subconscious mind decides that the world is simply too dangerous as the feared object may be encountered at any time.
What happens with a phobia or panic attack?
A phobia has nothing to do with the thinking, rational part of the brain. A phobia is driven be the simple need to survive in face of a threat. Remember that the primary function of the SC mind is PROTECTION. Fears and Phobias are typically a protective response. The SC mind has determined (in it's charming, illogical way) that a certain object, place or experience is threatening to you and therefore is attempting to keep you safe by keeping you away from the potential threat.
A phobic response, or at its worst, a panic attack, is simply a survival mechanism ‘gone wrong.’ Hundreds of thousands of years ago a panic attack was a very useful thing. We led much more physically challenging and dangerous lives then. We didn't have sharp teeth or claws and so we had to be able to react very quickly to a threat. And in those days there were two simple choices. We could either run or, if desperate enough, we could fight. In this case, a panic attack is called the 'Fight or Flight' response.
Physical threats could come about very suddenly in primitive times so humans had to respond very fast to have a chance of survival.
That is why the mind of a human being can trigger a panic attack fast and unconsciously. People who suffer panic attacks often report that "they come from nowhere" and this is an essential part of the fight or flight response.
If you are in a threatening situation and you have to “think' before getting the hormonal changes associated with the flight or fight response, it may well be too late. Alternatively, you might make the wrong choice, so the subconscious part of our mind takes care of it. And of course, in a survival situation, it is better to respond as if danger is present when it's not, rather than the other way round.
What is the source of the phobia?
Some clients are well aware of where their phobias stemmed from. I had a client who knew that her fear of showering started when she watched “Psycho” as a child.
However, often a client will not remember what the original threat was as it may be repressed or perhaps even completely unrelated to the current fear. Sometimes a person might be afraid of something simply because it reminds them of something else that was once threatening to them (ex. A person develops a fear of snakes as a result of having been molested as a child. In the child’s mind, the snake is a phallic symbol). Robert Graves , the poet, had a phobia of phones because he was using one when a bomb went off near him during the war!
Fears can “morph” over time and one event can cause a variety of phobias. If for instance, a person experiences a frightening situation he may become afraid of that particular type of situation but may ALSO begin to fear elements incidental to the original event. For example, a person who experiences a frightening plane ride may develop a fear of flying but then also develop claustrophobia, fear of loud noises, fear of crowded places etc.
To become phobic, all you need is a high anxiety state paired with an object. But the object doesn’t even have to have anything to DO with the state. The mind simply sets up an association between the two as though they were related.
In hypnosis I can:
help you to safely and comfortably become aware of the source of your phobia – – I never take you back to relive anything. I simply help you to understand how past events are still affecting you. Remember! All phobias are learned. Therefore, there is a point in your past where you learn to be afraid of the phobic object. I simply help you to identify what that experience was.
by working through the above, you learn to be neutral if exposed to the phobic object