How to use hypnosis to overcome phobias.
A phobia is an irrational fear of something that’s unlikely to cause harm. The word itself comes from the Greek word phobos, which means fear or horror. Hydrophobia, for example, literally translates to fear of water.
When someone has a phobia, they experience intense fear of a certain object or situation. Phobias are different than regular fears because they cause significant distress, possibly interfering with life at home, work, or school.
People with phobias actively avoid the phobic object or situation, or endure it within intense fear or anxiety. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are very common. They’re estimated to affect more than 30 percent of U.S. adults at some time in their lives.
What will I learn in this blog?
• That almost all phobias can be cured
• Gradual exposure to a phobia can quickly get results
• Mental Calmness and Physical Relaxation are the key
• That hypnosis can help you get a better perspective
What causes phobias?
According to mind.org.uk, there doesn’t seem to be one particular cause of phobias. There are various factors that might contribute to developing a phobia. But there is not often a clear reason why it starts.
Examples of causes of phobias
• Past incidents or traumas. Certain situations might have a lasting effect on how you feel about them. For example, if you experienced a lot of turbulence on a plane at a young age, you might develop a phobia of flying. Or if you were injured by a dog some years ago, you might develop a phobia of dogs.
• Learned responses from early life. Your phobia may develop from factors in your childhood environment. For example you might have parents or guardians who are very worried or anxious. This may affect how you cope with anxiety in later life. You might develop the same specific phobia as a parent or older sibling. If they have a severe reaction to something they fear, this might influence you to feel the same way.
• Reactions and responses to panic or fear. You might have a strong reaction, or a panic attack, in response to a situation or object. You may find yourself feeling embarrassed by this. Especially if people around you react strongly to your response. You could develop even more intense anxiety about the idea of this happening again.
• Experiencing long-term stress. Stress can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. It can reduce your ability to cope in particular situations. This might make you feel more fearful or anxious about being in those situations again. Over a long period, this could develop into a phobia.
• Genetic factors. Research suggests that some people are more vulnerable to developing a phobia than others.
So what do I do to change all this?
Whatever it is that scares you, here are 10 ways from the NHS to help you cope with day-to-day fears and anxieties
• Take time out. It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down. Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around the block, making a cup of tea or having a bath.
• Breathe through panic. If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it. Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away. Try this breathing technique for stress
• Face your fears. Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. If you panic one day getting into a lift, for example, it’s best to get back into a lift the next day.
• Imagine the worst. Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
• Look at the evidence. It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in a lift and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.
• Don’t try to be perfect. Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy.
• Visualise a happy place. Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
• Talk about it. Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can’t talk to a partner, friend or family member, call a helpline such as Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or Samaritans on 116 123.
• Go back to basics. Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-treat anxiety, but this will only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.
• Reward yourself. Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve made that call you’ve been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.
Ok – sounds great – now tell me about how hypnosis can help me!
At The Hypnosis Clinic, we do a lot of great work with people who have phobic responses. You see, hypnosis is all about helping you to see things in their true perspective and not to get things out of proportion.
Take a fear of flying for example, you’re far safer on an airplane than you are in a car, so see things are they really are. What about a fear of spiders? Well, OK, not many people actively like spiders. They aren’t very … cuddly, but they pose you very little or no threat! (Even in Australia!), so see things in a better perspective.
We work in helping to reset your fears and put them into better proportion to reality. These are some of the key ingredients you will need to have a more balanced emotional response to whatever is scaring you:
Increase mental calmness so that you can experience things correctly
Feel more physically relaxed and at ease
Have bags of confidence in your safety and ability to cope
Be better at seeing a true perspective
We can even make a unique self hypnosis recording for you to use. It really will change the way you look at things and gradually get you used to accepting what was unacceptable before.
Of course, each person has different expectations and challenges, so each treatment is individual to you. In addition to your regular hypnosis sessions, we keep in touch in-between to make sure that you are managing to conquer your fears and feel more calm and relaxed.
CASE STUDY #1 – Arachnophobia
“Quite simply, meeting Jonathan and working with him has been life-changing for me. I suffered with arachnophobia for as long as I can remember (about 30 years) and now, as a result of our work together, I have just taken the trip I had always wanted to, to Australia and was able to relax, enjoy the visit and even go to the spider show at Sydney zoo! (I couldn’t even talk about my fear without crying when we first met!!)
I saw Jonathan for 4 sessions (I took the great value package deal) and as we got to know each other better he encouraged me to address any other aspects of my life I was not so happy with. The whole experience has given me back a great level of confidence and a sense of calm that sometimes we can all lose sight of in life.
I cannot recommend him highly enough – he is a very perceptive, sensitive and yet entertaining person to spend time with and I am sure he has the ability to put all his subjects at ease. I have no doubt that he is a very talented hypnotherapist. If you have the will to change, he has the way to help.”
CASE STUDY #2 – Fear of Flying
I am one of those many people who is burdened with the phobia of flying and live on an island of all places. When I was starting to dodge going abroad to see friends or making excuses to not go on those valuable weekends away, it was apparent to me that some kind of intervention was needed.
I knew that the ability to feel more confident was inside me but I simply did not know how to unlock that part of me nor did I have the strategies for dealing with those thoughts, particularly when they got away from me.
I found out about Jonathan’s unique perspective and service through reading his biography on the website. My initial thought was that he must be truly invested in what he is offering. It is rare to hear of such a metamorphosis in careers- a pilot turned hypnotist must have made this transition as he genuinely believed in what he could do to help. I felt that I was in safe hands before we even met. The visit itself was relaxed, despite my initial nerves. Jab greeted me and made me feel instantly at ease- that kind and polite human touch that can be sadly lacking in receptions and offices was just what I needed, as I was rather worried about the path ahead. Jab has a truly wonderful demeanour and welcomes anyone who walks into his office.
In the actual session, Jonathan guided me through the hypnosis procedure with great care, at no point did I feel worried or foolish (I admit that I was more worried about the latter!) I was given an extremely useful MP3 recording for my iPhone so I could listen to it on those days I felt anxious.
As part of the service, I accompanied Jonathan to the flight simulator. My incredible phobia (and I am one of those extreme cases) was starting to rear its ugly head as even the idea of a simulated accident made me feel worried. However my desire to learn outweighed my need to be in control of my situation. Listening to Jonathan, a pilot, explain very clearly what is happening in the simulator demystified the cockpit; the unknown became the known; the fear became intrigue…it all became suddenly so “normal”. Granted I knew that I was not actually in a plane but the mechanics, physics and human involvement which felt very real, were so…obvious…that I started to question what it was I was really so worried about. On a side note, one of my issues is a lack of control when flying and in that hour, I was in control; control of my thoughts that is as opposed to just the yoke.
I am going to fly soon and I am approaching it with a positive mindset. I use myself as a good example for anyone- if I can start to have an altered, less negative and relaxed attitude towards flying, then anyone can. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone- those with any phobia or people who wish to unlock their more confident self.
What did I learn here?
That phobias are lessons we have incorrectly learned. With the use of hypnosis, those lessons can be re-taught in a better perspective, allowing you to live a life that’s free from fear.
Generally you should expect to have 3 to 4 sessions and and have a custom-made recording to get yourself in tune for a more balanced viewpoint.
The NHS offers excellent guidance into the treatment of phobias here.
If you’d like to find out more about how hypnosis can help you, have a look at our website
We offer a free initial consultation, either by a Telehealth video link or at our clinic in Novena Medical Centre.
Or if you fancy a chat, just give us a call.