Is there a phobia or fear stopping you from doing the things you would like to do?
It’s completely normal to experience fear in your life. It helps keep us safe and protects us from dangerous situations. But there is a huge difference in rational fears, such as fearing for your safety when you’re at the top of a ladder and it starts to shake or having anxiety based around irrational fears, such as the fear of garden gnomes.
Most people carry on living a relatively normal life and these fears are minor but for others these fears can be phobias. A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of object’s, animals, people, situations or an activity. It’s a form of an anxiety order.
Phobias can be very specific and limited. A person could have a fear of spiders or a phobia of snakes.
You may go through your life avoiding situations that expose you to either and due to that you can live a relatively anxiety life. But a phobia could disrupt your life in a dramatic way. For example: the fear of open spaces (agoraphobia) could cause you to change your life and possibly direct your choices in employment, home, social life and much more.
There are a wide range of situations or objects that a person could develop a phobia from:
There are three types of phobias:
Specific or simple phobias
These tend to be the most common types of phobias. For example, being around an animal, such as the dog or a spider or perhaps people, such as the dentist or a clown or even a situation, such as fear of flying or an environment, such as heights dark places deep water. These types of phobias can partly be genetic which means they could be inherited and quite often develop in childhood.
This type of phobia disrupts your life much more than simple phobias. The most common complex phobia is Agoraphobia which is thought as the fear of open spaces but it’s much more complex than that. A person affected by this would feel anxious or panic about being in a place or a situation where they can’t make a swift exit, or it could be difficult for them to leave. A person with Agoraphobia may avoid being alone, being in busy places, such as a concert or restaurant or travelling in public transport.
Social phobia or social anxiety disorder
This phobia is a fear of feeling anxious in social situations. It might be the thought of being humiliated, embarrassed or judged. You may be afraid of speaking in front of people, but it can also be more severe where it disrupts your life, and you avoid social activities at all costs.
What causes the phobia
There’s no single cause and there could be several contributing factors. This could be linked to a particular incident or trauma, such as bad turbulence on a plane.
Or it could be a learned response from a parent or siblings, which tends to develop in early childhood. You might have heard or seen your mum scream when she saw a spider and you may have consciously or unconsciously learned that this is the appropriate response whenever you see a spider.
Research has shown that genetics can also play a factor. Some people are more prone to being anxious than others. Also existing medical health conditions like depression and anxiety can also contribute to the development of a phobia.
The symptoms of a phobia
Excessive persistent feelings of fear or anxiety that are triggered by a particular object activity or situation. Your feelings can be irrational and completely out of proportion to the situation. You may even avoid situations places where you feel you could potentially encounter your phobia. This is due to the embarrassment or shame felt by having such an exaggerated fear.
Anxiety related symptoms could also occur, such as nausea, sweating, trembling, shaking, palpitations, shortness of breath. Symptoms that reflect the body’s fight or flight response to danger.
Where does hypnotherapy come in?
Our phobias work on an unconscious level. Our mind and body, no matter how much we tell ourselves it’s not life-threatening, will still react with fear. Hypnotherapy communicates with our unconscious mind and helps change the way you feel and behave towards your phobia.
The process itself involves putting you into a very relaxed, hypnotic state. The hypnotherapist will put you at ease and you’ll be in control the whole time. This could involve finding out the root cause of your phobia and remembering that event or situation, (if that is the case.)
Using different techniques, you can change the response to your phobia and help you deal with your phobia gradually, whilst being completely relaxed and calm.
Hypnotherapy uses a technique called the rewind technique and this helps people overcome their phobia or fear by stripping away their emotion from the unwanted experience by running it in reverse.
Regression to cause is another method where the client can go back to an instance and watch themselves, rather than reexperiencing the incident or the situation. It gives you the opportunity to reevaluate. The older wiser you can communicate to the younger you and build strength in that situation.
Parts therapy involves identifying the part of you that is responsible for the fear and disassociate the fearful part. Once disassociated you can watch that part on a screen and see how you’d want to behave. Desensitization to the phobia is then introduced. This would always be done gradually to help build your confidence and strength.
Using your imagination to overcome your fear is empowering and will help you put your phobia or fear into perspective. So, you can carry on with your life exactly how you want to.
If you would like help overcoming a fear or phobia or simply like to find out more, please book a consultation with Theresa using this link.
Really look forward to helping you make change.