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Hypnotherapy and Phobias

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Clinical Hypnotherapy

Clinical Hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness. It is in this altered or trance state that the hypnotherapist “speaks” to your unconscious mind and makes the positive suggestions to change your behaviour for the better.  The patient is fully in control and a hypnotherapist cannot make anyone do something that they are not willing to do. Over several sessions, the hypnotherapist will work with the unconscious mind to assist the patient with their phobias, weight-loss, cessation of smoking or problems sleeping.

What is an irrational fear or phobia?

A phobia is an irrational fear, literally a fear without good reason, or a fear of something that may not happen. People with phobias often experience unwanted responses to animals, objects, insects, actions or places.

People who suffer from a phobia often know their response is irrational, which makes it harder to accept. Phobias are far more common than many people realise. It is estimated that more than 11% of the population have some kind of irrational fear.

Generally people manage their phobia on a day-to-day basis, only seeking help from a hypnotherapist when it prevents them doing something they want to do, or when they know a situation will force them to face it. People are also aware of the possibility of unconsciously passing on their phobias to their children, who learn from their behaviour.

The most common phobias seen by hypnotherapists are:

How do people get phobias?

An irrational fear of something is a learned behaviour, sometimes from a parent or a respected friend or relative. It is part of the body’s natural defence system: often phobias are exaggerated fears of evolutionary memories; imprints on our brains that help protect us through caution, making us innately awareness of something that could harm us, such as heights.

For example, we know there are poisonous spiders in the world that can hurt us and even kill us, so we have an awareness of that on a primal level. However, a house spider in the UK is completely harmless. A person with a phobia is unable to make this differentiation. As a small child we learn about fears from our parents, as they teach us (consciously and unconsciously) how to live and relate to the world around us. If you see your parent being frightened of a spider, your instinctive response and the message hardwired to your brain is that this is a threat and can harm you too. Over time, when you see a spider that message is reinforced, so it is exposure to that fear which compounds it and makes it worse.

How do you treat phobias?

Generally, the solution is to see that phobia in a different context starting from an objective perspective and then gradually building up exposure from a minimal to comfortable level.

Using hypnosis this can be done rapidly as the unconscious is able to process information more effectively without the interference of the critical mind. This is a known as desensitisation.

Often phobias can be treated in three sessions. There is, however, no guarantee as change depends on the individual’s willingness to embrace it. Most therapists will therefore give you a realistic expectation of how long treatment may last.

What will a session be like?

The level of your phobia will be evaluated and then a combination of techniques will be used to help you resolve it, gradually building up your confidence and your ability to stay calm when you are confronted with your phobia.

 

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