Do certain situations seem to automatically give you a racing heart, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling in your chest? This is a typical fear response. We usually get them when faces with a situation that makes us uncomfortable. There are all sorts of phobias, over 400 in total, and they are far more common than many people know. Below are just some of the more common ones.
Specific phobias: e.g. fear of spiders (arachnophobia) or other animals (e.g. snakes, dogs), fear of going to the dentist, fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of exams or interviews, fear of the dark, fear of blood, fear of closes spaces (claustrophobia)
Social phobias: also known as ‘social anxiety’, e.g. fear of public speaking, fear of social embarrassment, fear of criticism
Panic disorder (panic attacks, and fear of panic attacks, with or without agoraphobia)
What is a phobia? A phobia is an irrational fear provoked by a particular stimulus that causes stress and panic, or, more commonly, avoidance of the feared situation. Even though you may know, rationally, that there is nothing to fear as nothing bad is likely to happen, you somehow can’t bring yourself to feel calm. Phobias can seriously affect people’s lives, and – since they are irrational – many people will not be able to understand this ‘childish’ behaviour. But for the phobic person there is nothing childish about it: it is very real, serious and debilitating.
What are the sessions like? After teaching you how to relax very deeply, I will show you how you can relax just as deeply even when you are exposed to the fear under hypnosis. We then break your fear down into manageable, identifiable components and establish a ‘hierarchy of fear’. I then use a variety of methods based on hypnotic behavioural desensitisation and cognitive rehearsal proven to be extremely successful at helping people permanently overcome phobias. You will be safe throughout the process. Eventually you will acquire a calm, confident (‘normal’) automatic response rather than an oversensitive fear-driven response, and you will be ready to test it in real life! Sometimes this happens very quickly, and many people find considerable relief after just one session, although, depending on the complexity of the fear, it may take 3 to 6 sessions to eradicate it completely and permanently.
Many people find that after addressing and successfully overcoming one phobia, they can also cope much better with other fears they may have. It does not matter where you got your phobia from, whether it was a traumatic past experience or something you picked up through hearsay at a suggestible young age when you believed everything you were told. With cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy, we examine and deal with the ‘here and now’ – there is no need to go deep into your childhood to help you overcome your phobia.