No-one is born with a phobia. A phobia is a learnt behaviour. Your mind and body learn to associate the object of your phobia with feelings of anxiety, panic and disgust. Fear is a natural response caused by real danger. For example, we are all scared of coming face to face with a wild, hungry animal, and fear is a survival instinct which warns us against certain things or situations. A phobia, on the other hand, is a completely irrational fear of an object or situation that causes little or no danger.
Maybe you’ve been told something is horrific, or dangerous, or perhaps you’ve seen someone else react with panic to that thing. Once your body is used to giving you a shot of adrenalin in that situation, chances are it will do it next time, too. Suddenly you have a phobia!
Contrary to popular belief, most phobias are not caused by a single traumatic event, so don’t worry if you can’t remember why or when it started. The most important thing is not how it started but how to stop it.
Fears and phobias can range in intensity and type. Some, such as heights or enclosed spaces, can be common whilst others can be rare and, in some cases, bizarre – from the less well-known i.e. turophobia- fear of cheese to the more commonly recognised dentophobia (fear of dentists). Some people can manage phobias by avoiding the stimulus but for some, the impact can be considerable. Some people get to the point where they just cannot manage anymore and this is where hypnotherapy can be of huge benefit.
Phobias are displaced fears and because they are not rational, they can be dealt with. Phobias Hypnotherapy works by accessing the underlying cause of the phobia and eliminating the person’s conditioned response to the stimulus. When Phobias Hypnotherapy is used to treat a phobia, the initial goal of the hypnotherapist is to discover the initial event from which the phobia developed. The cause is often a traumatic event which occurred at an earlier time in the person’s life.
In order to access this memory, the individual will first need to be in an extremely relaxed state. The hypnotherapist will use techniques in order to help the person become very relaxed and focused. This state of heightened relaxation and focus is referred to as the hypnotic trance. It is during this state that the unconscious can be accessed. While in this trance state a person is very receptive to suggestion, which is what opens the door to bringing about the desired change.
Often the phobic individual does not remember this event. It may be a memory which has been repressed for many years. Repression is a protective mechanism our mind utilises by keeping memory of the trauma out of our conscious mind until we are ready and able to deal with it.