By Susanna Sweeney, MSC, MBACP, CHT
Hypnosis for fears and phobias is a fast, efficient and safe way to help you become symptom free and regain your quality of life. Hypnotherapy combines easily with cognitive behavioral therapy (1) which you may choose if your fear or phobia is very intense and requires a multi-angle approach.
In this article learn what causes fears and phobias, how they present, how hypnotherapy can help and what scientific findings there are about the clinical use of hypnotherapy for fears and phobias.
There is nothing wrong with you if you suffer from a strong fear or phobia. Fears and phobias arise as a natural by-product of how the human brain works. They are the result of subconscious mind programming gone wrong. Let me explain.
The human mind is constructed in such a way that it is possible for us to 'imprint' our children teaching them everything they need to know for survival in the very particular environment and culture they are born into. For this purpose, all the important messages we give them before the age of seven will be deeply embedded in their subconscious minds.
If you tell your child from a young age to stay away from, say, pink potatoes, they may test the rule a few times to see what your reaction is, but ultimately, they will accept that pink potatoes are not for them.
In this process, fear based messages carry particular weight. This makes sense when you think about it in terms of survival. You want your kids to know what to stay away from, what is potentially dangerous for them.
After the age of seven access to the subconscious mind closes so that this early programming remains intact. Nature assumes that the conditions important for survival won't change after that age.
Coming back to our example, the result will be that your child, as they grow up, will forever reject pink potatoes. They may not even remember why. Strong emotions deeply rooted in their mind will prevent them from asking questions about why this should be so.
However, the world of human beings is complex and this simple mechanism does not always work to perfection.
These types of fears and phobias are typically easily resolved with hypnotherapy.
A lady in her forties presented with a fear of driving. When examined further what emerged was that her mind had misplaced the effects of many years of trauma from an abusive marriage and these now presented only when driving where she feared losing control.
When to access hypnotherapy for help is your own very individual decision. You are the best judge of your circumstances.
If you have answered 'yes' to two or three of the three questions, you are looking at a fear or phobia with a severe impact on your quality of life.
In the hypnotherapy world, we never pathologize. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling this fear. It is due to natural causes which have to do with how your brain works and the fear or phobia can be improved or removed altogether- without the use of medication.
Because hypnosis works directly with the subconscious mind where fears, phobias and irrational responses are held, it is ideally suited to helping you get rid of them. See a success story from Women's Health Mag for how hypnotherapy helped with a driving phobia.
In general, there is very little research available on the clinical applications of hypnosis. I have written about this subject before, notably in my articles on the science behind stop smoking hypnosis and weight loss through hypnosis, and this is, I am afraid, no different in relation to fears and phobias.
While in both of these studies the outcomes for the efficacy of hypnotherapy were positive, two studies are not enough to be able to generalize these findings to other fears or to larger populations. So, if you are a researcher-you might note that we need more research on hypnotherapy for fears and phobias.
Meanwhile, we will have to contend ourselves with plenty of anecdotal reports of how hypnotherapy has helped fears and phobias, not least of all from celebrities- both dead and alive in the info graphic above.
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I hope this brief article on hypnosis for fears and phobias has helped you to understand better how hypnosis can help you dismantle and discharge fears and phobias.
In the comments underneath, let our community know how you are doing.
Here is to your health and well being.
(1) Kirsch, 1996. Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments—Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(3), 517-519.
(2) Lupu & Lupu, 2017. Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy in a case of Phobia of Dogs. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies . Mar2017, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p139-146. 8p.
(3) Medd, 2001. Fear of Injections: The Value of Hypnosis in Facilitating Clinical Treatment. Contemporary Hypnosis, Vol. 18, No.2, pp.100-106
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