Hypnosis for Fears and Phobias- How it can Help You

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.

hypnosis for fears and phobiasHypnosis for fears and phobias can liberate you from the impact of fears on your quality of life.

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.

Where do Fears and Phobias Come From?

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. 

How Subconscious Mind Programming Works

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.

hypnosis for fears and phobiasCelebrities who have used hypnosis for fears and phobias.

Programming Gone Wrong

However, the world of human beings is complex and this simple mechanism does not always work to perfection.

This is where subconscious mind programming can go wrong:

  • Sometimes parents accidentally and unnecessarily instil fears in children that plague them into adulthood. For example, this often happens around the fear of heights which can originate in parents discouraging children from climbing for fear of accidents.
  • Sometimes, the environment changes and with it the needs of the individual. Therefore fears that parents believed were necessary to instil in childhood so that your survival would be secured, can hold you back later in life.
  • Sometimes, the immature brain in young childhood is overwhelmed by a fearful experience which to an adult would be quite manageable. The imprint left is a pronounced fear. This can happen when there is no adult present to help the child process what happened. 

These types of fears and phobias are typically easily resolved with hypnotherapy.

  • Other times, your subconscious mind channels underlying experiences of some kind of trauma into becoming anxiety or fear, thereby burying the memories of a traumatic incident. If this is the case, some deeper work with life regression hypnosis is required before the anxiety or fear will dissolve.

Examples of Fears and Phobias From my Practice

Very often, fears and phobias have just one simple underlying cause:

  • A young toddler left alone in her crib woke up to a spider crawling over her face. This was enough to embed a deep fear of spiders.
  • A man in his forties was afraid of dogs which went back to an incident of being bitten by a dog at age four.
  • Claustrophobia in a woman in her fifties was caused originally by being left in her cot as a toddler unable to move around the room of her own accord.
  • A fear of success which resulted in self sabotaging behavior went back to the fright caused in a childhood accident.
  • A fear of flying in a man in his sixties went back to an incident of being trapped in an elevator as a young child.

Sometimes, however, the subconscious mind goes through a lot of trouble in protecting you from the effects of trauma which can present in the form of anxiety or fears and phobias:

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.

hypnosis for fears and phobiasHypnosis for fears and phobias can open up new horizons for you.

When Should You Seek Help?

When to access hypnotherapy for help is your own very individual decision. You are the best judge of your circumstances.

Take into account your answers to the following questions:

  • Does your fear or phobia stop you from engaging in everyday activities?
  • Does your fear or phobia produce an overwhelm of sensations and emotion?
  • Does your fear or phobia restrict your enjoyment of life?

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.

How can Hypnosis for Fears and Phobias Help?

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.

Hypnotherapy has a variety of techniques at its disposal which can help to dismantle and discharge fears and phobias:

  • Suggestion Hypnosis can help to implant suggestions in your subconscious mind that contradict the fear you are experiencing. This can often be enough to overcome fears or phobias.
  • Suggestion hypnosis combines well with mental rehearsal where you learn to mentally prepare for incidents that could potentially trigger your fear or phobia.
  • Some hypnotists use systematic desensitization under hypnosis to gradually get your brain used to exposure to whatever it is you may be afraid of. This involves imagining the object of your fear while in a very relaxed state. The idea is for your brain to learn to associate a relaxation response rather than a stress inducing cortisol based response with the object that triggers of your fear.
  • Regression hypnosis helps to revisit the incident that caused the fear or phobia in a safe and very contained way so that your brain can understand it made the wrong connections and can build a new structure free from fear, based on this understanding.
  • You should only ever undertake regression hypnosis with an experienced professional hypnotherapist who is able to hold you in the experience and to facilitate your process. In my articles on life regression hypnosis, and hypnosis and trauma therapy, find out what to look out for when choosing the right hypnotherapist for you.
  • In my own practice I now use mainly hypnosis for permanent and rapid change which is a fast working method that allows me to help people overcome phobias in one to two sessions.
  • Not strictly hypnosis, but also extremely effective for fears and phobias is Havening Techniques®️, also in my portfolio that I use a lot in my own work. 
  • I also use NLP tools for phobia cures.

hypnosis for fears and phobiasHypnosis for fears and phobias can help you reach your goals.

Is There any Scientific Evidence that Backs up Hypnosis for Fears and Phobias?

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.

I was only able to find two studies on the subject:

  • The first one (Lupu & Lupu, 2017) is a case study on the fear of dogs which found hypnotherapy an effective treatment. (2)
  • The second one (Medd, 2001) is a study on the fear of injections where hypnotherapy was used in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and found to be effective. (3)

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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Hypnosis for fears and phobias is a fast, efficient and safe way to help you become symptom free and regain your quality of life. In this article learn what causes fears and phobias, how they present, how hypnotherapy can help and what scientific findings exist.

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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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