What is a phobia?
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.
A phobia is an irrational fear, a fear without good reason. People with phobias experience unwanted responses to animals, insects, objects, actions or places.
The physical response is known as a stress response. People often describe their reaction to something as being ‘paralysed with fear’ or ‘having butterflies in my stomach’ or ‘just wanting to run away’ from whatever is triggering the response. Those with phobias often know that their response is irrational, making it harder to understand or accept. People often manage their phobia on a day-to-day basis by avoiding the trigger and they only contact a hypnotherapist when it becomes a serious problem or significantly impacts on their life. Sometimes people are prompted to take action because they don’t want to pass on their phobia to their children.
The most common phobias seen by hypnotherapists are:
- Fear of confined spaces
- Fear of dentists
- Fear of dogs
- Fear of flying
- Fear of heights
- Fear of needles
- Fear of pregnancy
- Fear of sickness
- Fear of spiders and other insects
- Fear of water
How do people get phobias?
An irrational fear of something is a learned behaviour, either from a parent or a carer or through a traumatic experience such as a turbulent flight or a dog attack. As a young child, we learn about fears from (consciously and unconsciously) how to live and relate to the world around us. If a parent is frightened of spiders the child’s instinctive response and the message hardwired in the brain may be that spiders are a threat. Over time, the message can become reinforced and repeated exposure is likely to compound the fear and make it worse.
How do you treat phobias?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy uses an adaptation of a Neurolinguistic Programming Technique to deal with specific phobias in just 3 sessions. Non-specific phobias like claustrophobia, emetophobia and agoraphobia can also be treated but this may take longer to deal with.
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