Home > Hypnotherapy > Fears and Phobias Therapy

Fears and Phobias can be resolved with hypnosis and hypnotherapy

What are Fears and Phobias?

There are probably very few of us that do not have any fears or phobias, even if it’s as simple as being a little fearful of spiders, or perhaps liking to sleep with a little light shining somewhere nearby as the dark is not comfortable. Many such fears are manageable and the majority of us experience them at some point in our lives with little impact.

However, some people have fears of phobias that limit their opportunities in life: the person with a fear of flying may find being in a plane uncomfortable, however someone with a more serious fear, or phobia, of flying may completely avoid going on, or perhaps even seeing, an airplane; equally, someone with a fear of open spaces may avoid large parks, fields and sports grounds, however someone with a more serious fear, or perhaps agoraphobia, may never leave their house.

Below is a list of the more common fears and phobias that we get consulted about:

  1. Spiders - Arachnophobia
  2. Flying - aviatopophobia
  3. Water - Hydrophobia
  4. Heights - Acrophobia
  5. Enclosed spaces - Claustrophobia
  6. Open spaces - Agorophobia
  7. Crowds - Demophobia
  8. Darkness - Nyctophobia
  9. Dentists - Odontophobia
  10. Speaking in public - Glossophobia
  11. Needles - Aichmophobia
  12. Death or dying - Thanatophobia
  13. Being sick – Emetophobia or Emetephobia (may also be known as phagophobia, vomitophobia, vomit phobia, sickness phobia)
  14. Being judged or put on the spot - Social Phobia, or Scopophobia.
  15. Urinating in front of others, shy bladder, paruresis, toilet anxiety or toilet phobia
  16. Defecating (either alone, or in earshot of others), stools and losing bowel control – Coprophobia, or Corporophobia

The list of fears and phobias is endless as people really can be fearful of anything in their thoughts and lives so please don’t think that we can’t help you if your fear or phobia is not listed above. What is important is that, if your fear or phobia is having a negative impact upon you, or if it is limiting your full participation in life, or if your fear or phobia is becoming more severe and is beginning to dominate your life then it is probably time to do something about it and take steps to rid yourself of your fear or phobia.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help To Over Come Fears And Phobias?

Having a phobia of any type can have make life difficult and unpleasant. A great form of therapy that can help someone overcome a phobia is hypnotherapy. To help understand how hypnotherapy can help someone overcome a phobia and what a typical hypnotherapy session would be like for someone that has a phobia.

What type of impact can a phobia have on someone's overall life?

"A phobia, by definition is an intense fear that interferes with ones' functioning and/or emotional well-being. So phobias can have very disruptive, discomforting, and debilitating effects on one's life. The level of impact depends on a number of different factors, which include such variables as, the severity of the phobia, the frequency of exposure to the stimulus, and the prevalence of the stimulus (the probability of exposure). Phobias are dystonic and debilitating for those who suffer from them. I emphasize this because I think those not having the condition often don't realize the gravity of phobias. This can make things even more difficult for the phobic person. For example sometimes well-meaning people might advise the sufferer to, ' -- stop allowing your fears to run your life. You just need to make up your mind and face them'. This leaves the sufferer feeling even worse. They are not 'allowing' their fears to run their lives. If they could ' -- make up their mind and face their fears' they, by definition, would not have a phobia."

How can hypnotherapy help someone overcome a phobia?
To best answer this question, it is essential to first differentiate between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. A hypnotherapist is a licensed psychotherapist who (depending on the client's needs and desires) utilizes hypnosis as a component within the psychotherapeutic process. A hypnotist is a person trained in the art of hypnosis and uses the technique to help people achieve certain goals.

Therefore, when dealing with mental health issues the treatment needs to involve psychotherapy/hypnotherapy. A hypnotist is not qualified to treat mental health conditions. Because phobias are mental health disorders and not a 'lack of fortitude', they need to be treated as such. In other words, in hypnotherapy, hypnosis is used to enhance and augment other psychotherapeutic interventions.

Fear is our emotional response to perceived danger or threat of such, (and phobic fear is a reaction to a psychogenic perception of life-threatening danger) so the client's instinctual fight or flight reaction can reduce the viability and efficacy of therapeutic interventions. In other words, when you perceive that your life is in immanent danger, it is difficult to focus on anything other than safety and survival. As such, psychotherapeutic techniques (for treating phobias) can be made more efficacious through creating a 'safer environment' with the adjunct of hypnosis. For example, one psychotherapeutic technique often used to treat phobias is systematic desensitization. This involves incrementally exposing the client to the phobic stimulus. Although this technique is not usually conducted in the field, even when simulated through the use of pictures or other representations of the stimulus- the process is at best a difficult one for clients to endure, and at worst can be re-traumatizing. Through hypnosis the client can experience the exposure while feeling protected. For example, if the person suffers from cynophobia (fear of dogs), utilizing hypnotic trance the first increment of exposure can be while he is invisible to the animal, or wearing a 'dog-proof' suit."

The treatment thereafter would involve a combination of hypnosis and psychotherapy the ratio of which is determined by the needs of the client. For example, a client might talk for ¾ of a session with the remaining ¼ involving hypnosis, and vice-a-versa. Again, depending on the needs of the client, individualized hypnotic techniques would be employed. For example, age regression, ego strengthening, metaphorical excursions, guided imagery, in-direct and direct suggestions, controlled dissociation, etc."

What last words would you like to leave for someone who is considering hypnotherapy to help him or her overcome their phobia?
"In order for a client to benefit from hypnotherapy, it is essential to dispel the prevailing myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis. Hypnosis is not something that is done to the client; rather, it is something done with the client. Hypnosis is in itself not the change agent, but a vehicle for change. The change agent is the client's subconscious mind. In other words, hypnosis is a means of helping the client to access and utilize the power of his or her own subconscious mind. Therefore, hypnosis is not about being controlled, but about being empowered."