Fears and Phobias

PHOBIASYou’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight response”. A primitive defence mechanism present in all creatures that are capable of defending themselves or escaping. A phobia is when this response is triggered by a stimulus that doesn’t pose a genuine threat; a kind of software glitch in the brain. The problem is that the response is so primitive – so basic – that it’s very difficult to override it. Even when you know, consciously, that there is no real danger.

Phobias are very common, affecting the majority of the population. About 60% of people suffer from phobias at some time in their lives.

What’s your phobia?

Over 500 phobias have been identified (www.phobialist.com) and they are divided into two categories; complex phobias and specific phobias. The complex phobias are social phobia (feeling embarrassed and awkward in social situations), and agoraphobia. This literally translates as “fear of the market place”, but is usually used to describe fears of being in open spaces or crowds. Agoraphobia often becomes progressively worse until a person cannot leave their home, or even a specific room in their home.

All other phobias are classed as specific phobias. Some are quite rare, and may seem strange, such as bibliophobia – fear of books. Others, such as acrophobia (fear of heights) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders) are relatively common.

You don’t have to put up with it!

The good news is that all phobias can be cured. “Conventional” therapeutic approaches involve exposure to the feared stimulus, which is usually gradual. For example, someone with a fear of spiders would begin with looking at pictures of them, then handling a plastic toy spider, before moving on to the “real thing”. Another method, less frequently used, is intensive exposure, or “flooding“, in which the person is exposed intensively and continuously until their fear subsides. Psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe demonstrated this technique with a girl who feared travelling in cars (Amaxophobia). He locked her in a car and drove her around for several hours until her phobia was cured. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but it works if you can bring yourself to do it.

Which brings us on to hypnosis. As hypnosis works with the subconscious mind there are various ways in which it can help, Sometimes it is sufficient to completely remove the phobia. My client Kirsty (see my testimonials) was cured of a phobia of cats in just two sessions. Often a combination of hypnotherapy and gradual “systematic” exposure therapy is necessary to fully address the fear, which is still faster and more effective than exposure therapy alone.

So whatever your fear or phobia is –  – you don’t have to keep living with it, so do something about it. You can email me, or call or text me on 07855352947. Why not do it right now?

Back to home page

Coronavirus update:

 I am now offering face to face sessions at all locations whilst observing appropriate safety measures. Online sessions are also available via Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom is you would prefer.