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Phobias are all too often misunderstood, even ridiculed or dismissed as something minor that the person who is experiencing this should simply be able to get over and deal with. Sufferers can find themselves teased or taunted. The good news is that Halcyon we can help with our bespoke hypnotherapy sessions for phobias and fears.
A genuine phobia can be part of a wider anxiety disorder, which can be very debilitating for the sufferer.
There are several different types of phobia and sometimes people may only suffer from one and it could be something so rare, that they seldom have to encounter the object of their fear. But for others, their lives may be literally ruined by having a phobia and then all the secondary types of phobias that it triggers off.
There are many different phobias. Some of the most common are emetophobia (a fear of being sick or vomit) aerophobia (fear of flying) Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) Ophidiophobia ( fear of snakes) Agoraphobia (social phobia/ fear of open spaces / crowds) These are just a few of the more common ones, but with out doing too much research I would bet there is a phobia for just about anything.
As Human beings, we have evolved to react in certain situations in order to preserve ourselves. For instance, under attack we have the options of FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE and await further information. In many cases this response can be extremely strong and early man had every reason to react so quickly and instinctively to possible harmful situations. For example learning to avoid fire or dangerous animals. The modern world has changed more quickly than we have been able to keep up with. Evolution takes hundreds of thousands of years therefore our basic physiology has changed relatively little. A Phobia occurs when a harmless stimulus is interpreted by the subconscious as a threat and the response is one of absolute fear, dread and horror. When faced with this trigger, a person who suffers a phobia will subconsciously believe that their very lives are in danger. The feelings are very powerful and ultimately uncontrollable. It is this very severity which indicates a possible phobia.
SYMPTOMS OF A PHOBIA
INCREASED HEART RATE/ PALPITATIONS
This is not an exhaustive list and the symptoms of a phobia may range from fear – i.e. sweating, trembling and an increased heart rate, up to a full blown panic attack, which can be incredibly distressing for the sufferer. Then, also, there is the secondary fear of having a panic attack again, which can lead to a vicious circle.
Our Hypnotherapist Sharon explains how Hypnotherapy can help deal with phobias.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PHOBIA
Overall phobias can be divided into two, the specific or more simple phobia and then complex phobias.
Here are the main differences between each group;
Simple phobias are usually a phobia of one specific thing or situation. So in this category you would have arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, or indeed any other type of animal phobia.
In addition to this, other simple phobias may be classified as being either situational (i.e. a fear of flying or a fear of the dentist) or be referred to as ‘environmental’ – a fear of heights, germs and dirt, or deep water and so on.
The fourth category of simple phobia would encompass bodily phobias. These are people who have a phobia of, for example, blood and cannot bring themselves to have injections. These are not uncommon phobias but can still present a huge hurdle in the patient’s everyday life, if left untreated.
Lastly there are also sexual phobias, which may present themselves as being a fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (S.T.D.) or a specific concern about performance.
Complex phobias are, as the name would suggest, somewhat more complicated than a specific phobia of one thing or an individual object.
A complex phobia could be something like agoraphobia or claustrophobia, or a social phobia.
Widely thought to be the fear of open spaces, in reality this could mean a lot more to a sufferer of agoraphobia. Situations that people with agoraphobia may struggle with include things like taking public transport or eating out. Supermarkets and shopping malls are other common flashpoints. The phobia itself may be built around a fear of being unable to escape or of having either a panic attack or other such anxious episode, whilst they remain there.
This may result in the person either only going out to a very few places, close to their home or having to travel with a trusted companion to go anywhere. Consequently this condition can be very debilitating for not only the sufferer, but also place a strain on their partner and loved ones. In extreme cases the sufferer may be unable to leave the house altogether.
A lot of people who have a social phobia may be simply classed as ‘shy’, but the reality of a social phobia is a lot more far reaching than this.
Similar to the person with agoraphobia in many ways, this will impact on the person’s ability to go out and do everyday activities such as shopping or travelling on a bus or train. But someone with a social phobia may also have a problem with answering the phone or meeting strangers, regardless of where that meeting is situated.
HOW HYPNOTHERAPY CAN HELP PHOBIAS?
Many of our clients wish they had come to us first and often say that we are their ‘last hope’. Imagine all the time that could have been saved if they had tried us first!
The therapist will begin by relaxing the patient and get them to focus deeply without any outside distraction. It may be possible to pinpoint the cause of the phobia. When the sensitising incident causing fear has been addressed, then desensitisation can begin. This would be employed by utilising techniques such as visualisation, to enable them to remain calm when confronted with a trigger.
In some cases, it may be that only one session of Hypnosis for phobias in sheffield at Halcyon is needed in order to see an improvement in the sufferer’s condition, but for others, follow up sessions will be required. Hypnotherapy is regarded today as a vital tool in the treatment of phobias and one that can offer a lifelong and natural solution to some very deeply seated issues.
Alongside C.B.T., hypnotherapy can be used to help give the sufferer their life back, so they can do whatever it was they could not before – whether that is simply going to the dentist, or getting on a plane to go on holiday, or sit an exam.
If you suffer from a phobia, hypnotherapy may well be able to help you – you have nothing to lose but fear itself!