Hypnotherapy Fears & PhobiasSet yourself free
Does being frightened rule your life? Fears and phobias can really affect how you behave. If you have a fear or a phobia, to you it is a very real feeling. You may feel silly talking about it to others because they do not understand why you feel you cannot do certain things.
It may be a simple phobia or a more complex one. For instance you may not like baked beans. The simple solution is do not eat them! But if this phobia stops you from going shopping for fear of going down the aisle where the baked beans live, then it is more complex. You may have a fear of heights or a fear of flying or a fear that you may choke.
Whatever your fears and phobias, hypnotherapy can help you let go of your fear and rid you of your phobia, so that you can get on and enjoy your life, like everyone else. Be able to do want you want, when you want to without the fear.
Our brains are like computers. They are responsible for processing. Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response. The stimulus could be a spider, a knife at your throat, an auditorium full of people waiting for you to speak or the sudden thud of your front door against the door frame.
The brain is a profoundly complex organ. It is constantly processing information. More than 100 billion nerve cells comprise an intricate network of communications that is the starting point of everything we sense, think and do. Some of these communications lead to conscious thought and action, while others produce autonomic responses. The fear response is almost entirely autonomic: We don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its course.
When we are fearful a signal is sent to the brain to trigger a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol produces adrenaline. The extra flood of adrenaline to our body, gears our body up to the freeze, fight or flight situation.
When you are afraid you normally freeze first. Imagine you are watching television and you hear a noise from another part of your empty house. You freeze. You may turn the volume down on the television. You may even hold your breathe. You then decide….do you run out of the house? (flight), or do you investigate? (fight).
When you discover that it is your bedroom window banging that you opened earlier your brain will send another signal that all is well and you can calm down again.
When we are in this constant fight, flight or freeze situation and your body is being flooded with cortisol your heart rate is increased and your blood pressure raised. If this fear is not addressed during waking hours your brain may try and process things at night. This can result in nightmares or night terrors. You awake, feeling wretched and then start it all over again.
Sometimes, fears or phobias become buried in the subconscious and very often we do not even know why it has developed. For some, they know exactly the root cause of their fear. Being bitten by a dog when you were young can result in the irrational fear of you being fearful of any dogs when you are older.
However, some people do not know where their fear has come from. An example would be a lady who had claustrophobia, which is a fear of enclosed spaces. Under hypnosis we discovered that she was trapped in an air raid shelter when she was 4 years old. At the age of 77 she still had a fear of the dark and a feeling of being scared.
Another client had a stammer and had a wedding speech to deliver for his daughter. He could not bear the thought of standing up in front of people and talking. This stemmed from being marched by the headmaster through assembly when he was eight years old. The headmaster put him on the stage in front of 300 of his peers and told him to tell them why he had been naughty. He had a stammer from then on. Both these clients, however did not know or could not consciously remember where their fears had stemmed from until under hypnosis.
Our brains are very clever at keeping us safe. So you end up avoiding situations that we cause you distress. Remember the tins of baked beans? This phobia could have come from having nearly died choking on them or being force fed them when you were young. We can all relate to those words “You’re not leaving the table until you have finished your dinner”, but when it impacts on your life that’s when fears or phobias become a problem.
We need a certain amount of fear in our lives. Otherwise we would walk into oncoming traffic or step off a ladder without looking. The purpose of fear is survival.
Take the caveman who steps out of his cave and thinks “What a gorgeous day, I am going for a walk” then a grizzly bear comes around the corner and confronts him. The next day he will come out of his cave gingerly, looking about him, checking out the area, before thinking it’s a gorgeous day. He will still go for a walk but be aware that he needs to keep himself safe and be on the lookout for bears. All humans and animals have this built in survival skill.
The good news is hypnotherapy has a domino effect. I had one lady who came with trichotillomania which is a condition where a person feels compelled to pull their hair out. Every time she got stressed she would literally pull her hair out. Once we dealt with that, she returned and said she was now over her fear of wasps as well.
Some people even have a fear of hypnotherapy. This may be due to various television programmes or stage shows. This is called stage hypnosis and is used for performance and entertainment purposes only.
I always say to my clients you are in control. You can open your eyes should you wish and if someone were to walk in the room and shout out “fire!” you would be able to get up and walk out.
The truth is you are in a hypnotic trance during everyday life. When you drive to work and suddenly you are there and you don’t know where that last half an hour went, that is hypnosis. Or you are watching your favourite television programme and suddenly the credits at on the screen, that is hypnosis. Or you are sitting opposite someone and they are waving their hand in front of you saying “hello?” It’s perfectly natural for us to zone in and out all day long.
Your subconscious is working in the background all the time. That is why someone will ask you something and you cannot remember the name of a person or a street. Then suddenly hours later you will have a light bulb moment and the name comes to you. That is because your subconscious has been working on it in the background.
For some a fear or phobia can be a learned response. Imagine a two year old sitting on the carpet and then his mum comes in and screams because there is a spider on the floor. The two year old is immediately jolted and scared, joining in with the mother’s fear. Compare this to a fluffy kitten and the mother saying “Ahhh, look at this lovely kitten” and stroking the kitten. The mother has taught the child that spiders are scary and kittens are lovely.
So next time you are fearful of something ask yourself, is this a real fear, are you in danger, or is this fear something I have learned?
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