Curing phobias, fears and anxiety with hypnosis
By Cindy Locher
The Edge Holistic Living
May 1, 2010
Many people suffer from irrational fears or phobias. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the percentage of people with anxiety disorders has been on the rise in recent years and continues to increase.
These types of fears are situations where a person harbors irrational fears about something that, in reality, poses little or no danger. People often refer to these reactions as fears, phobias or anxiety interchangeably, and they all respond very quickly and positively to hypnotherapy protocols designed to work with fears. I will use the term phobia in this article for ease of reading purposes.
Phobias often develop during childhood and become aggravated during adulthood (although they can develop in adult years) and people often carry them around for decades, unaware of the fact that they can easily be eliminated using hypnosis. The fears are usually unreasonably exaggerated; when you have a phobia you feel as though you have no control over those feelings, in spite of knowing on a conscious level that the fear is irrational.
Phobias bring about feelings of fear and anxiety and really inconvenience the victim by limiting their activities as they build their life “around” the phobia. If left untreated, phobias can lead to further detrimental effects, incapacitating the victim in situations that trigger the fears.
Types of phobias
There are generally four types of phobias:
- Natural environment phobias – fear of heights, storms, water, darkness, etc.
- Animal phobias – fear of snakes, cockroaches, spiders, frogs, dogs, etc.
- Blood-injection-injury phobias – fear of injury, shots, injections in hospitals, fear of blood etc.
- Situational phobias – fear of flying, dentists, driving, tunnels, and bridges, and social situations such as speaking in public, dating, and so on.
Regardless of the type of phobia, they are all formed in the same way in the mind, and they all release in a similar way, using protocols designed for fears, phobias and anxiety, under the direction of an expertly trained hypnotherapist.
Phobias are actually examples of the mind “mis-wiring” two unassociated things together, creating an erroneous association between the object (dog, bee, audience, etc.) and the feeling (the fear reaction). The irrationality of the fear or phobia is easy to see, since prior to developing the phobia many people had no fear of the particular thing or situation at all, so they understand that the object that triggers their fear is not inherently dangerous or frightening. And yet, until the association in their mind is released, they do not feel that they have control over experiencing the fear reaction. This lack of control leads to a fear of feeling the fear itself, and this can become more limiting than the original fear of the trigger.
Symptoms of phobias
The most common indication of a phobia is a feeling of fear or anxiety when exposed to the situation or thing which triggers the fear. Common symptoms include accelerated heart beat, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, hot/cold flashes, numbness or tingling sensation, trembling, chocking, fear of fainting or losing control of oneself.
This is the result of the fight-or-flight reaction, which occurs when the amygdala (a tiny, almond-shaped cluster of cells in the center of your brain) is triggered. Hypnotherapy helps sufferers in two ways: first, by desensitizing you to your specific trigger (breaking the association); and second, by training you how to create the relaxation response on command. This creates a sense of control that most anxiety sufferers felt they had lost.
The use of hypnosis in relieving phobias
Hypnosis is a process to get you into a relaxed state of mind, where the brainwaves slow down and the subconscious mind can be engaged. It is a focused state of relaxation. You are in hypnosis every day, whether you realize it or not.
Simple daydreaming is a hypnotic state, and so is “highway hypnosis” where you can’t remember the last fifteen minutes or so of your drive. In hypnosis, the subconscious mind is able to receive and implement suggestions for positive change, and therefore change can be created much more quickly than through conscious methods.
Hypnotherapy helps you overcome phobias by reprogramming your mind’s reaction to the trigger. Techniques used by hypnotherapists may vary for each client, because individuals vary, and a good hypnotherapist should be comfortable with a large number of techniques and approaches. The sessions will generally include a desensitization hierarchy, and training in self-relaxation techniques.
Neuro Linguistic Programming also is useful in changing how the brain accesses and perceives the information about the trigger, and that, in turn, changes the person’s reaction to that trigger. Age regression is another process used to explore and heal the root cause of the phobia, otherwise known as the Initial Sensitizing Event. When positive thoughts are introduced, new associations can be formed, which reinforce the calm, relaxed positive feelings that you desire when in the presence of your previous trigger. The erroneous mental link between the trigger and the fear reaction is broken, replaced by a sense of being calm and in control.
You don’t have to live in fear. Hypnosis can help you regain control of your life. Go ahead and engage the power of hypnosis, which is the power of your own mind, to get out of the prison of fear. Find a hypnotist who is very experienced or specialized in the area of release of fears, phobias and anxiety.
Depending on your situation, you may need to provide a referral from your treating physician or psychiatrist, but this is simple to obtain and an easy step in the process of reclaiming your freedom from anxiety. You will be amazed at how quickly you can regain control of your life.