Phobias can be classified as a type of anxiety disorder, specifically defined by a persisting fear of an object or situation. They can cause significant and persistent distress in individuals that can interfere with their day to day lives. Roughly 6-8% of the North American population is affected by a specific phobia. Whether it’s an irrational fear of insects, flying, heights, or closed spaces, phobias can be a difficult challenge to manage in your everyday life. There are many ways in which you can choose to treat your phobias, but hypnotherapy has been shown to be particularly effective for management and in some cases completely overcoming them permanently.
Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis are often an overlooked as a treatment modality. People tend to have reservations because they fear that they will lose control and might say something they would otherwise not say or share. Hypnosis is actually a very positive and enjoyable process and the client is in control the entire time. You are simply in a more relaxed state and are able to access past subconscious memories or beliefs that might be holding you back. It’s a very powerful way to make positive lasting changes in your life. Hypnotherapy can help you overcome many phobias you may hold deep within you. It is an efficient, drug free option that can manage or permanently resolve your inner phobia conflicts. This article aims to educate you about different types of phobias and how hypnotherapy can be a very effective intervention.
Phobias, How Do They Affect Our Lives
Phobias can be generally classified into three specific groups: Specific Phobias, Social Phobia, and Agoraphobia. Specific phobias pertain to a fear or anxiety surrounding an object or specific social situation. Spiders, Insects, Needles, Public Speaking, Flying etc. and so on. When you are faced with the trigger it can lead to increased anxiety and sometimes escalate into a full blown panic attack.
Social Phobia is also known as social anxiety disorder where you have fears surrounding other people constantly judging you. This can be particularly debilitating as it exceeds normal “shyness” that most people experience. It interferes with dating, job interviews and relationships, where the person affected cannot face the situation and will avoid it at all costs.
Agoraphobia is a fear of leaving “home” or a small familiar “safe” area known to the individual. Fear of large open spaces, possible contamination “germs”, or social embarrassment hold these people back from their best life. If they are challenged to move out of their comfort zone they can suffer from panic attacks and severe anxiety. This is particularly challenging as they have trouble maintaining relationships with other people and holds them back from attaining specific types of employment.
The good news is that help is available. Various types of therapy and medication are available to help people along on their journey to resolution. When you are ready and willing to face your phobias, hypnotherapy can also be a very effective treatment for many individuals.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help You Heal Your Phobias
Hypnotherapy is an effective way of uncovering the underlying root causes of specific phobias. It can help “reframe” past traumatic events in your life to help you overcome your phobias. It can also be used in conjunction with Systematic Desensitization. While in hypnosis, your therapist will slowly expose you to your fear and steadily help you rationalize and desensitize your subconscious to your specific fear. All depending on what your specific needs are, a tailored approach will be used to attain the best results for you.
A very interesting example of how effective hypnotherapy can be with healing phobias was recently published in 2016. A case study of a young 13 year old girl who had an extreme fear of swallowing and choking was preventing her from eating properly. As a result, she was suffering from significant weight loss. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, after 12 hypnotherapy sessions spread out over a 5 month period, she was able to regularly consume food without any fear of choking. As added proof, after her last session, she was able to share a pizza with her therapist! They followed her progress for 3 years after the treatment and she was able to maintain the results that she had achieved within this time frame. A truly fascinating and endearing story.
If you would like to learn more or have any questions feel free to reach out to the author. Click on the name below and send an email.
Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, CHt - a research scientist & practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.