Hypnotherapy for phobias
How does it work?
Phobias often develop in childhood and extend into adulthood. To begin with we would use an uncovering technique such as regression to establish the initial sensitising event. We would then alter your reaction to your phobia & change how you will react to it in the future.
What we know
about how phobias develop
A study by Watson (1920) showed that some phobias can be developed due to conditioning. However further studies carried out on monkeys appeared to conflict with Watson's findings and their results showed that phobias are often developed through learned behaviour & further studies on twins indicate that phobias can be inherited. Regardless of how your phobia developed it stems from your subconscious and 'dates back to a time when you first perceived the object, person or type of person as dangerous and undesirable' (Chrysalis, 2010). Therefore the subconscious mind began to believe that you were in danger when this object or person appeared and will also feel that you are under threat if there are any other sensory factors that identify with the initial sensitising event.
Types of phobias
There a several types of phobias that we can distinguish between
Simple phobias: These represent fears of a single stimulus. For example a fear of heights, spiders or flying.
Complex phobias: These represent a fear of many stimuli. For example a fear of flying, losing control, crashing & dying or being lost & abandoned.
Social Phobias: These represent fears surrounding what might happen when you are around others. For example this could be a fear of blushing or losing self-control.
Panic attacks: These represent a fear of losing control, dread or that something awful is going to happen. These often present in times of acute stress, you may feel suffocated or stuck & again sensory experiences that identify with the initial cause can bring them on, or fearing that it is going to happen again for instance when you’re out in public can again bring it on, or create further problems of avoidance.
Agoraphobia: This represents a fear of travelling away from home & applies to people who have troubles with their nerves when away from their home. This can become so bad that some people will refuse to leave the house at all. Again this might be characterised with feelings that something awful is going to happen or that the individual is not safe unless they stay in their home.
Is it effective?
Treatment of phobias using hypnosis is considered to be very effective and phobias work well to direct intervention (Chrysalis, 2010). In further support of this the Hypnotherapy directory (2014) states that using hypnosis to treat phobias ‘is very effective because they are displaced fears that are not rational’.