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Fear is a natural response which is experienced when we face real danger whereas a phobia is an irrational fear, a kind of anxiety disorder in which the individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place, or thing which causes little or even no danger. Phobias are linked to our sub-conscious mind and because they are irrational they can generally be dealt with very effectively using hypnotherapy.
Examples of common specific phobias include:
The sufferer will usually show strong avoidance behaviour connected with the phobia and whilst they know their fear is irrational they are unable to control it.
Phobias often begin early in an individual’s life and may occur for a number of reasons. It seems phobias can run in families. However, it is unknown whether this is hereditary or simply learned behaviour. For example, a child may learn a phobia by observing a family member’s reaction to an object or situation. Traumatic experiences and life changing events are also believed to influence the development of phobias.
Some people also experience social phobia which is an extreme anxiety and discomfort in any social situation. For example, the fear of being watched and possibly judged by others is quite simply overwhelming. Most social phobias begin in childhood or adolescence.
Hypnotherapy can help to identify the root cause of the phobia and enable the client to react to the particular object or situation they once feared in a calm manner when encountering it in the future. Phobias are displaced fears and because they are not rational, they can be dealt with very effectively.
Hypnotherapy can also help with relaxation and visualisation techniques are used for desensitisation and forming new habits e.g. being more calm and relaxed.
The number of sessions required varies. Simple phobias may be treated in just two sessions but if the client also suffers with anxiety it is likely that four to six sessions will be needed (usually weekly).