Treating Fears and Phobias

Do you want help in successfully treating your fears and phobias?

Phobias are very common and experienced by around 10% of the population at some point in their lives. The newest phobia to be named is Nomophobia, a fear of being without mobile phone coverage, losing signal, running out of battery or even losing sight of their mobile!!

The more common phobias include:- emetophobia (fear of being sick), social phobia, spiders, snakes, heights, open or  closed spaces, dogs, flying, needles to name a few.

What is the a phobia?

A phobia is an intense irrational fear towards a given object or situation that provides no real danger at all.  A phobic reaction can produce a frightening full blown panic attack with all its associated symptoms. Underlying is always a feeling of being totally out of control and unable to cope emotionally.

How do we develop a phobia?

Phobias are always created by the way we think catastrophically and negatively towards our chosen stimulus. By thinking this way we create intense anxiety, panic, feelings of being out of control and  emotionally not able to cope with the situation. Avoidence of our phobia only serves to strengthen it.

Direct Phobias

Phobias may be created following a sensitising event, such as being bitten by a dog.

However if two people are bitten by a dog, what makes one person recover and able to function around dogs and another develop a full blown phobia? Quite simply it is how they have both processed or thought about the initial sensitising event.

The first will probably think that, although it wasn’t a pleasant experience, they had the emotional resolve to deal with it. Putting the event in perspective they realise it was a one off experience and it could have been much worse. They know most dogs are friendly and they’ve got through life only being bitten once. In other words they have processed the event in a helpful way which allows them to move on.

The person who has developed the phobia will have done the complete opposite and processed the event in a hugely, negative and unhelpful way. Use of catastrophic language to describe the event as horrendous and hideous. Labelling all dogs as dangerous and developing avoidance techniques which only serve to strengthen the phobia and belief systems. They will brood and imagine the scenario over and over again, each time creating more and more anxiety. Each time they see a dog they will associate it with the original attack and blame it for the resultant anxiety. But at this point the anxiety is being triggered by nothing more than the imagination.

Indirect Phobias

Some people create phobias without having an initial sensitising event. Creating anxiety around an event that they have not yet experienced, such as flying, diving, being bitten by a snake for example is not unusual. The event poses no real threat, but creating anticipatory anxiety by thinking of worst case scenarios can bring on feelings of panic.

Interestingly there are many people in Ireland who have a phobia of snakes, but there are no snakes in Ireland! The phobia is created purely by the imagination and every time snakes are thought of in a hugely negative and catastrophic way, anxiety is created.

Indirect phobias are different in that they are often born from an internal anxiety that is unconsciously looking for an outward expression. The exaggerated phobic response generally means there is something more going on in the mind that is fuelling and driving the phobia. During times of stress, projecting and attaching this free floating, internal anxiety onto a symbolic or real situation or object helps the person manage and make sense of these feelings.

If the person manages to avoid the phobic situation or object indefinitely, eventually the anxiety will find its way out attaching itself to further situations i.e. the person phobic of flying might become phobic on trains, buses or cars for example.

Understanding Your Phobia

Understanding how your phobia was created is the first step to overcoming it!

 Common Phobias

There are names for literally thousands of phobias but some of the more common are listed here:-

Acrophobia –fear of heights
Aichmophobia – fear of needles
Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces
Anginophobia – fear of choking
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Aviatophobia – fear of flying
Claustrophobia – fear of open spaces
Coprophobia – toilet phobia
Demophobia – fear of crowds
Emetophobia – fear of sickness
Glossophobia – fear of public speaking
Hydrophobia– fear of water
Nyctophobia – fear of darkness
Odontophobia – fear of dentists
Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes
Thanatophobia -fear of death
Tokophobia – fear of giving birth
Topophobia – stage fright
Trypanophobia – fear of injections

How can Clinical Hypnotherapy help with my phobia?

Clinical Hypnotherapy, otherwise known as suggestion therapy is a well known treatment for dealing with minor anxieties. Particularly those symptoms that require urgency such as an impending visit to the hospital, dentist or maybe a requirement to fly on business etc. Powerful as suggestion therapy is, if your anxiety is more complex, further interventions may be required.

If you would like help in dealing with your fears, phobias and anxiety please click on the contact button to make an appointment for a free, complementary consultation. I offer a caring, supportive and confidential opportunity for you to discuss your symptoms and ask any questions you may have about starting any treatment.

There is no obligation to proceed into treatment at this time