When seeking assistance for a fear or phobia, it is important that the difference is properly understood. This will enable a hypnotherapist to better assist you and to help you help yourself in a more accurate, appropriate and effective manner. The tools required to make a difference to a fear or a phobia are different, and techniques will vary.
Defining Fear and Phobia
Fear is the term used to refer to a physical response determined by an emotion. It occurs when someone is having feelings of being under threat and out of control.
A phobia is a disorder of the anxious nature. It can involve both the feeling of being anxious and the concept of being fearful. Phobias occur when the levels of anxiety and fear become disproportionate to a situation, event or thing.
A phobia is defined as being an irrational fear, a fear where there is no good reason for someone to be fearful, frightened or anxious about the scenario. It is a fear of something which may not happen, and the likelihood is that it will not happen at all.
Talking about Irrational Fears and Phobias
Phobias are irrational and therefore can be related to a wide range of different things.
The most common things associated with phobias are:
The way a phobic person responds to their phobia, perhaps something from the above list becomes evident through physical reactions, and this is known as a stress response.
For severe sufferers, when faced with their phobia, there are a number of common descriptions as to how their phobia and facing up to it makes them feel.
Examples of these include:
- The feeling of butterflies in the stomach;
- Just wanting to run away from the danger;
- Being paralysed with fear.
Phobia sufferers are generally very aware that their phobia is not rational but still remain out of control when it comes to their body’s natural response to a different situation for them.
For many, knowing that it is irrational just makes the acceptance of having a phobia even harder to come to terms with. Instead, they begin to question themselves further to try to prevent their physical reaction, slow it down or face their phobia head on but this is usually unhelpful and creates a further spiralling process for physical symptoms.
Phobias are more common than you think
The majority of hypnotherapists hear phobia sufferers ask the same question repeatedly: “Why am I reacting like this when I know it can’t hurt me?”
This goes to show you that the sufferer is aware that their phobia is irrational and yet still is unable to control their body’s natural response system which continues to act as if they are in danger.
Many people suffering from phobias think that they are on their own when dealing with their battle, but this is far from the case. There is thought to be at least 11% of our population currently living with some form of irrational fear, also known as a phobia.
Most people suffering from a phobia of any kind self-manage their phobia on a daily basis, but when it gets too much, too severe or the impact becomes too intense, help is required from a professional. One of the most adept professionals at helping sufferers to deal with phobias and fears on any scale are hypnotherapists.
When a phobia or fear or something prevents someone from undertaking their normal daily routine, impacts what they want to do, and prevents life from being lived to the fullest, it is recommended that a hypnotherapist is the first port of call.
Parents with a Phobia or Fear
If you have children, it is advised that you seek help from a hypnotherapist as soon as possible because there is a high risk that you could unconsciously pass on your phobia to your child.
This is a very frequent happening and is always unintentional, but children learn from their parents and therefore learn to fear whatever their parents fear.
Where Does a Phobia Start?
Phobias, also known as irrational fears, occur through learned behaviour. It is a natural occurrence and is part of the body’s defence system when it is choosing between “fight and flight.”
Phobias are exaggerations of memories.
The brain tries to protect the body from harm and uses a phobia as a warning.
Sometimes knowledge is applied too broadly and creates a phobia. For example, there are poisonous spiders in the world, but no household spider in the UK is poisonous or will cause any harm. Living in the UK, this is an irrational fear, but the brain cannot differentiate.
A parent with a phobia will, unconsciously, pass on their fear of something to their child. If a child sees their parent frightened, they will be frightened too.
In broad terms, to eliminate a phobia is to see it in a different way. This usually begins objectively and builds until complete exposure can be endured.
When hypnosis is used, this process can occur faster and is stress-free for the patient because the critical mind cannot kick in, but the unconscious mind can still process the information. Using hypnotherapy will desensitise anyone suffering from a phobia.
Phobias can be treated in a single session, but this does depend on how willing the participant is on embracing the concept of hypnotherapy.
All hypnotherapists use different approaches through the main technique is the same for treating phobias. The approach used and the time it takes to eradicate the phobia depend on:
- If you know when your phobia began;
- Your willingness to embrace hypnotherapy;
- How receptive you are to change.