Other people’s phobias always seem so funny. To see a grown man scream and run out of a room when he sees a spider, can have anyone present holding their sides with laughter. But to be that man can be terrible. To suffer from a phobia is a very real and frightening place to be.
A phobia isn’t just about being a little fearful of something, but it can result in the sufferer creating their lives around the need to avoid whatever it is they are phobic about. If they are scared of snakes, this won’t have a big affect when living in the UK. But imagine if you lived in Australia with a snake phobia. It would have a very big impact on your life. Going to bed; watching the television; even getting dressed would create scenarios where there could be a snake present.
The physical response to a phobia is the flight and fight response. (see first anxiety article for a full explanation). The severity can differ between people. I have seen clients have full panic attacks just talking about spiders, whilst others get the physical response just when they are present with their phobia.
Phobias are divided in to 2 different types. Simple phobias and complex phobias. Simple phobias are when it is a specific trigger. Complex phobias are deeply rooted to a specific activity or circumstance which can be more complicated to treat.
Common simple phobias are:
- Being sick
The response can be from a mild feeling of anxiety to a full blown panic attack. These can be treated easily with hypnotherapy usually in 1-2 sessions the phobia has gone.
Common complex phobias are:
- Agoraphobia – this is when the person has a fear of going outside. This can affect going to work, shopping, travelling on public transport. Extreme cases can mean becoming housebound.
- Social phobia – A phobia about any social events for various reasons such a fear of looking stupid, or intense shyness.This can mean you avoid any events where you meet people
- Claustrophobia- fear of confined spaces such as lifts, small rooms, cars.
Complex phobias can take a bit longer to treat as they have deeply seated issues that need time to unravel and overcome. These types of phobias can have severe implications on a person’s life. Sometimes the first sessions have be done in the person’s home, due to the complexity of their fears.
An example of treating a simple phobia.
‘Sarah’ visited my clinic with a severe spider phobia. Just talking about them brought on a panic attack. She had been like it since she was a girl. Whenever she went into a room, she scanned the walls, ceilings, floors and furniture for any signs of spiders. She refused to visit her husband’s parents as they lived close to a wood, meaning there were often spiders in their house. She was concerned that she would pass her fears onto her son as she couldn’t see a spider without screaming and running out of the room. She even feared his reading books in case there was a photo of a spider. Her phobia was taking over her life and she wanted it to stop.
I took her back to the first event connected to the phobia. She was 5 years old and she was playing with her sister. A spider appeared from nowhere and ran up her leg. It was so unexpected she screamed. From that moment, she was scared that another spider would appear from nowhere, so she learned to keep vigilant for any spiders.
We did a special technique that removes the emotional connection to the event, resulting in the fear being removed. She then imagined a future event where she saw a spider and she was amazed to see and feel only calm. The fear had gone.
The test was to look in a spider book when she got home. That night I received a message for her saying she looked at the whole book. And all she felt was interested! She hadn’t realised how amazing spiders were.
Result: the phobia had been removed in one session!
If you want to remove your phobia, please contact me for further details. There is no need to continue being ruled by the phobia. It’s your time to gain back control.