“Scaredy Cat” – how hypnotherapy can help with phobias
Hypnotherapy for phobias in Manchester
In my Manchester hypnotherapy practice I regularly work with clients by using hypnotherapy for phobias and the results are impressive . Dictionaries define a phobia as an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something. Whilst the reasons why someone has developed a phobia will be completely unique to them, there are common themes that seem to crop up in relation to this problem. For example:
“I am so annoyed about it. It’s so irrational and stupid. I can’t believe I’m such an idiot!”
This can be one of the most frustrating things about phobias; the irrationality of them. We know that 99.9% of the time the thing that causes us to panic, sweat, shake (or dare I say run to the toilet?) presents very little or no threat to our safety. In our conscious, rational world we know that statistically you are far less likely to die in a plane crash compared to a road traffic accident. Logic tells us that we are much bigger, scarier and more powerful than spiders, cockroaches, wasps and most other creepy-crawlies you might imagine.
Equally, whilst it may not feel like at it, we also know that when we stand up in front of a room to give a presentation or deliver a speech, there is no risk of personal injury or death.
“I tried telling myself it was fine and there was nothing to be scared of, but it didn’t make any difference”
If our ability to resolve phobias (or any other limiting belief) lay in our ability to rationalise and have a stern word with ourselves, I suspect only a tiny proportion of the population would suffer from them. This is why everyone’s phobia is silly and hilarious and why your phobia is the most serious problem on earth. We struggle to apply the same objective perspective on an issue when the feelings of fear that arise from our phobia can be so real and tangible.
“I’m just so embarrassed”
This is a common theme that can arise when we react in a way that others perceive to be irrational (and we know it is deep down). Some of us attach shame and embarrassment to their phobia because our perceived ‘weakness’ is exposed to others. This can be exacerbated by friends or family who don’t understand the nature of an irrational fear, who might laugh or chastise us for being ‘silly’.
Often it can be the shame or embarrassment attached to the phobia which can worsen it, leading to avoidance behaviours. For example we might not apply for that dream job because we know it involves public speaking. We might not fulfil our dream of skydiving or bungee jumping because we’re scared of heights. You will know what avoidance strategies you have created in your own life which has held you back.
The role of the unconscious in phobias
The reason why there is so much misunderstanding about phobias is because they are driven by an unconscious reaction to protect us from harm. This explains the ‘automatic’ sensations many people experience when confronted with your trigger. It is simply the older, more primitive part of your brain triggering the ‘fight or flight’ response because, usually due to information gathered during your lifetime, it perceives a threat to you.
Why does it get it wrong so often? Because it is our ancient survival mechanism left over from the time when we had to run from or fight predators and therefore had to work in a way that was fast and dirty. Your unconscious would rather get it wrong a thousand times in order to protect you from threat once.
As much as 90% pf our behaviour is driven by our unconscious
When you think about it, that’s quite an alarming isn’t it? As much as we like to think we are in control, most of what we do is a result of unconscious, habitual thought and feeling.
The good news is that our brain has the ability to change so that the things that use to mean ‘danger’, no longer have to. As a cognitive hypnotherapist I work with clients to align their unconscious reactions to how they really want to behave, leaving them to live life without their fear.
How would different would your life be if you no longer had your phobia? If you would like experience hypnotherapy for phobias, free to contact me to book a free initial consultation. You can also read more about fear of flying if that is something you would like help with.
July 27th, 2015