Fears are normal

Almost everyone has an irrational fear. For example, some people hate spiders or maybe the dentist, but for most people, these fears are minor. It is normal, and even helpful, to experience fear in dangerous situations; as it has a protective purpose, activating the automatic “fight-or-flight” response. With our bodies and minds alert and ready for action, we are able to respond quickly to defend ourselves.

Two leaves formed in the shape of a heart

But when fear grows into a phobia, you might need a little help

When fears become so intense that they cause anxiety, they are called phobias. A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something. This fear is excessive in comparison to the level of threat caused by the situation or object. If you’re able to manage your life around your phobia or fear it is rarely a problem. However, it may cause such trepidation that it restricts your life and you may organise your days to avoid whatever is causing you anxiety. As well as restricting your day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder and are very common.

There are four general types of phobias and fears:

  • Animal phobias – snakes, spiders, rodents or dogs
  • Natural environment phobias – heights, storms, water or the dark
  • Situational phobias – enclosed spaces, flying, driving, tunnels or bridges
  • Blood-Injection-Injury phobia – blood, injury, illness, needles, or other medical procedures

We are not born with phobias but create and store negative trigger templates in our primitive sub-conscious mind. Next time you’re exposed to that trigger, this event is pattern-matched in our minds and the symptoms appear. Phobias tend not to have a single cause and there could be a number of associated factors that create that original phobic template.

  • It may be associated with a particular incident or trauma.
  • It could be a learned response that a person develops early in life from a parent or sibling.
  • Genetics may play a role – there is evidence to suggest that some people are born with a tendency to be more anxious than others.

It is worth knowing that our minds are unable to tell the difference between imagination and reality, just thinking about the phobia reinforces it in our minds. Thank fully we can use this knowledge as I help you change your perception of the trigger to your phobia.

Symptoms of phobias

For those experiencing a phobia, it can set off overwhelming physical and emotional symptoms which range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Typically, the closer you are to the thing you’re afraid of, the greater your fear will be. Your fear will also be higher if you feel unable to escape from it.

A phobia reaction is quite different from simply being scared or disliking something.

Physical symptoms of a phobia may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • Tight chest or chest pains
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Butterflies in or a churning stomach
  • Hot or cold flushes
  • Sweating, including sweaty palms

Emotional symptoms of a phobia may include:

  • Overwhelming anxiety or panic
  • Intense need to escape
  • Feeling detached from yourself
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling like you’re going to faint or even die
  • Knowing that you’re overreacting, but unable to stop

How I can help you overcome your phobia

The first step to overcoming your phobia is to realise that phobias are very common, but they are easily treated. No matter how out of control it feels right now, you can overcome your anxiety and fear and start living the life you want. By making the ‘change from within’ you may help reduce the symptoms of a phobia.

By employing Solution Focused Hypnotherapy I will use two highly effective Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques which safely remove the emotional connection with that negative template stored in your sub-conscious mind. I aim to desensitize you to the object or situation, and then create a new positive template for how you want to react in similar situations in the future. You will then have a more rational and logical view about the object or situation.