Facing Fears and Phobias With Hypnosis
You Can Set Yourself Free
Among the primary reasons why people seek therapy is the need to deal with fear reactions. The range of such problems is extensive – from simple, annoying “hang-ups,” to specific (or non-specific) fears which affect the activities or enjoyment of life, to full-blown phobias which may be a part of serious mental illness.
Under certain circumstances or in specific situations, virtually all people are subject to a variety or rational or irrational apprehensions. Many of these originate in childhood when undeveloped reasoning ability creates in a young person a natural climate for developing fears of the unknown. Fears can, of course, develop in adulthood through traumatic experience, but most prove to have originated in early, impressionable years.
Fears seldom travel alone. While one may be dominant and apparent, investigation will usually reveal others which are associated and inter-related.
Hypnotherapeutic methods for achieving pain relief are numerous. Effectiveness can vary and the choice may depend on the condition and personality of the patient. Suggestions may be direct or indirect, or may utilise guided imagery, hypnoanalysis or other procedures.
As is so important in hypnosis, attitude is a major factor. It is important that the patient accept that relief is possible. Constant pain needs to be approached on a different basis from interim pain. Constant pain is not to be relinquished completely even for a few minutes, since it is identified with the life force. The patient likes to feel it is there, however reduced, even during periods of sleep.
A “hang-up” becomes a fear when it becomes noticeably disturbing and begins to affect behaviour. A fear becomes a phobia when it reaches the point of being triggered by factors which are irrational and may be unknown, and when it is experienced so frequently that it affects an individual’s normal activities. Lack of understanding of the repressed conflict which causes the reaction may result in uncontrollable or unreasonable behaviour.
A key point is that a phobic person is threatened by something that does not in reality present a life threat. Yet the reaction is the same as it would be in a situation of real danger. The fear generates more fear and the situation cannot be confronted in a calm state, so the individual makes every effort to avoid it.
Specific fears often emanate from apprehension of impending danger. Feelings of anxiety and panic tend to evolve into forebodings of approaching disaster the source of which is not understood. The fear of loss of control is primitive and is likely to be a common element and basic cause in all phobia cases.
The progressive development of fear and phobic reactions often proceeds through four phases: unrealistic self-statements create a state of alarm; fear of the fear itself develops; personal feelings and reason are rejected as the fear escalates; avoidance begins of any person, place, thing or situation which generates feelings of arousal or anxiety.
In mild cases, reprogramming though hypnosis can prove effective.
Hypnotic suggestion can replace catastrophic thoughts with truthful statements explaining the nature of the symptoms and the realisation that the physical sensations can cause no harm. Hypnosis can slow the heartbeat, achieve a sense of balance, generate relaxation through deep breathing, free the throat to swallow, overcome sensations of temperature change and promote clear-headedness.
In more severe cases, symptoms are usually apparent but true causes are likely unknown. The condition which created the fear is a threat to the victim because it is unresolved. Exposing the cause can diminish the anxiety associated with the fear by taking it out of the unknown so that rational suggestion can be used to alleviate symptoms.