Phobias and anxiety


The purpose of fear
A raging fire or a dangerous dog makes us feel scared and want to run. This is perfectly natural when we encounter something frightening. Our innate ‘flight,fight or freeze’ instinct takes care of that.

However, an individual sometimes, for no apparent reason, develops a seemingly unnatural fear of something quite innocuous: open or closed spaces, a fear of being sick, birds or even the household spider. This is what is called a phobia.

How do phobias develop?
All phobias are caused by a ‘symbolic (external) representation of an internal subconscious anxiety’.

Childhood experiences and the emotions attached to them are sometimes hard for the young mind to deal with. As a way of protecting itself, the subconscious mind of the child can bury these emotions. These bottled-up emotions – fear, loss of control or whatever – need something to attach to. This is the symbolic representation.

These are not necessarily the events that caused the strong emotions in the first place. That’s why, for example, someone who has never even been on a train may develop a train phobia. What the mind is doing is projecting on to an external object (for example, the train) the strong emotion (for example, the feeling of loss of control). The phobia is acting as a warning to the conscious mind. The bottled-up emotion may be loss of control, and this is being externalised as a fear of trains.

How can Hypnotherapy help cure a phobia?

Unlike aversion therapy, which brings the sufferer face to face with their phobia and can usually only bring short-term relief, analytical hypnotherapy uncovers and deals with the root cause of the phobia. This ensures a permanent solution to the problem. Once the emotion is released so is the phobia.

Common phobias
Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces
Claustrophobia – fear of enclosed spaces
Acrophobia – fear of heights
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Aviatopophobia – a fear of flying
Odontophobia – fear of the dentist
Emetophobia – fear of being sick
Scopophobia – fear of being looked at / judged
Glossophobia – fear of public speaking

All these phobias relate to a fear of being out of control.

See also Panic attacks