The Ever so Gentle Presence of Nothing
Imagine you're enjoying a pleasant afternoon having high tea at your favourite tea shop when all of a sudden you see it, a tiny 8 legged monster; a spider! Your heart starts pounding, your perspiring buckets, shaking like a leaf, right now life feels unbearable. Fortunately, as bad as it is, it will pass, life will return to some type of normality, at least until the next time and unless you get treated; there will be a next time!
So, how do you treat a phobia like arachnophobia? Well for sure, it is not always easy but occasionally it is exceedingly so. The reason being that the brain systems involved in the creation and maintenance of a phobia are the emotional memory systems that convert highly fearful experiences in the form of implicit (nondeclarative) memory (aka procedural memory). This is the type of memory that works without you even being aware, it's how you can play the guitar without looking at the strings, tieing your shoelaces or even a necktie. It's also, in most cases, the last memory system to be affected by dementia. Its counterpart being explicit or declarative memory, the type you can and do recall, explain, analyse, rationalise etc. Of course, it too plays a role in many of our psychological problems but at least we feel we have a modicum of control!
So how does this relate to a phobia? It's merely illustrative and a way to highlight the uncontrollable nature of these types of emotional memory, which are separate from the emotional events that created them. The probable pathway to a spider phobia often starts when we are very young, sometimes even before we are born! Imagine your mother has a spider phobia, you felt it and heard it in her in the womb, if only because the foetus feels the mothers emotions and hears the world outside. Over the next few years, you observe your mother have a phobic attack, which sends you into a spin, your crying, distraught because it is distressing for a baby to see their mother like that. Somewhere down the line, maybe when you are 3 or 4 years old, you discover the object of your mother's abject terror is this tiny little 8 legged thing called a spider. This can eventually manifest in you developing a spider phobia. I say can, simply because this is not always the case, which is in line with most psychological disorders. Some children who have a predisposition to developing a genetic, environmental or parental condition do and others don't; C'est la Vie!
Because of the potential emotional mechanisms behind the development of a phobia, it prospectively puts them beyond the possibility of the client being able to identify the initial sensitising event. Many hypnotherapists site this as a prerequisite leading to healing or a cure, as in, hypnotherapy, gets to the root of the problem! However, in the above example, the initial sensitising event occurred in the womb, everything beyond that point became post-event experience leading to memory consolidation, which resulted in the development of the phobic response. Fortunately, we don't actually need to get to the initial sensitising event or the root of anything or everything, at least not in most cases. All we have to get to is a believable and/or plausible possibility, the brain will do everything else! If you have ever had a dream of falling, you will understand that the brain can let you experience the terrifying feeling of a total fantasy! The very same can happen in reverse, the fantasy of the most wonderful and empowering experience you have ever had; that's hypnosis! Phobias often respond very well to this form of neurological reorganisation, after all, it's all in the mind and at a logical rational level, every client I have ever worked with, knows this. It's just that they only know logically, not emotionally, hypnotherapy crosses that cognitive/emotional barrier to provide the emotional solution!
How Does Hypnotherapy Help Phobias: Essentially it works through creating a new experience of a scenario that leads to the reconsolidation of the emotional memories associated with the trigger of the phobia, be it a spider, needles or water. Beyond that, all that is needed is an explanation to better understand how hypnosis works and! you can read that here
The fears/phobias I see most often in my practice are:
|Animals||Injections / Needles|
|Being alone||Open Spaces (going out alone)|
How many sessions of therapy will be required?
The number of sessions needed to release a phobia varies person to person will depend upon many things, not least, the client's personality type, maturity, desire to overcome the phobia, and of course, how deep-seated the phobia is and how long it has been in place. But the average for people I see is about 2-5 sessions. Occasionally it can be much longer, especially where full-blown panic attacks are occurring at seemingly random times and in diverse places. Happily, though, that is rare and in many cases, it can be relatively easy to let go of the phobia!
So, to find out how my hypnotherapy services can help rid 'you' of a life of terror, why not make an appointment for a free consultation, you have nothing to lose except your fear! You can discover more about the Free Consultation here!
As a precursor to seeking help, it is always good to consider having a chat with your doctor before you contact or visit a therapist about the symptoms of your relating to your area of concern? You may have symptoms, such as a headache, soreness in limbs, racing heart, dizziness, sweating, blurred vision, a feeling of being unwell, etc. Although these are all common symptoms of someone suffering fear or a phobia, they can mimic those of organic causes so, they should always be fully checked out by a medical professional in the first instance.