Home > Emotional Wellbeing > Freedom From Fear - Phobias

Freedom From Fear - Phobias

By: Catherine Chadwick - Updated: 21 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Phobia Hypnosis Phobia Hypnotherapy

The word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word 'phobos' meaning fear or flight. A phobia is a strong fear which causes anxiety and avoidance of the feared thing or situation.

It is possible to be phobic about anything. Phobias can be divided into two categories. There is the simple phobia where the individual is unreasonably fearful of one thing and the complex phobia where a number of things are feared to excess.

The nature of some phobias is such that it seriously impacts on the person's day to day life. A great deal of time is taken up thinking about the phobia and avoidance behaviour. Other phobias, such as the fear of flying, are more circumscribed. Generally, people seek help when they realise that their phobia is limiting them too much.

Causes of Phobias
Not surprisingly, there can be a number of different causes for phobias. Sometimes the phobia can be traced back to a traumatic event, very often occurring in childhood. This is not surprising. The younger you are, the more impressionable you are and the less easily you can rationalise. Sometimes the precipitating event is consciously known. In other cases, the individual may have completely buried the catalysing event and have no understanding as to why they are so fearful.

The behaviour can also be learned. You may have had a caretaker or other role model who has the same phobia. In this case, you have simply absorbed their fear.

Phobias can be caused by severe stress. Here, you generally become phobic about something that is unrelated to the source of the stress. For example, you could be under a great deal of pressure at work and become phobic about driving. This may interfere with your ability to carry out your work.

Alternatively, the phobia may have resulted from a long period of negative experiences which have built up into excessive anxiety.

Traditional Treatments
The traditional methods of helping people overcome their phobias emerged from Behavioural Therapy. Behaviourists thought that all behaviour could be seen as learned responses to particular stimuli. A number of treatments emerged to help those with phobias. One of these is known as 'flooding'. Here the client is exposed to his most feared situation. The theory is that the fear will subside because none of the feared consequences take place.

Another method is 'massed practice'. In this treatment, the individual would be repeatedly exposed to the stimulus that produces the unwanted response until that response is broken. Thus, a person with a fear of spiders might be repeatedly shown pictures of spiders until they felt fine with that. They might then be repeatedly exposed to a spider in a box, and so on.

Systematic Desensitization was developed by Joseph Wolpe based on the work of Clark Hull who stated that it was impossible to feel anxious in the presence of hunger, thirst, sexual arousal or relaxation. Wolpe worked on the premise that by encouraging the individual to experience relaxation in the presence of the anxiety provoking stimulus, the link between the stimulus and the anxiety would weaken.

Hypnotherapy and Phobias
Systematic Desensitization is a treatment commonly used in hypnotherapy to treat phobias. It means that you can experience gradual and controlled exposure to your fear. A scale known as a 'subjective unit of disturbance' is drawn up for your phobia. Here, your experience is broken down into 10 stages with the least anxiety-producing aspect at the bottom and the most unsettling factor at the top. In a state of deep relaxation, you are guided through your scale starting from the bottom until you are able to experience the full situation with ease. This breaks the link between the feared object of situation and anxiety, and creates a link with calmness and relaxation.

For some people, it is important to know the source of their phobia. If this is the case for you, you can be regressed to the source for the purpose of reviewing that situation with all your adult resources and releasing the emotional attachment.

Many people who have a phobia cannot imagine what it would be like without it. You deserve to be free of your phobia. Hypnotherapy can give you that freedom from fear.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word: