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A phobia is an intense but unrealistic fear of something that can interfere with your ability to socialise, work, or go about your everyday life. It is useful to consider how much the phobia affects your normal daily routine. If you have a phobia of snakes but live in Eastbourne, it is unlikely to be something that greatly affects your life and you may decide to live with it. If you are in business and need to fly abroad though, a fear of flying may affect you greatly.
There are specific phobias (fear of flying, spiders, being sick etc.) and general (or complex) phobias such as social phobia which causes the sufferer to fear social situations and avoid them. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder.
What Causes Phobias?
The most widely accepted theories about how phobias begin are:
- They are genetic
As with depression, there is increasing evidence suggesting that some people are genetically more pre-disposed to anxiety.
- They are learned
In some cases it is a learned response developed when young. If you witnessed your Mother recoiling in terror each time she saw a spider, you are likely to interpret the spider as a threat (click here for an explanation of how the brain reacts to perceived threats).
- They are a fear of something that has already happened to you
It may develop from a trauma or incident that you experienced yourself, such as a car crash leading to a fear of driving.
Once you have this fear, you may avoid situations in which you may encounter the “threat”. This avoidance brings temporary relief from the anxiety but unfortunately it also negatively re-enforces the anxiety meaning you are even more likely to fear it and avoid it next time.
How I Can Help Free You From a Phobia
A common reason for people to seek hypnotherapy is for help in overcoming a phobia. For the most common phobias, such as a fear of spiders and fear of flying, hypnotherapy is highly successful. I can also teach you techniques to develop new behaviour patterns so that instead of reacting with panic, you react calmly.
In hypnosis, visualising yourself performing the feared task or encountering the feared object, fools the brain into thinking that the event has happened. By repeating this, the exposure desensitises you and the fear melts away.
General or Complex Phobias is such as agoraphobia or social phobia are deeper and more disruptive. Here it is more necessary to look at what caused the onset of the phobia to ensure that the change within you is permanent.