Fear is the normal reaction we all experience when faced with dangerous situations, threats or normal anxieties like test taking, public speaking, dating for the first time, or driving a new car. Phobias on the other hand, are a graduated fear to a very specific thing. About 6 million Americans are affected by some kind of phobia today. Phobias can actually be of several distinct types, namely animal phobias (such as the fear of dogs, snakes, insects or mice), situational phobias (such as the fear of flying, heights (vertigo), or open spaces) and natural environmental phobias (such as the fear of storms, heights or water). Other types of phobias are blood phobias (fear of being injured, seeing blood or of invasive medical procedures that involve blood tests or injections). People with phobias may go as far as drastically changing their lifestyles simply to avoid contact with the feared stimulus.
How does fear (or phobias) occur?
Oftentimes, a fear or phobia has its roots in childhood. An example: When a child is frightened or bitten by a dog, this legitimate fear puts the child in a natural hypnotic state and the experience embeds inside of the emotions/subconscious mind.
When the child grows up into adulthood, the memory of the dog is still fresh in the child's mind, therefore hearing his/her friends or family members saying, 'it is just a little dog he won't bite' does not work positively towards releasing the fear of dogs.
Although many types of phobias have been identified, below is a list of a few of the common types which I have encountered during my years in hypnotherapy practice:
How can Hypnosis help with overcoming or controlling fear and phobias?
Age regression to the time of the fear may be used in hypnosis. If so, a new memory (a belief that there was never a fear of the stimulus, or a better way of handling the stimulus) could be implanted. Additionally, post suggestions are given to positively embrace the stimulus.
More importantly, in order to deprogram this fear or phobia, the subject must be in deep trance to facilitate access to the subconscious mind (which is where this old memory resides), and once this is achieved, the client must be given the appropriate suggestion to release this same fear or phobia. Unfortunately, without the act of deprogramming via hypnosis, this fear/phobia will remain with the client throughout their adult life.