Phobia Therapy – NLP Treatments & Hypnotherapy for Phobias Irrational Fear
What is a Phobia?
Phobias are a common and often misunderstood anxiety and / or fear-based issue that can impact a person’s daily life a great deal. Understanding the nature of phobias and more specifically your own phobia is crucial. This will enable you to seek out and get the appropriate therapy and can help you begin the journey towards overcoming them.
Waller D (2018) tells us a simple phobia is defined simply as; “an overwhelming, irrational fear that is triggered (set off) by encountering a specific thing.” Common phobia examples include having an irrational fear of small or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), heights (acrophobia), spiders (arachnophobia) and fear of the dark (nyctophobia).
Phobias are an irrational fear that is not generally considered justified but, for some people it just happens anyways. So, if you started panicking and running away when you saw a wild bear on the loose, this is not a phobia. It’s very reasonable and justified. There is some danger in this situation. However, if you walked into a changing room in a shop and started panicking when the door shut behind you, this is irrational. I hope you can see in the latter situation there is no real danger, apart from in the mind of the person concerned so, this is a phobia of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia).
What Happens When Your Phobia is Triggered?
Now, in a dangerous situation this is a good response that has kept human beings alive for millions of years but, remember we are talking about phobias irrational fear here. So, you are panicking on high alerts and if you cannot get out of the situation or away from whatever has triggered this response, you may have a full-blown panic attack on the way.
However, you may need to calm down after reading all that (breath in slowly 12345, hold 12345, breath out slowly 12345) and don’t worry because, there are some good NLP and hypnotherapy techniques that can help with phobias. Want to see how hypnotherpy and NLP can help you? Call 07979 814388 today.
NLP Phobia Treatment – Some Evidence Based Techniques
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is the brain child of Grinder Ph.D and Bandler (MA Psychology) that was developed in the 70’s as a product of their studies of techniques used by some of the greatest therapists of the day. They produced several evidence based working techniques that are still in use today to help with phobias because, to be frank, they work really well. Some examples we can use to help with phobias include:
- NLP Swish Technique – Close your eyes. Visualise you in your phobias trigger situation and take a black and white photo of it. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Visualise you reacting calmly, perfectly in the same situation and take a bright colour photo of it. Open your eyes. Close your eyes, see the black and white photo and “SWISH” replace it with the colour one. Rince and repeat. After a while you might only see the colour photo.
- NLP Collapsing Anchors – Close your eyes. Start both hands open. How do you feel when your phobia is triggered (negative emotions)? How would you like to feel (positive emotions)? Remember a time when you felt all those positive emotions a great deal and now double those feelings. Imagine all of those feeling going down into one of your hands and close a fist around them tightly. Open the hand again. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Now remember a time you felt all those negative emotions. Allow them to go down the other arm and close your other fist around them. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Now close both your fists tother at the same time. It may feel confusing at first but, usually the positive wins out. If offered bad feeling and good feelings most people will choose the good ones.
Hypnotherapy to Treat Phobias
- Clearing metaphors – While in a deeply relaxed state you are told a story which is called a metaphor. These can work well because your subconscious enjoys stories, in fact this is what your dreams are really. The story will have been built by you and your therapist using some of your own words to describe how you feel when the phobia hits you and also how you would like to feel. Then then story is told and at the end you put all of those feelings you don’t want to have into the basket of a hot air balloon at let them fly off forever. Thus, the only feelings you have left when you have your phobia triggered is the good feelings.
- Positive suggestions – Again while in deep hypnosis you are offered positive suggestions that your therapist has build with you around the idea of not having the phobia and feeling good when you are near your trigger object. Generally these are made up of your own words which your subconscious will recognise and take on board more easily.
- Rewind Fast Phobia Solution – This is a metaphor that is quite lengthy but, I will try to explain in a paragraph for you. You are in hypnosis and you imagine you are relaxed, watching tv. You have the remote control in your hand. You are watching yourself from a “fly on the wall” camera perspective (called dissociation). You watch the tv until the point just before your phobia is triggered. Now you press pause. You run the film as your phobia it triggered but, it is in slow motion. As you reach the end, you press fast rewind and you see everything run backwards to the beginning. Now you play the film again but, you turn it into a cartoon all exaggerated and ridiculous. Next fast rewind and play again. Then fast rewind and play forward fast as well. Rinse and repeat. You may notice similarities to the SWISH above however, because this is done in hypnosis it is your subconscious that will be active and taking more notice of the positive solution you want to make.
- Hypnotic Regression – While hypnotised you are taken back to the first time you ever experienced your phobia (called the initial sensitising event (ISE)). This event is then cleared by any number of metaphors. A wise person might be there telling you everything is ok and you don’t have to worry about this anymore. Alternatively, as this may have first happened when you are younger, the wiser older you can come into the story to tell you that it will be OK and you do not need to be frightened. Explaining that the fear you have is irrational as you do know it is a phobia. You might also want to give your younger self a hug. Then you and your younger self become one and move back to the here and now.
Waller, D (2018) Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training Module 4C, Stress & Related Issues
Hunter, R (2010) The Art of Hypnotherapy: Mastering client-centered techniques Crown House Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Rosen, S. (1982) My Voice Will Go with You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson (p. 91). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.