As the mass vaccination programme rolls out throughout the UK many people are breathing a sigh of relief; if this is not the end, it’s at least the beginning of the end. The government is working overtime, explaining the benefits and positives, and conducting campaigns to increase uptake amongst populations that are hesitant. However, some people aren’t worried about the safety of the vaccine, they’re frightened of the needle it comes in.
A general dislike for injections and needles is fairly common in children, and slowly decreases with age. Anxiety UK reports that about 10% of people report some level of anxiety about receiving an injection or blood test, but they are still able to go through with it.
Trypanophobia, or a severe phobia of injections can have a debilitating impact on the sufferers’ life. In some cases, people may be so fearful of needles that they faint, which further increases their fear in future events.
Typically, anxiety around needles stems from a bad experience in childhood, perhaps during routine vaccinations or a dental appointment. It might not even stem from their personal experience, but from the reaction of their parents if something didn’t go as planned. The intrusive thoughts and anxiety that arise when a sufferer knows that they’re going to need a needle can be so overwhelming that some people report not being able to sleep, and being irritable and tearful.
You might be reading this and nodding along thinking “this is me” or someone you know. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) writes that people “people often manage their phobia on a day-to-day basis by avoiding the trigger and they only contact a hypnotherapist when it becomes a serious problem or significantly impacts on their life. Sometimes people are prompted to take action because they don’t want to pass on their phobia to their children.”
When you work with a qualified hypnotherapist, most will have a range of different therapeutic tools they can use to benefit clients with a phobia. Different therapists will favour different methodologies and their approach may also depend on whether the root cause of the phobia is known, how it is viewed by the client and how receptive the client is to change. The benefit of working with a skilled therapist that is affiliated with a robust professional association is that they are given emerging research to inform the techniques they use with you.
Research conducted in 2010 suggests that paradoxically tension may be more helpful to people who struggle with needles and blood tests, rather than relaxation. Guys and St Thomas hospital also recommends this technique on their website.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy is one of the largest not-for-profit professional associations in the UK.
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