Don’t let an insect phobia stop you enjoying life

While the sun is shining and the weather is warm many of us are taking to the outdoors holding picnics and enjoying the many green spaces that flourish throughout our country.  Being outside means potentially being exposed to various insects and animals that they have a phobia of. This means invitations to bbqs are a source of unease and discomfort rather than pleasure.

Insect phobia: Are you afraid of creepy crawlies?

A phobia is an intense fear of an event or a specific object or animal.  Researchers in the Czech Republic recently asked people to rank the animals they feared most.  According to their study published in The Journal of Psychology animal phobias are amongst the most severe phobias experienced.  The animals that most commonly engender a phobic response are insects, snakes and spiders. Rats and mice are also quite commonly reported. The researchers hypnothesised that this may be because of genetic memory. Insect phobias developed to avoid the creatures that might carry disease or kill us with their venom. Sometimes just the thought that perhaps the object of the insect phobia could possibly be nearby being enough to trigger intense anxiety in people who have severe phobias.

How phobias are formed.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) writes that phobias are often learned behaviours or part of the body’s natural defence systems.  Designed to protect us, the elevated response caused by a phobic reaction can actually cause us more harm.

It’s estimated that over a million people in the UK suffer from a phobia which affects their quality of life.  When phobias become severe they can generalise from one thing to other situations.  Perhaps you started out being frightened of wasps after being stung and over time this has generalised to a phobic reaction to all flying insects.  You can even pass your phobias on to your children.

Often phobias can be treated in just one session with hypnotherapy, if the client is fully willing and able to embrace the change, says the NCH. There are many different effective techniques that can be used for phobia removal. Hypnotherapists may combine different forms or use hypnosis in conjunction with other treatments depending on the needs of their client.

If you have a phobia or a fear which is stopping you enjoying the great British summer, why not try a session with a trained and accredited NCH hypnotherapist? You can use the NCH directory by clicking here to find a therapist near you.


Is performance anxiety affecting you?

Performance anxiety is the most common of all the different types of anxiety.  If you find yourself with shaking hands, trembling knees and a dry throat before presenting at work or accepting an award you’re definitely not alone. In fact, many people will commiserate with you.  But for some people it can be a real struggle to even speak up in an office meeting.

Performance anxiety can affect anyone

In the last few weeks several celebs have spoken out about their battles with anxiety including Cheryl Cole, Ed Sheeran, Jess Glynne, Katy Perry and K-pop star Mina.  The level of pressure these stars feel is can be understandable. Their decisions to cancel performances can affect and upset up to 10,000 people a night. But often it’s the smaller and more intimate social engagements that cause them crippling anxiety. While the level of scrutiny these stars come under is not something that most of us ever need to worry about the feelings can be the same.

Anxiety disorders aren’t just about everyday worries that come and go. They can seriously impact your day-to-day life when it comes to school, work, and personal relationships. Anxiety related mental health conditions can feel completely overwhelming and more people are looking for ways to cope.

There’s still a stigma around mental health issues which stops people discussing them.

Being open about mental health issues like stress and anxiety is important. Mina and her pop group have been praised on social media for being honest about her performance anxiety. By talking about her struggles she has helped to remove stigma around the condition. For many stars, clinical hypnotherapy has been a popular choice to help them quickly and effectively deal with their anxieties and resume their lives.

In a recent interview Cheryl Cole said “No one could make me feel worse about myself than I did, and that was a massive problem.” The messages that we unconsciously send ourselves shape our experience of life.  During hypnotherapy we can learn to change those messages, replacing them with more helpful thoughts and more accurate statements.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH. A qualified clinical hypnotherapist can help you to better understand anxiety and change your relationship to your anxious thoughts and feelings. For example, a simple reframe might be to understand that anxiety and excitement often feel the same in the body.  Perhaps when you’re about to go on stage you’re actually excited.  That changes the feel of the situation.

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and start the process of shedding your anxieties, simply click here.

Need some help with IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition estimated to affect between 10 – 20% of the population in the UK in which people get repeated episodes of stomach pain and discomfort, along with bowel problems such as diarrhoea and constipation. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says IBS can be debilitating, preventing people from achieving simple tasks such as going shopping or enjoying long walks. It may also cause serious discomfort on a regular basis.

Some people get relief from lifestyle and diet changes or medicines, including peppermint oil and antispasmodic medication, but these treatments don’t help everyone.

In Australia, pioneering researchers at Monash University developed a low FODMAP (different types of short-chain fibres which don’t digest well in the gut) diet which has consistently been proven in trials to be very helpful in reducing the symptoms of IBS.

UK guidelines say people should be offered IBS-focused hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychological therapy if changes in diet and medications don’t work after 12 months. But just how effective is hypnotherapy for treating IBS?

In 2016, the researchers at Monash University also published the first randomised controlled trial which suggested that gut-directed hypnotherapy is as effective as treatment by low FODMAP dietary interventions. The effectiveness of hypnotherapy for IBS was also found in research carried out in the Netherlands and published last year that found “3 months of treatment with hypnotherapy was more effective than an educational control intervention”.

Gut-focused hypnosis uses suggestion, relaxation and imagery techniques to address the ‘miscommunication’ between the brain and gut. During sessions the client is guided into a focused state of awareness where they can learn skills which help calm and soothe their symptoms.

As IBS is a medical condition it is important to consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Unlike many medical conditions that have specific tests in order to confirm a diagnosis, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion which can be considered 6 months after symptoms first begin.

A growing number of NHS clinics now offer hypnotherapy for IBS and your GP can provide you with a referral or you can you can find a NCH-registered hypnotherapist near you by clicking here.

Never really over: How Katy Perry found relationship freedom

Hypnotherapy has hit the mainstream again, this time featuring in a chart topping pop song by Katy Perry. Her latest hit ‘Never Really Over’ contains the lyric “I guess I could try hypnotherapy, I gotta rewire this brain”.  The former wife of Russel Brand, both Perry and Brand have sought out hypnotherapy for various reasons over the course of their careers.

Brand even scandalously asked for sessions to make a co-star appear less attractive to him back in 2013, a move which he admits failed because he couldn’t help but just “let nature run its course.”

The song by Katy Perry is the UK’s highest new chart entry at 13, signalling the end of a two-year solo hiatus and references her struggles with past relationships. In 2014 Katy sought out hypnotherapy to help her move on from a relationship split with John Mayer. The singer had split with Mayer twice before and reportedly wanted that last time to be final.

The lyric detail obsessive thoughts and checking statuses on social media, something that many people in the throes of a breakup will admit to doing. These compulsive thoughts can cause real distress and anxiety, particularly if you see pictures of your ex with their new partner on social media.

Coping with the stress and anxiety of a relationship breakdown can leave people feeling that they are struggling with their mental health.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy says that the emotions felt at the end of a relationship “can manifest itself in many ways [affecting] relationships with people at home, at school or at work, how you look and how you fit into your social circle.”

Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently.”  Through sessions with a hypnotherapist you can reduce persistent or obsessive thoughts about your ex, improve your self-esteem and rebuild a happy life.

The NCH has over 1,800 highly trained, insured and registered therapists from all over the UK on their therapist finder. Simply search to see who is in your local area and start the process of becoming a confident, fulfilled single person today.