Fears and Phobias

What is a phobia?

Phobias are far more common than many people realise. It is estimated that more than 11% of the population have some kind of irrational fear.

A phobia is an irrational fear, a fear without good reason. People with phobias experience unwanted responses to animals, insects, objects, actions or places.

The physical response is known as a stress response. People often describe their reaction to something as being ‘paralysed with fear’ or ‘having butterflies in my stomach’ or ‘just wanting to run away’ from whatever is triggering the response. Those with phobias often know that their response is irrational, making it harder to understand or accept. 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.

The most common phobias seen by hypnotherapists are:

  • Fear of confined spaces
  • Fear of dentists
  • Fear of dogs
  • Fear of flying
  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of pregnancy
  • Fear of sickness
  • Fear of spiders and other insects
  • Fear of water

How do people get phobias?

An irrational fear of something is a learned behaviour, either from a parent or a carer or through a traumatic experience such as a turbulent flight or a dog attack. As a young child we learn about fears from (consciously and unconsciously) how to live and relate to the world around us. If a parent is frightened of spiders the child’s instinctive response and the message hardwired in the brain may be that spiders are a threat. Over time, the message can become reinforced and repeated exposure is likely to compound the fear and make it worse.

How do you treat phobias?

Most hypnotherapists will have a range of different therapeutic tools they can use to benefit clients with a phobia and different therapists will favour different methodologies. 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. Phobias can often be resolved or reduced in one or two sessions.

What will a session be like?

The hypnotherapist will evaluate the severity and impact of the phobia and then use a combination of techniques to support the client in resolving it. They will also seek to reduce the phobic response and increase the client’s ability to stay calm when confronted with the trigger.

How do I find a hypnotherapist?

Type your postcode into our hypnotherapist finder to find a hypnotherapist near you.

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The National Council for Hypnotherapy is one of the largest not-for-profit professional associations in the UK and all our members have the option to join the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.