Specific Phobias, Counseling and Hypnotherapy
Do you live in Chicago and struggle with a phobia? Are you extremely frightened by certain things, like animals, insects or objects? Afraid to fly?
If so, you may be struggling with a specific phobia. According to the DSM-5, a phobia is an intense and unreasonable fear of a specific activity, object, or situation. Phobias fall under the heading of anxiety disorders and are not that uncommon.
The National Institute of Mental Health has established that 12% of the population of the United States will deal with a specific phobia at some point over the course of their lifetimes. That’s a lot of people when you think about it.
Let’s be honest – phobias can be debilitating and depending on severity, can cause problems with work, school, social interactions, and personal relationships. Phobias are most commonly associated with a negative past event that has been internalized. The fear, brought about by specific triggers, operates as a survival mechanism.
Counseling & Hypnotherapy for Phobias and Fear
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, when combined with hypnotherapy and other modalities, has been used to help people work through the fear, panic and sense of dread associated with phobias. The decision to integrate hypnosis largely depends on your unique situation.
Some hypnotherapists use the Rewind Technique. Here, the clinician uses hypnosis to relax the person in a way that allows the therapist to access material related to the phobia and identify triggers. In turn, this helps to build a framework of suggestion-based responses to overcome the debilitating fear.
Each situation is obviously different and a person needs to be open to the hypnotic experience for maximum healing to occur.
Another approach, which has been highly successful in some people, involves the use of hypnotherapy to ease the person into a heightened state of awareness (hypnotic trance). By doing so, this opens a portal to the unconscious, where the process of suggestion takes place. As a result, people are given calming-based guidance.
In this way, the person is literally taught relaxation skills around triggers that may cause a phobic response.
CBT, Hypnotherapy, Panic and Worry
What I try to explain to my Chicago clients is that a person can have a phobia involving almost anything. For example, there are a considerable number of individuals who are extremely fearful of clowns, balloons, feathers and even puppies.
Other types of phobias that are common include:
- Acrophobia – Fear of Heights
- Agoraphobia – Fear of Having a Panic Attack in Public
- Glossophobia – Fear of speaking in public or in front of groups
- Cynophobia – Fear of Dogs
- Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders
- Aerophobia – Fear of Flying (see post nervous flyer)
- Astraphobia – Fear of Thunder and Lightning
Regardless of the specific phobia, hypnosis as part of CBT may be useful as a therapeutic adjunct to help you work through fears with the goal of creating positive change. This transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Be sure to read this basic FAQ on hypnosis to learn more.
Suggestions under hypnosis may include bodily responses to triggers such as slow, deep breathing, a change in focus, or replacing the fear with a different response. In the final analysis, you may be able to come to terms with a past traumatic event, learn how to desensitize yourself against the triggers that exploit your fears, and ameliorate the phobia all together.
Hypnotherapy, in combination with other forms of psychotherapy such as ACT, may help to diminish the effects of your phobia while empowering you to live a calmer, more relaxed life.
Bear in mind that hypnotherapy isn’t therapy itself but instead, a tool used to facilitate other forms of therapy.
If you would like to learn more about how hypnotherapy for anxiety might help you, send me a note via this contact form or call me at 773.704.5300.
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Healnowtherapyhypnosis.blogspot.com. Jones, Steve G. Connecting Hypnotherapy. Retrieved 15 June, 2014.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Bethesda, Maryland. NCAMM.nih.org. Retrieved 15 June, 2014.
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