It is possible for people to be phobic about almost anything. Type “phobia” into an Internet Search Engine and you can find hundreds of different terms for phobias ranging from Ablutophobia (fear of washing or bathing) to Zoophobia (fear of animals).
What is a phobia?
A phobia is an anxiety disorder. Someone is responding in a phobic way when they produce a survival response in situations that do not merit it.
A survival response is either to fight or flee. We either produce a lot of adrenalin, which in a real survival situation would help us fight, or run away. Or, we freeze – like a rabbit in a car’s headlights.
Phobic responses are way out of proportion to the circumstances. They are irrational in that they cannot be explained or reasoned. They are beyond voluntary control. And on the whole, they lead to avoidance of the fear situation, which can of course be very inconvenient.
What are the causes?
Phobias can be caused through experiencing a high degree of stress. Often phobias caused in this way are directed – not at the true cause of the stress, especially if it is something that is difficult to avoid – rather, they are directed at something that can be easily avoided.
Phobias can be caused from an accumulation of negative experiences over a number of years.
Phobias can sometimes result from a fear of fear. People who suffer from this type of phobia are very frightened of the feelings of fear they get. This type of phobia can be associated with almost anything.
Phobias can be ‘caught’ from other people – such as family members or any other person in close contact.
Phobias can be the result of some past traumatic event – though often the sufferer will not be consciously aware of what this event might be.
Phobias tend to be more common in women that in men. Symptoms tend to increase the further away the person is from their home.
How NLP and Hypnotherapy can help cure phobias?
NLP has an effective phobia cure which involves identifying the initial traumatic event that is triggering the phobic response. Usually the client is unaware of this event consciously and NLP has some excellent ways of bringing unconscious memories into conscious awareness.
Once the event is identified, it can be rationalised and looked at with a different perspective after which it is usually easy to let the phobic response go.
The clinical therapy approach is one of desensitisation. A very relaxed state is elicited in the client, who is then directed to re-experience manageable levels of the phobic event. In this way the client is able to extinguish the phobic response because it is impossible to be relaxed and anxious at the same time.
Typically, after having experienced either, or a combination of, these approaches, a client will be able to behave perfectly normally in the previously phobic situation. Indeed many clients seem to be unaware that they ever had a problem.