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A phobia could be defined as an irrational fear, or maybe a rational fear that is way out of proportion. Phobias are certainly debilitating to the sufferer – from mild phobic responses, to complete shutdown.

Phobias are very different to just ‘not liking’ something – true phobias are genuinely life-changing (sufferers will go to great lengths to avoid the cause of their phobia, even the mere idea can cause a phobic reaction) and can increase in intensity and cause even more problems.

Phobias tend to come in two distinct types, Simple, and Complex.

Simple Phobias

Simple phobias are fears about a specific trigger, maybe an animal, or a situation. Typical simple phobias include:

  • Spiders
  • Needles
  • Dogs
  • Flying
  • Dentists

And many others.

Simple phobias are no less serious than complex phobias, and responses can, just as with complex cases, range from mild discomfort to hysteria and full-blown panic/anxiety attacks.

Complex Phobias

Complex phobias generally are more disabling than simple phobias. This is because they are usually rooted in a deep-seated fear or anxiety. By far, the two most common complex phobias are Agoraphobia and Social Phobia.

Agoraphobia is usually perceived as an inability to go outdoors. This can be part of it, but agoraphobia is actually a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, or help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong.

An agoraphobic may fear:

  • travelling on public transport
  • visiting a shopping centre
  • and in the most severe cases – leaving home

Social Phobia is the fear of social situations – parties, pubs etc, but can also manifest itself as a fear of public speaking. The phobia itself is usually the irrational fear of embarrassment or humiliation

How common are phobias?

According to the NHS “Phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder. In the UK, an estimated 10 million people have phobias. Phobias can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex and social background.”

How can Hypnotherapy help?

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with specific phobias like fear of flying by using techniques that assist the client to visualise a preferred future (and in this case it would be one when the whole experience of flying and everything that goes with it is an enjoyable one) combined with relaxation therapy, helping the client to see things from a positive perspective and break the pattern that leads to the fearful, phobic response.

It has been seen to be effective and clients are often very quick to respond in as few as three or four sessions. Complex phobias, by their very nature, will require further work, but still remain eminently treatable.

If you have any further questions about phobias, or wondering if Hypnotherapy is right for you, please do not hesitate in contacting me. All enquiries, just like my consultations, are held in the strictest confidence, and with your safety and well-being in mind.