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CBT HYPNOTHERAPY FOR PHOBIAS

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Phobias are a subcategory of anxiety, focused on a specific object or situation. When you think of phobias, you naturally think about spiders, flying, or confined spaces, but, in reality, everything can be a trigger of phobia. Hypnotherapy, coupled with techniques of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), is an effective therapy treating fear and phobia.

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TYPES OF PHOBIAS

SIMPLE PHOBIAS

  • animal: fear of snakes, spiders, birds, rats, cats, dogs, etc

  • natural environment: fear of empty space, fear of water, etc

  • situational: fear of confined spaces, fear of darkness, etc

  • blood/injection/injury: fear of needles, blood, wounds, medical procedures, etc

  • others: fear of loud noises, clowns, fear of vomiting, fear of choking, etc

Simple phobias are focused on one thing. They are quite easy to treat, and are divided into several subcategories:

COMPLEX PHOBIAS

  • Agoraphobia is driven by the need to be in a safe place and can be associated with a fear of bacteria, social anxiety or other.

  • Social phobia, or fear of social situations, is motivated by anxiety about the judgements of others and may associate with or be caused by phobias of blushing, sweating, or otherwise.

Complex phobias require extensive and long-term work with CBT psychotherapy and hypnosis. But the results can be just as transformative and long-lasting.

This category is divided into two types of fears: agoraphobia and social phobia (social anxiety).

Most phobias develop during childhood or adolescence, but can also be triggered but other factors such as a traumatic experience, genetic predisposition, ongoing stress, or leaning from a family member. People can experience various levels of phobia, from mild discomfort to a state that can quickly become a panic attack or fainting.

HOW CBT HYPNOTHERAPY CAN HELP WITH PHOBIAS

The best way to approach a phobia or fear through CBT hypnotherapy is through systematic desensitisation. After listing a hierarchy of stress levels for your phobia, you learn relaxation techniques which allow you to stay calm in increasingly difficult situations. After treatment, you'll be able to use these techniques in your day-to-day life, without the need for hypnosis.

AN EXAMPLE OF TREATING PHOBIA

  1. Look at a large image of a big spider

  2. Hold the image in her hands, touch the image with her finger

  3. Hold an opaque box knowing that there is a living spider in it

  4. Hold a transparent box with a live spider in it

  5. Put her hand close to the spider in the transparent box

  6. Stand one meter away from a table with the spider free on its surface

  7. Sit at a table with the spider free on its surface

  8. Sit at a table and put her hands near the spider

  9. Walk around a spider, barefoot

  10. Let the spider climb on her bare foot or on her hand

We rehearse the tasks several times under hypnosis to reduce the emotional reaction before undertaking the experiment for real. We start with the easiest elements and work through to the most difficult ones. By working in this way, after each victory, the emotion of stress decreases more and more. The last exercise is then much easier than imagined at the beginning, and the phobic reaction has greatly diminished or even disappeared completely.

Here is the hierarchy of stress levels for a client with a phobia of spiders:

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please get in touch for a discussion on how CBT hypnotherapy could help you to overcome a phobia.

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"I can't believe it. After years of refusing to step foot on a plane, we have just got back from a wonderful stay in Milan where we flew to see our new grandson, and I was just fine! The hypnotherapy really worked! And my husband is thrilled that we can now take a holiday in another country." - Julie D

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