Fears & Phobias can actually be debilitating. Preventing you from enjoying life, experiencing something fun, different or new or event have you housebound because of your fear. This does not need to rule your life! There are numerous ways in which you can reduce or completely eliminate your fear.
Have you successfully worked with phobic clients (flying, public speaking, heights, agoraphobia)?
Yes I have. Here is a list of phobias I have successfully removed/cured/eliminated or drastically reduced from previous clients:
– Fear of Flying
– Fear of Heights
– Fear of Mice
– Fear of snakes
– Fear of Spiders
– Fear of Driving on the motorway
– Fear of closed windows
– Fear of dying
– Fear of needles
– Fear of pregnancy (tokophobia)
– Fear of someone else getting hurt
– Fear of hospitals
– Fear of public speaking
– Fear of Interviews
– Social Anxiety
Interventions I have used before:
– Regression to Initial Sensitising Event (ISE)
– Affect Bridge
– Timeline Regression
- (CBT) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- (NLP) Neurolinguistic Programming & Hypnotherapy Combined: Cinema Technique
- Mind MeDiation
- (EFT) Emotional Freedom Technique: Tapping
- (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing
- The Havening Technique
Intervention(s) I have you found most helpful
Hypnotherapy & Mind MeDiation
There are numerous ways of getting rid of a fear or phobia but not every way will be best for every client.
Saying that, I can successfully remove a phobia with as little as one, maybe 2 sessions. However, there have been occasions where it has taken longer. It just depends on the person.
Before I start with a session I always ask my clients a few questions.
- On a scale of 1-10, how bad is their phobia?
- I then ask them to close their eyes and think of a situation which may cause a phobic reaction.
- What exactly do they feel? Physically and emotionally. Where do they feel it? What happens to them?
- Make this imagine incident stronger and stronger in your mind until you almost can’t bear it anymore.
- Now on a scale of 1-10, where is your phobic reaction now? (Usually a 6-10)
Once I have this basic information, we can begin the actual session.
fears & phobias
Hypnotherapy – Regression
This is probably my most go-to session. This is where I take the client back, with the help of hypnosis, to the very first time they experience this fear.
Sometimes, the thing that causes their phobia now, are not even necessarily related to what created it in the first place.
For example, a client may have a fear of mice and have no idea where that fear came from, when regressing them, we realise as a child, a leaf blew over their feet whilst watching tv. They had no idea what it was, but it felt like a mouse ran over their feet. They did find out it was just a leaf and not an actual mouse, but somehow the mind still created the fear for mice.
With regression to the ISE, I thus don’t ask the mind to take them back to the first time they encountered a mouse, but rather to the first time they experienced those exact same feelings (physically and emotionally) they described when bringing up a phobic reaction.
This may be breathing fast, palms sweating, heart pounding, unable to focus, crying, pain in the chest etc. I am very specific and name all the things they have mentioned to me.
During hypnosis, the subconscious mind knows exactly when this incident first occurred and thus takes the client back to that first event. I have regressed clients bac to the age of 7 years, 3 years, 18 months, and even someone who was still a baby in their mother’s womb. It truly is amazing what the mind can remember. Consciously we simply can’t.
Once we get to the actual ISE, the client can see and remember what happened to them. Usually, this is just the first event and the phobic reaction has been anchored, but not yet created. fears & phobias
The next step is to reframe this situation in their mind so that they can see that perhaps it wasn’t as bad as they thought, or maybe it was awful, but they survived.
I then ask the subconscious to move through all events from that point until now and reframe those events too. Helping the client to see the brighter or lighter side of this fearful thing.
All events happening after the ISE is just compounding the first event. It’s like the mind is saying ‘Hang on, we’ve been here before, it wasn’t nice, let’s get you out of here, this is dangerous!’ The mind will then bring up feelings of anxiety and panic as warning signs to get you to move away. The next time it is worse and worse and worse. Compounding every time.
Once the subconscious was able to reframe all the events, I then ask the client to imagine a future time where they may find themselves in a similar situation and try and bring up the phobic reaction, they will find that they are unable to. Even if they mentally see the mouse, it simply does not bring up those same levels as before (before it might have been at level 8). Now they can only get to level 2 or 3. Sometimes it does happen that they might have gone down to a level 5 or 6. This is still too high for me, so we go back over the previous events, see what is still stuck and causing fear. We repeat this until the number is down to a 1,2, or 3. I never remove the fear completely down to zero because one always must have a little bit of fear as a warning. Maybe a pet mouse is safe, but a field mouse can still bite, and you really don’t want to be picking them up randomly with all the pests and diseases they carry. fears & phobias
Hypnotherapy – Affect Bridge
This is similar to the above, but having the client imagine go back in time by crossing a time bridge. The further they walk back on the bridge the further they go back in time and once they reach the other side of the bridge, they will find themselves in a familiar place, a place where the ISE first happened.
Sometimes they aren’t quite there and need a bit of guidance or one place will spark a memory and then take them to another place which is ultimately where they want to be.
I then get them to view the incident as it happened, but asked them what could they do to change it? To make it better? Is there someone there that could have helped them or explained it to them? Is there someone that could have kept them safe or showed them how to do it better?
What resources did they need?
As an adult now, what can they tell their past self how to handle the situation better?
By doing this, you are again reframing the situation plus giving them all the resources (they already possess) to handle things better in the future.
Before we finish, I take them to the future again to check on their levels. Repeat the process if not cleared enough or bring them out of the session equipped with these resources. fears & phobias
Hypnotherapy – Timeline Regression
Again, this is regressing to cause but through a different type of visualisation. Every session can be similar, but it is how the person processes it in their mind that will make it more (or less) effective for them.
Timeline regression does not actually take them INSIDE the actual event or memory. This is usually for people who are too fearful to ‘stare the fear in the face. Thus, they view the ISE from a distance.
I have them imagine that have a timeline from birth until now. I want them to imagine floating high above the timeline, looking down at their life from a helicopters’ perspective.
I then ask the subconscious to regress back to the first time they had these feelings and emotions and view it as an adult, now, today, looking back at this past event.
They need to get a better understanding and different perspectives f what could have happened. What they experienced themselves when it happened to them at that age, but how would a bystander have witnessed it, how would someone else experience it.
I take them into a viewing point, a learning point, followed by taking them inside the actual event if they feel they can cope with it and then finally to a future point to check their levels. If the levels are still high, we go back and repeat.
fears & phobias
NLP & Hypnotherapy: Cinema Technique:
This is yet another process helpful for those who are too fearful to actually revisit the event.
Originally, this was a technique often used in NLP, but I find it even more powerful when combined with hypnotherapy and taking the client deeper into their subconscious mind.
During this session, I ask the client to see themselves sitting in a cinema. Then imagine rising up from their body sitting in the empty cinema and floating to the projector room at the top. They are thus in control of the projector. They can stop, pause, play, forward and rewind at any time and they are watching themselves sitting in the middle of the cinema, watching the big screen.
The ‘movie’ they are watching, is a movie of them reacting to their phobia.
For example, they are watching themselves, watching the big screen, and seeing themselves ‘acting’ out a scene where they may have a phobic reaction to this mouse (or public speaking or whatever it may be).
I would like them to watch this movie from start to finish. Then rewind the movie but change it to black and white and watch it again.
Rewind, change it to a Charlie Chapman style movie and the way they moved and didn’t quite talk in movies those days.
Rewind and add in some funny music or sound and play again.
Rewind and add in some clowns or weird and wonderful characters, making it quite laughable or bizarre.
Rewind, reduce the movie on the screen to the size of a stamp, and play it again.
Every time you make changes to this movie, again and again, until the mind can no longer be sure which version really was the right version. Remember, the mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is perceived. This is why, when I ask someone to just IMAGINE their phobia, they literally show physical signs of anxiety.
At the end of the movie, I ask for it to go back to normal screen size again. This time they are the director of the movie. They create it to their best movie yet. Everything perfect. No more fear, no more worries. All is smooth sailing, a perfect film. A film showing how they would like to respond instead when faced with their fear. They can tweak this again and again until it is perfect.
Once complete I ask them to play this new version of their movie at least 5 times again and again.
Once complete, I take the client to a future event to test their levels. If they are still showing high levels, we go back and tweak their movie again. fears & phobias
This is a very new type of therapy and has similarities to NLP and hypnotherapy, but I find it works 10 times faster.
A normal hypnotherapy session could potentially take about 1 to 1.5 hours. Mind MeDiation can take as little as 15 minutes to remove the phobic reaction. It is super fast and has excellent results. I almost always now use this method first. If this fails, I add in some hypnotherapy.
It’s quite difficult to explain this process though and it is one of those where you almost have to have it done and then you understand it.
During the session, I either have my clients stand up, or sit down and I ask for an Ideomotor response (IMR). This is a signal the mind gives me to agree or disagree, say yes or no.
If they stand, I ask them to lean forward (almost like a trust fall) whereby I catch or stop them before they actually fall.
The subconscious mind cannot lie. No matter what you ask it. If it knows the answer, it will give you the answer.
I have a series of questions I ask the client regarding their phobia. Amongst these are questions such as:
- Do you know when this phobia started?
- Do you know why it was created?
- Do you know what it is protecting you from?
- Do you know that it is not beneficial to the client as it is causing a lot of anxiety and unwanted feelings
- Are you willing to eliminate or reduce these feelings?
With every question, I need a yes or no answer. I need the mind to agree. Not the conscious mind, only the subconscious mind.
If the subconscious does not agree, I need to delve deeper. Find out what is restricting it, why would it not let go of it.
I just need yes or no answers. I don’t need to know what the actual reasons are and neither does the client consciously have to know either.
Once the mind agrees to everything and is willing to eliminate it, I follow a process of elimination and then bring the client back out of the session.
At this stage, I can only check their anxiety levels again and set them off to explore. 99% of the time, their phobia is completely gone and no need for a second session. fears & phobias
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was specifically designed to help people deal with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and trauma.
Since most phobic reactions are actually traumatic, EMDR works well too, however, this is no longer my go-to procedure. I much prefer Hypnotherapy and Mind MeDiation.
During an EMDR, we first collect a ton of information about the client and the phobia, their anxiety levels, an understanding of events in the past, relevant experiences, etc. The therapist needs to be aware of as much information as possible.
The next step is introducing EMDR and showing the client what it does and how it works.
It is usually only by the second session that the therapist will begin to work on the actual phobia.
By doing the session, I would use my fingers or a pen and have the client remember a phobic event whilst staring at my fingers. They will then move their eyes along with the movement of my fingers. Only moving their eyes, not their head, as they recall all of the information from a past event.
There is a whole process following that, however, this is no longer something I use. My personal issue is that I don’t need to know all the ins and outs, all the exact details of the phobia before I can help the client. I also don’t need to know what they can consciously remember about this. I much prefer working with the subconscious mind where the answers lie.
Interventions I have you found least helpful
- CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – this works with the conscious mind and takes too long. It can be anything from 4-21 sessions to help a client get over their fear and I often find that even after their sessions, they sill carry a lot of the fear. There are far easier and quicker ways to help someone get back to life as quickly as possible. It also causes a lot of anxiety for clients having to relive their phobia again and again, session after session or going through exposure therapy.
- EMDR – I find it more effective is the phobic response is extremely high. It does not work as well if someone only has a slight phobia. It also takes too long.
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – this is tapping through your emotions whilst positively encouraging yourself about your fear. It can work in certain circumstances, but I don’t find it nearly as effective and lots of people don’t spend time practicing their tapping once they’ve left your practice.
- Havening Technique incorporates eye movements, touch as well as distraction to reduce the anxiety you feel when recalling negative experiences. It is a relatively easy technique that you can do yourself at home to ease your anxiety, however I sometimes feels it just mask the underlying issue and doesn’t actually deal with the root cause, which is what Mind Meditation and Hypnotherapy focuses on.
My own story:
Have you ever had one yourself, and been cured of it? How, and how long did it take?
I’ve actually got a few phobias! Or shall I say HAD.
Fear of heights, a fear of needles, and a fear of pregnancy (Tokophobia)
Fear of Heights:
As a child, I was climbing trees and rooftops and jumping off the 10m diving board. I literally had NO FEAR!
At the age of 23, I went to Paris and we went to see the Eiffel Tower. The queue for the lift was too long, so we decided to take the stairs. Initially, I was fine, but by the time we got to the 5th floor, I literally was shaking with fear.
The staircase was a gritted mesh staircase, meaning you could see straight through to the ground. The higher we climbed the worse it was for me. fears & phobias
I eventually sat down on the steps and ended up shuffling up on my bum all the way to the top. At the top, I threw myself against the tower and refused to move or go closer to the edge. Needless to say, I took the lift down and haven’t been up there since.
A few months later, we went up the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland. It was so beautiful and snow-covered. We got to the top by train and then walked out onto a domed roof. The idea was to walk all around the roof and see the glaciers from the top.
We walked to the middle. I was staring over the railing, no problem. Then my boyfriend told me to look down. I said I’ve been looking down and it is amazing! He said no, look straight down at your feet. As I did, I realised we were standing on a grit and again, you could see straight through to the bottom. Suddenly I collapsed against the wall and refused to move. In the end, my boyfriend and some other guy had to carry me (kicking and screaming) back to the entrance.
After that, I decided something must change. I’ve never had a fear of heights, but I do now! I went to see a hypnotherapist who regressed me back to the first time I was scared of heights. Consciously I told him I think it was at the age of 14 when someone pushed me off the 10m dive board when I wasn’t ready but I can’t remember any other event it might have been.
Within 45minutes my session was done and dusted. I found out I was 10 years old and running on a one brick width wall, 2meters high when I tripped over some climbing plants and fell to the ground. I manage to grab onto the plats and stop my fall literally just before I hit the ground but that fright was enough to create the initial sensitizing event. The Paris trip compounded my fear as it triggered this 10-year-old memory and by the time I went to Switzerland I had a full-blown panic as it compounded again.
Before I saw the hypnotherapist, I found myself unable to climb the 4 story staircase at work suddenly and numerous other heights I was perfectly able to handle before I could no longer handle now.
After my session with the hypnotherapist, I booked myself in to Go Ape! Some of those trees as 40 meters high. Don’t get me wrong, I was still scared, but I was no longer having a panic attack about it and stopping myself from having fun and experiencing something different. I did it! I completed the entire course and I loved it.
fears & phobias
I’ve babbled on long enough, so keeping the next 2 short.
I developed a needle phobia from a horrific event in the hospital when I was 6 years old. My veins kept collapsing and I had 6 doctors and nurses in the room holding me down trying to get a needle in my arms and hands.
Needless to say – it was horrible and every needle after that event just compounded my fear again and again. He had me imagine my arm wasn’t part of me.
I had a hypnotherapy session again (since I realised how well it worked for my fear of heights). It sort of worked, but I didn’t feel quite comfortable with needles and still worked myself up a lot before going to the doctors. I don’t feel like he actually worked by eliminating the root cause, he just diverted the fear a little. I thus went to see a different hypnotherapist who did a regression and sorted out the root cause of my fear in one session.
I still HATE needles, but I can tolerate it now and use a bit of self-hypnosis to calm my mindset before I go to the doctor.
fears & phobias
This one is a bit more complicated, but I’ll leave the explanation for another time. I have Primary as well as Secondary Tokophobia. There are a huge variety of things that plays a role in this specific phobia for me so it is quite complicated. I’ve received about 3 hypnotherapy and Mind MeDiation sessions on this so far, but because it is multi-layered it is taking some time to work through each specific root cause related to this phobia. Plus, I am yet to give birth at the end of 2021, so we’ll see what happens by then.
Personally, I feel like I can deal with a lot more thoughts surrounding my pregnancy and be better able to cope, where before I would start hyperventilating just thinking about certain things, so there definitely is a lot of improvement already. fears & phobias
There are numerous techniques and types of therapies to help you overcome your fears & phobias. It is finding the right type of therapy for you. Sometimes that may mean having to see more than one therapist or trying more than one technique. Don’t give up, it CAN change and it doesn’t have to take weeks or months or years to see a difference.
To find out more about how I can help you, visit my Phobia Page.
fears & phobias