What is a fear or phobia?
A phobia is an irrational fear, a fear without good reason. People with phobias experience unwanted responses to things that other people might not be concerned about.
The cause of fears or phobias may, or may not, be known by the person. There may have been an initial “trigger event” to something that may have startled or unsettled the person. This might have triggered a physical response, known as a “stress response” for the person. Their subconscious mind might have had to make the decision for “fight” or “flight” to protect them. Because this response worked in those circumstances, their subconscious mind might have transferred this response to other similar feelings.
People often describe their reaction to something as ‘having butterflies in my stomach’, being ‘paralysed with fear’ or ‘just wanting to run away’ from whatever is triggering the response. Those with phobias often know that their response is irrational, making it harder to understand or accept. People often manage their phobia on a day-to-day basis by avoiding the trigger. They may contact a hypnotherapist when it becomes a serious problem or significantly impacts on their life.
Can hypnotherapy help with fears or phobias?
Hypnotherapy has considerable success in addressing fears and phobias. We can work together using a range of different therapeutic tools to help you understand and resolve your fear or phobia, no matter what it is. De-sensitisation or time line therapy can help break the link between the initial stress response and the development of the fear or phobia.
Book in now for a free consultation to discuss how I can help you.
What are some examples of fears or phobias?
Some common examples are:
- Fear of dogs is called cynophobia. A person with this phobia experiences a fear of dogs that is both irrational and persistent. It iss more than just feeling uncomfortable with barking or being around dogs. It may mean that the person is unable to go to parks or areas where dogs may be, especially if there is a chance that a dog may not be on a lead.
- Fear of cats is called ailurophobia or felinophobia. This is an intense fear of cats that’s strong enough to cause panic and anxiety when around or thinking about cats. If you’ve ever been bitten or scratched by a cat, you might feel nervous around them, but this phobia is usually about more than that. It is different to being allergic to cats which may be to do with their fur.
- Fear of flying is called aerophobia and is about an excessive worry about air travel. Some people fear that they will lose control of their emotions during flight and therefore embarrass themselves in front of fellow passengers. For others, the fear is associated with external factors such as turbulence, bad weather or a fault with the airplane.
- Fear of heights is called acrophobia. Most people experience a degree of natural fear when exposed to heights, known as the fear of falling. A person who has a fear or phobia of heights could have an attack just walking up steps or climbing a ladder. Sometimes the fear is so great a person can’t move.
- Vertigo is often used (incorrectly) to describe a fear of heights, but it is more accurately a spinning sensation that occurs when one is not actually spinning. It can be triggered by looking down from a high place, by looking straight up at a high place or tall object, or even by watching something (i.e. a car or a bird) go past at high speed, but this alone does not describe vertigo. True vertigo can be triggered by almost any type of movement (e.g. standing up, sitting down, walking) or change in visual perspective (e.g. squatting down, walking up or down stairs, looking out of the window of a moving car or train). Vertigo is called height vertigo when the sensation of vertigo is triggered by heights. Hypnotherapy can used to treat vertigo as well as fear of heights.
- Fear of needles is called trypanophobia. It is an extreme fear of medical procedures involving hypodermic needles or injections. This has been especially problematic for people who want to be vaccinated against covid-19 but feel unable to have the injection because of their fear of needles.
- Fear of medical or dental treatment – tomophobia is the fear of surgical procedures or medical intervention, and iatrophobia is the fear of doctors. Dentophobia (or odontophobia) is the fear of dentists or dental treatment. One of the major impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic has been the spotlight placed on our health. People have also been concerned about going to hospital for non-covid-19 reasons such as health screening and essential medical investigation due to other health concerns. Some people were already phobic about intimate medical investigations such as cervical smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, cystoscopies, MRI scans and blood or urine tests. Others are worried about going to the dentist for routine check-ups, fillings or other work. They may leave it until their mouth is infected and the work is more difficult to do and will take longer to heal. The good news is that hypnotherapy has helped many people to successfully have their medical and dental treatment in a timely manner without the worry or anxiety.
- Fear of buttons is called koumpounophobia. It can be a dislike or hate that is generated against buttons that might be present in clothes or gadgets or even in pictures. This phobia regularly leads to feelings of fear and disgust when sufferers are exposed to buttons either visually or physically.
- Fear of bridges is called gephyrophobia. When a person who suffers from this phobia comes to a bridge they have to cross in a car or by walking, they experience an intense fear. For some people, the mere thought or anticipation of it brings on a panic attack. Some people with this phobia go to significant lengths to choose a route which avoids bridges, sometimes lengthening their journey by hours or even days.
- Fear of clowns is called coulrophobia. Fear of masked characters is called masklophobia or maskaphobia. These phobias describe people who have an irrational fear of clowns or people in masks, or who are dressed in costumed clothing and mascots. This can include well-known figures such as santa claus (santaphobia). They may feel shaken or traumatised at meeting someone dressed in that way, or even a picture or the thought of them.
- Fear of spiders is called arachnophobia. Entomophobia is an extreme and persistent fear of insects. People who have this phobia may not want to touch a spider or insects, or even look at a picture of them.
- Fear of water is called aquaphobia. People who have this phobia live with a persistent and abnormal amount of fear and anxiety that may prevent them from even getting close to water. Some people do not even like to drink water. Others have a fear of open water (thalassophobia) which involves a persistent and intense fear of deep bodies of water such as the ocean or sea.
- Fear of confined spaces is called claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is one of the most common phobias. This is a situational fear phobia triggered by an irrational and intense fear of tight or crowded spaces. Claustrophobia can be triggered by things like being locked in a windowless room, being stuck in a crowded elevator, or driving on a congested highway.
- Fear of open spaces is called agoraphobia. This phobia is characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives their environment to be unsafe with no easy way to escape. These situations can include open spaces, public transit, shopping centres, or simply being outside their home. Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid these situations. In severe cases people may become completely unable to leave their homes.
You might have another fear or phobia. Tell me about it and let’s see how I can help.