According to the NHS, it is estimated that 10 million people within the UK have some sort of phobia.

But What is a Phobia and is it The Same as Having a Fear?

The simple answer is no they are not the same. Although both can be developed as a result of being exposed to a frightening, scary or stressful event or situation, or from a learnt behaviour – usually from seeing people around us act certain ways to objects or situations.

Fear is generally a natural human response to something where we sense danger or a threat, either physical, emotional or psychological. Even though it can be frustrating for the person facing the fear, feeling that emotion is actually a normal part of living and plays a very important part in ensuring we don’t enter harmful and dangerous situations.

However, fear becomes a problem when we find ourselves afraid of almost anything and it stops us from performing those everyday tasks or we find ourselves saying no to things we’d really like to do but are just too scared to do through our own self-preservation!

Take being bitten by a dog for example. We could develop a fear of dogs based on this past experience, which in itself may not seem that much of a problem. However, if you find yourself then not visiting friends or family members’ houses because they have a dog, as you’re now worried their dog will bite you, then this can become a fear that has got out of control and maybe you need help with.

You may think that surely this would be a phobia of dogs… but it would only really become a phobia if you then purposely avoided all situations where you feel you would come into contact with dogs. Walking in the street for example or even looking at a picture of a dog could send you into a panic of fear and cause severe anxiety.

When we experience something like this, the brain creates a new pathway which then allows us to repeat the new behaviour or skill in future without conscious input or effort. So in this instance, the new pathway that has been created is ‘dogs are dangerous and attack us so we must avoid all places where dogs might be!’

This means that fear will automatically be re-created, without conscious thought, every time there is a situation where we see a dog in the future… irrespective of whether there is danger associated with it or not. This is why it can be so hard to break the cycle without help from a therapist or other professional.

So How Can You Overcome That Phobia or Fear?

The good news is that all phobias can be successfully treated and cured. There are several techniques that can be used to help cure fear and phobia. I don’t personally agree with all of them, as I feel some techniques can add more stress and anxiety to people’s lives – exposure therapy being one of them!

However, people need to find the most effective treatment suitable for them, and in my opinion, connect with the therapist who is helping them overcome that fear or phobia. After all, trust plays a key part in any kind of self-improvement. That’s why I offer a free discovery call prior to expecting any of my clients to commit to working with me, as I like to ensure we both feel that connection in order for treatment to be a success.

To me, making people feel totally comfortable and at ease works wonders in itself. As I use hypnotherapy as part of my clients’ treatment plans, trust plays a big part. When focussing on fears and phobias I specifically use a technique called ‘Rewind’. People are always shocked when it seems so easy and they don’t even have to specifically talk about the trauma or phobia they have for this technique for it to be effective.

The Rewind technique is performed whilst the person is in a state of deep relaxation and taken through a guided visualisation where they are asked to imagine they are watching themselves from afar through an imaginary TV screen. I then talk them through ‘rewinding’ themselves through the trauma as if they were a character in a movie being played backwards. Finally, they will then be asked to watch the same movie but this time fast forward the event with some humour in it, which dissociates them from the trauma altogether.

It sounds very simple but therapists have been using this technique for over 30 years and the trauma is cured within that session, meaning people find they can get on with their life without those anxious feelings hanging over them.

To learn more about the rewind technique and how I may be able to help you with a fear or phobia you have, click the link to schedule a free discovery call with me. You could be like many of my other clients who are now doing things they never thought were possible.

A client I recently worked with came to me because he was terrified of flying, which meant he hadn’t ever been able to go abroad. He had recently started a new relationship with someone whose family lived in the US. As the relationship got more serious, her family were keen to meet the man who had stolen their daughter’s heart and invited them both over to stay with them so they could get to know him more.

My client seriously considered ending the relationship rather than telling his partner he had a phobia of flying. But thankfully, someone who I had previously worked with recommended he get in touch with me to see if I could help him. Which of course, I could!

After only three sessions of working together, the fear had been totally removed and the exact same evening that we did the ‘rewind’ technique he went home and booked their flights to the US! That’s how effective finding the right treatment can be.

My client was still a little sceptical at how easy it was for his fear of flying to just ‘disappear’,  so he came to me for two more top up relaxer sessions prior to boarding his flight, to ensure he felt as relaxed as he could. I am happy to say he stepped onto the aeroplane like he was just stepping into a car…relaxed and in control! He now feels like he has his life at his fingertips and is planning his next trip overseas already.

It’s feedback like this that really does make what I do rewarding!