First Posted: Feb 27, 2015
I've just written an article for the Hypnotherapy Directory website http://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/hypnotherapist-articles/help-to-overcome-phobias-in-as-little-as-one-session about overcoming phobias.
There are various ways of helping people who have phobias, and some of these I teach on our Hypnotherapy Training Courses.
The traditional psychological treatment was systematic desensitization developed by Joseph Wolpe. In this method the client creates a list of the things which trigger their fear – ranging from something which is mildly fearful to something which is very fearful. They are then taught how to relax, and they then work through the various triggers using their imagination to gradually desensitize each one. The process can be quite laborious.
In more recent times Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques have been used to help people overcome phobias. Perhaps the most common is a visual technique called The Fast Phobia Cure. The principle of this technique is that you get the client to disassociate from the traumatic experience by having them imagine being in a cinema projection room and seeing themselves watching a movie of themselves experiencing the traumatic event. By changing the modalities of the experience (playing the event backwards in their mind, speeding up the action, adding a funny soundtrack) it has the effect of desensitizing the experience.
Another NLP technique, which I prefer and have found to be more successful, is called collapsing anchors. I have found this works very well when done in the hypnotic state. The principle is that one cannot experience two opposing states (or emotions) at any moment in time. So by creating in the client a very strong happy positive state while they are in hypnosis it is possible to knock out the fearful feeling associated with the phobia. I have used this one-session technique successfully with clients who have had fears of pigeons, snakes and heights.
For more complex phobias and anxieties it may be necessary to find the root cause of the problem and to then desensitize the original traumatic events, using regression to cause. This should lead to the client having a different understanding of those past events, and therefore no longer fearful or anxious.
If you'd like to learn how to help people overcome fears or phobias, please give us a call on 020 8446 8061