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Can hypnotherapy help with fears and phobias?


The easy answer to this question would be yes however, I had to stop and think. If it was as simple as a ‘swish’ with a magic wand then yes… but as I am fresh out of magic wands and as with all issues that you would want hypnotherapy for, it requires work. It requires hard work and a WANT to change, a WANT to make a positive to change to their lives. The client is the key. If the client WANTS to make the change then it will happen.


In the same way that if I see a client that has sat down to become a non smoker…if they are only there because their other half wants them to quit smoking and really they have no interest in being a non smoker… then hypnotherapy wont have the desired effect. It requires their want, it requires their work.


I recently worked with a lady I have known for some time and have worked with previously for various issues. For as long as I have known her she has had a debilitating fear of spiders. I have witnessed first hand the physical and emotional turmoil these 8 legged beasties has on her. She asked me if there was something that could be done and naturally I said yes.


First thing was to see if she really wanted to be free of this fear… seems like an odd statement to make but if she had no interest then why would we do it? It also became apparent quite quickly into our session that this was in fact a phobia rather than a fear.


What’s the difference I hear you say… well we all have fear, every single one of us. It is a natural emotion that protects each and every one of us from danger. A phobia is excessive fear and anxiety. More than that, isn’t generalised, it’s specific. Whether to a situation or object.. in this case spiders.


The response to simply talking about spiders was physical, for one thing, it took over 7 minutes of our session to be able to say the word ‘spiders’. She would refer to the as ‘creepy crawlies’ or making the hand puppet motion of a spider and then immediately hiding her own hands and grimacing.


We talked a lot about the physical reactions she has whenever she sees a spider, beyond that, even the possibility of a spider. This extended to cobwebs, the dark, small pieces of fluff and even plastic spiders, for Halloween for example. As she was talking about how she feels I could see her cheeks flushing and she was sweating. I discussed what the sessions would include and she agreed.


Before commencing the client repeated the phrase “I just don’t want to be afraid any more” several times, so I clarified with her that she really wants to do this and is willing to put in the work.


I induced hypnosis and we got to work… It’s very difficult sometimes seeing a client struggling whilst in hypnosis. I knew that the visualisations she was experiencing wasn’t pleasant however, calming and reassuring then client that they are safe is vital when dealing with a fear or phobia, as a matter of fact any anxiety.


When the session had finished the client appeared more relaxed. Even at the mention of spiders. As the following few days and weeks passed I was able to bring up spiders in to a conversation with out her previous reaction and fear. In addition to spiders, talking about cobwebs and even discussing Halloween decorations did not illicit her previous reaction. I asked her to remember this as it’s important to be mindful and recognise the change in reaction moments.


Her willingness to overcome her fear is admirable, beyond that even that she was willing to try is to be praised.


Over my many years of working with clients for a variety of issues I always find fears and phobias fascinating. Each one is as individual as the person I am working with. We are all products of our experiences, whether they be good or bad.


As always, the client is key. Their willingness to make a positive change in their lives is what will ensure that hypnotherapy will be successful for them.



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