Living in constant fear and worry is no way to live. It’s estimated that nearly 6.3 million Americans suffer with a diagnosed phobia, everything from a fear of public speaking and heights, to a fear of social situations or confined spaces. Fears and phobias are a real problem for the people who suffer, because they can severely interfere with life’s activities, not to mention they produce very uncomfortable bodily sensations including: trembling, shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, the urge to run, hot flashes or chills, negative thoughts and more.
When a fear becomes a phobia, which simply means the fear becomes so debilitating that a person starts avoiding any situation that could trigger it, the recommended course of treatment is usually antianxiety or antidepressant medications, or therapy sessions that include the likes of cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapies.
One of the most powerful treatment options for fears and phobias is hypnotherapy. The reason: under hypnosis, the therapist has access to the subconscious where the irrational thoughts about the fear come from, and in a sense can reprogram the subconscious thereby reducing and eventually eliminating the fear or phobia.
Do think of hypnosis as a mental process that lowers the brain waves
Under hypnosis, brain waves are lowered to a theta or delta state where you have the opportunity to manipulate, influence and access your subconscious mind to change your physical, emotional and mental reactions.
Do use hypnosis to think, focus and relax
Hypnosis is a great tool to relax the mind and body to maintain your mental, physical and emotional composure.
Do use hypnosis to program your mind to focus on positive outcomes
When you confront a fear or phobia head on, most people typically expect the worst or at the very least a very negative outcome. Hypnosis can be used to focus on positive outcomes associated with a fear or phobia.
Do practice using hypnosis while you’re feeling well and away from your fear of phobia
Using hypnosis when you are feeling well can control and manipulate your thoughts objectively. Once you have learned to use hypnosis to manipulate your thoughts and feelings when you feel well, you will be more successful using them in a fear/phobic situation.
Do look for the smaller milestones
A good example is the reaction of your fear/phobia on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst. Rate yourself on the scale of the reduction in your fear/phobia reaction as you undergo hypnosis. Your numbers should start to decrease.
Do not think of hypnosis as a magic pill
Hypnosis will have a dramatic impact in reducing your physical symptoms and help you overcome your fears and phobias, but it takes time.
Do not think about losing control of your mental, physical and emotional composure
The truth is, hypnosis is nothing more than a very relaxed state, and under hypnosis you are in complete control of everything going on around you. It’s also important to note that it’s impossible to become stuck in a hypnotic trance. Everyone wakes up.
Do not focus on your fear and/or the negative outcomes of your fear
People typically think the worst because they become clouded with negative emotions when trying to work through their fears and phobias. To make matters worse, they may be having to deal with peer pressure from a friend or loved one who doesn’t understand.
Do not try to use hypnosis in the middle of a fear/phobia attack in the beginning
Become comfortable with the process while in a relaxed state. Measures to reduce a panic attack should be focused on slowing down your breathing, thought process and working through the paralyzing, traumatic or uncomfortable body sensations.
Do not expect yourself to be cured in one sitting
While this is possible, do expect that it takes time and in most cases, repeated effort. Just like most other things, overcoming fears and phobias takes time and persistence.
Like every kind of treatment, hypnosis doesn’t have a perfect success rate, and it’s not for absolutely everyone. But it can be highly effective for treating fears and phobias. Just make sure you work with a hypnotherapist who has the training and experience in treating them and is certified by an organization such as the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.