Overcoming phobias

Phobias are intense and irrational fears of specific situations or things that are not intrinsically dangerous.  They usually involve a sense of being in danger because of the feared thing or place.  For example agoraphobia is a combination of two Greek words ‘fovos’ meaning fear and ‘agora’ marketplace.  In essence agoraphobia is a deep fear about being away from home, or out in the marketplace.

Most fears and phobias  are really a fear of losing control and not having a socially acceptable way of expressing that.  When explored more deeply, your phobia is a fear of …. that’s right: fear.  Your real fear is of the fear symptoms that are triggered by a dog, a snake, water, being in a place from which you can’t easily escape.  The list is endless.  Those symptoms are powerful and they are very uncomfortable to the point where we want to avoid feeling them.  We humans create many and varied phobic levels of anxiety.  Just as you have been a key player in creating your phobia, you’re also the solution to overcoming it, or them.

Hypnosis as one way to get rid of your phobia

I use hypnosis for a number of problems, including what I call your ‘habit of fear’ which is another way of describing anxiety and phobias.  You know very well that your phobic response has increased and you’re now in the habit of feeling intense fear just thinking about the object of your phobia.  If you’d like to download your personalised hypnosis audio for your phobia, Click here and look for your particular fear.

To find out how hypnosis works, look at this short video.

Click on the link to read about how hypnosis can help you to overcome your Fear of Dogs

Call me now on (03)9509 6250 for your first FREE consultation to start your journey to freedom from phobias.

Many phobias have a logical or understandable base to them: the most common phobias are fear of animals and within that broad group of ‘animals’, spiders and snakes are the animals humans fear most, and most often.  When I say there’s a logical base to a fear of spiders, it pays to be vigilant about spiders because many of them are poisonous, especially in Australia. What I’m talking about here is the fear of spiders that means someone won’t get into a car unless they’re sure it’s been thoroughly vacuumed and is free of spiders.

Understand your phobias by learning about your brain

Click on the link below to invest in Dr Jeffrey Schwartz’s wonderfully easy-to-read exploration of how our magnificent brain can be part of our very imaginative problems, especially our phobias.

Fear of dogs or cynophobia

Local Councils insist that when they’re outside their homes, dogs have to be under leash in Australian suburbs.  That’s a wise safety precaution because even the most placid dog can become potentially dangerous if confronted by strangers who agitate it, or frighten it.  Being wary of dogs you don’t know is a good idea.  That’s the logical element to fearing dogs. Cynophobia or a phobia about dogs is a very different thing. It’s a limiting and almost paralysing fear that dominates the life of the person who fears dogs.  Just think about it.  If you have a deep fear of unsupervised dogs, you have to live your life in constant turmoil because every house, street, park and beach that you visit could have a dog or numerous dogs roaming around.   It’s one of the most common phobias but for some reason, people don’t always seek help to manage it and to eliminate it from their lives.

People can and do work around a phobia if it involves something they don’t have to encounter in their everyday life – one rarely if ever sees a snake in the city. If your phobia is about dogs, it’s a very difficult challenge to avoid them. I don’t have a dog but I’m one of only two houses in my street where there isn’t a dog. They seem more numerous than people, so avoiding dogs would be almost impossible. Avoiding a feared object or place tends to make the fear stronger each time the person encounters that feared place or thing. I have a friend who used to really hate being in an elevator or lift. However the thing she most feared was being with a group of colleagues or friends and having to say to them “I’m taking the stairs“. That was often OK because she could pretend it was a health thing but when their meeting was on the 24th floor, they just looked at her as if she was very strange indeed.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm. For example, those suffering from agoraphobia fear being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.

Not surprisingly, people with phobias try to avoid what they fear so intensely.  It is estimated that millions of people experience varying levels of fear of flying and many of them will not even think about boarding an aircraft.

Who has phobias?

An American study by the Mental Health America (MHA) found that between 5.1% and 21.5% of Americans suffer from some types of phobias and inappropriate fears.  One of the difficulties in being precise about that number is that many people can live their lives without having to deal directly with their phobia – it’s just something that’s in the background of their lives.  Therefore, they’re unlikely to disclose to researchers that they have a problem.

Why do we have phobias?

The short answer and the only accurate one, is that we don’t really know.

Many theories abound and each group pushes their own theory as the final explanation.  One theory is that if we have an intense and almost paralysing fear of one thing, for example spiders, we are investing a great deal of our floating or generalised anxiety in spiders.  Almost as if we’re dealing with our fears about life and the living of it, by focusing all our latent fears on one thing.  That’s just one school of thought.  Many health professionals hold to that view, but others discount it for one main reason.  That is, they have clients who have arachnophobia but those same clients have myriad other anxiety problems.

Another widely held view is that eons ago, we needed to have a much higher level of fear in order to survive the predators in our physical environment.  The fear that develops to phobic levels is a remnant of that time when it was extremely dangerous for Cave men and women to walk around outside their caves.

There’s certainly a genetic component to anxiety and phobias and it’s not surprising to see a number of people in the same family group with similar levels and types of phobias.