Phobias gone in just one session
16th August, 20140 Comments
Phobias are quite a common problem but the reason you are phobic of something is very unique to you. Have you noticed how difficult it is for other people to understand your phobia? (In fairness, it’s probably difficult for you to understand it yourself!)
So what’s going on and why is it simple (but not necessarily easy) for me to change it?
We think we are in control of ourselves most of the time and that occasionally we lose control. But the reality is the opposite. At least 90% of the day your subconscious is in charge. And the role of your subconscious is to keep you alive, safe and well. This is the automatic stuff that we all know about like your heart pumping, fighting viruses etc but also the semi-automatic stuff. Have you ever walked out of the house just to worry when you’re half way down the road that you didn’t actually lock the door? Have you ever driven through a set of traffic lights just to wonder straight after if they were actually on green? We do way more on semi-autopilot than we think.
Now think about a time where you haven’t had enough sleep. When you don’t have enough energy you are totally dependent on your subconscious (your conscious mind needs energy to function) and so things that you normally don’t have to think about stop going so well. You make a cup of tea and only notice when you take a sip that you didn’t boil the kettle, or you put you top on inside out and only notice when someone points it out to you.
So the part of our brain that is in charge 90% of the time is responsible for keeping us safe and well. The problem is that it’s primitive and emotional. There is no room for rational thinking. Think of a caveman. He rounds a corner and is faced with a sabre-toothed tiger. If he takes time to work out if he has his best spear with him or if he can outrun it on that terrain, the tiger will be chewing on his leg. Conscious, rational thought is too slow to aid survival.
When faced with something that puts you at risk your subconscious switches off your thinking brain and triggers a physical and emotional reaction that will give you the best chance of survival. Your body is flooded with adrenalin. Your heart rate increases. Your breath shortens. You are now instantly ready to run away or fight. Sound familiar? These days we call it anxiety or panic.
So in that 90% when your subconscious is in charge it is looking constantly for things that are going to hurt you and when it perceives a threat it triggers a fight, flight, freeze response.
The only catch is that these days there are no sabre-toothed tigers and no predators, and yet the exact same response is constantly triggered.
This is a miscalculation – a miscalculation based on something that happened in childhood that your subconscious perceived as hurting you. Because it hurt you as a child your subconscious tries to protect you as an adult from experiencing that same hurt. It doesn’t matter that it hurt you emotionally and that you are not at risk physically. To your primitive subconscious it is equal to being attacked by a sabre-toothed tiger so it triggers the same response.
So when hypnotherapists work with you on your phobia, they work with the subconscious to help it understand that you are not at risk - that the fear reaction is inappropriate.
Once that stage is complete, the subconscious doesn’t even trigger a fight, flight, freeze response any more. You don’t have to cope with it – it simply does not exist.
The biggest challenge hypnotherapists have is not helping people to get over a phobia - it’s getting them to let go of the fear of the fear. All they’ve ever known is the fear. Believing that they can change it in just one session is a bit of a stretch!
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