Panic attacks, are they something to avoid?

Clients who experience panic attacks often go to great lengths to seek a resolution to the problem e.g. stopped drinking alcohol, don’t go out, avoid journeys, tried to apply logic to stop the, at times, terrifying impact etc. Sadly generally these efforts are to no avail. The underlying theme is that the individual wants to push the problem away, have nothing to do with the symptoms and in simplistic terms completely disassociate from it.

It is critical to understand the role of your subconscious or unconscious mind. As well as storing memories and being the hub of your imagination, it is charged with protecting you and keeping you safe. In people experiencing panic attacks, it is attempting to protect you, but because of earlier childhood events which produced misunderstandings, fear, powerlessness etc, it is now over doing this role because of a more recent event that retriggered those past feelings. The panic is designed to make you take notice and to take action to avoid the incorrectly perceived threat.

It is important that you embrace the panic and begin to see it as your friend. I am reminded of the old adage “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer still” as a working model for the shift in perception that an individual needs to make to fully deal with panic.

It very quickly becomes obvious when talking to the individual that the panic is generated by their subconscious or unconscious mind and is a fantasy that they have decided to tell repeatedly to the point that he or she believes it. Consequently challenging the fantasy and story starts the process of getting the individual to look at their situation afresh. Put very crudely would you prefer to fantasise about Halle Berry or Brad Pitt or would you chose someone who you did not consider attractive? I.e. when you learn to use your mind more effectively through hypnosis you have more choice about your thoughts.

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