Snake – I can’t even say the word!

You may have heard Vassos Alexander, BBC Radio Two’s Sports Reporter, live on the radio demonstrating how he has used hypnotherapy to overcome his extreme fear of snakes.

Deep seated and intense, Vassos scored his lifelong phobia of snakes as ‘around 50 out of 10’ and described how, as a child, he would frequently wake up at night panicking that snakes were in his bed. Before hypnotherapy, he could not look at a picture of a snake, hear the word snake or say the word snake without evoking symptoms of panic.

Fascinatingly, and live on the BBC station, Presenter Chris Evans invited Vassos to try hypnotherapy and, within a week, Vassos demonstrated the transformation of his thoughts, feelings and response to a four-foot python called Eliza. He could comfortably be in the same room as the snake and progressed to touching and holding.

Whilst a fear of snakes is a very common phobia, together with spiders, heights, open or crowded spaces, flying, death and public speaking, a phobic reaction can develop towards absolutely anything. Somehow, we have learnt to be fearful of a something and when our attention becomes focused and amplified, anxiety can result.

Some people can remember where their phobia comes from. Others cannot. A myriad of stimuli can contribute from a close family member reaction (that you unconsciously adopt and mirror) to a TV programme or perhaps even your genes. Somehow, somewhere your unconscious mind has learned to be fearful and, as its primary role is to protect, your unconscious will fire a behaviour pattern to attempt avoidance.

Hypnotherapy changes the way you think, feel and react to an identified issue. In contrast to the unwelcome feeling of being out of control, hypnotherapy entirely reframes your unconscious response with welcome calmness and confidence.

"I’ve never been this close to a snake" said Vassos in disbelief with a smile on his face. The power of hypnotherapy to change a life never ceases to amaze me.

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