How can Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy be used to treat phobia?
Now before we discuss how Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy can be used to treat phobia, let’s take a moment to ask the question, what is a phobia and why is it that a seemingly normal situation or object that once caused us no special concern can develop into something terrifying?
Well the first and most obvious way that a phobia develops is when we have a traumatic experience that involves the phobic situation or object. An example of this might be having a bad flight and then developing a fear of flying or being bitten by a dog and then developing a phobia of dogs. In these situations it is thought that as a result of the traumatic experience, that fear structures or networks develop within the memory, these are then activated in response to reminders of the trauma so that when placed in these situations our anxiety response is activated and we are then filled with an overwhelming desire to escape from the feared situation that reminds us of the trauma. As a result of the activation of these fear structures we often feel compelled to try and avoid being in the feared situation and while this seems like a natural response, in reality it only strengthens the fear structures within the memory, reinforcing the belief that this situation must be avoided at all costs and leading to further attempts at escape or avoidance.
But often the cause of a phobia may not be seemly obvious. In fact it’s not uncommon to develop a fear or phobia of a situation that appears seemingly unrelated to the traumatic situation. An example of this might be someone who develops a fear of flying suddenly due to a traumatic incident occurring around the time of a flight or whom is going through a highly stressful or anxious time in their lives, a relationship breakdown for example. In this situation, although the flight itself was not traumatic, because the traumatic experience took place close to the time of the flight, the brain may then perceive flying to be a dangerous activity. And of course this negative belief is only reinforced further when flying is avoided.
So how can Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy alter this unhelpful belief and alleviate the phobia?
By using a combination of Hypnosis and cognitive behavioural strategies we are able to deactivate those fear structures, altering those unhelpful beliefs that the feared situation or object is dangerous in some way and calming that overactive anxiety response.*
By using hypnosis the mind is able to experience the feared situation in a controlled and safe manner whilst in a calm state of mind. This then leads to adaptive changes in the fear structures in the brain meaning that those situations that were previously feared or anxiety inducing no longer induce feelings of fear and anxiety or the desire to avoid or escape from the previously feared situation.
As part of your therapy we may use a combination on in vitro (Imagined) and In vivo (real life) exposure to what is feared. This repeated exposure both with and without the addition of hypnosis in a safe and controlled environment leads to an increase in your ability to cope in this situations, meaning that when faced with the phobic situation or object you no longer experience feelings of fear or anxiety, enabling you to overcome your fear or phobia once and for all.*
But don't just take my word for it! Here are some testimonials from some of my clients whom I've worked with to overcome their phobias!
"Niral, who's daughter was able to overcome her dog phobia with Hypnotherapy"
Hi Louise, again thank you so much for all your work with my daughter. When we came to you she was absolutely terrified of dogs, cats and all animals in general. We, as a family, had to avoid all get togethers where pets were involved. Walking in the park was a constant chore to avoid dogs. After these 5 sessions with you, the change is just amazing. My daughter now has no problem feeding her friend's dogs, she doesn't have to cross the road to avoid them, and just in general, she's using your cbt exercises in all aspects of overcoming any challenge. Thank you again.
"Rob who overcame his fear of flying with Hypnotherapy"
Louise Phillips what can I say there aren't enough stars to give you 5⭐️ really isn't enough !!! I'm literally a different person I suffered with serious anxiety issues most if not all of my life that is until I saw Louise Phillips I can now safely say those feelings no longer exist and my fear of flying has been sent packing aswell!!! Without a shadow of a doubt she is second to none in her field and anyone one who is thinking about hypnotherapy get yourself along to Louise Phillips don't hesitate get it done it will change so much of you it's amazing Cheers Louise once again your an absolute superstar
"Ben, who overcame his fear of flying with Hypnotherapy"
I came to see you for my fear of flying and I’m thrilled to say that I had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed my flight immensely. Thank you Louise. I will definitely be recommending you in the future.
Please note that a successful treatment outcome cannot be guaranteed and results may vary from person to person*