Phobias 2018-01-09T13:37:43+01:00

Phobias are an extreme or irrational fear of an object or situation and can cause a lot of distress. They can restrict day-to-day life and, in severe cases, an individual may organise their life around avoiding the thing they’re afraid of. If the phobia can’t be avoided entirely, intense anxiety will result.

What are Phobias?

Generally speaking, phobias can be grouped into two different types. Simple, or specific, phobias and complex phobias.

Simple phobias are centred around certain objects, animals or activities and often coalesce in childhood. In some people these phobias become less debilitating as you get older, but this is not guaranteed.

Complex phobias tend to arise during adulthood and are often tied with a deeply embedded fear about a situation. Agoraphobia is a good example of a complex phobia as it is usually triggered by being in a crowded environment. However, it is more complicated than it seems, as some agoraphobic induced panic attacks can occur while the person is alone.

Our approach to treating phobias

Simple phobias can nearly always be treated by desensitisation. This is where the client is gradually exposed to the fear inducing object or activity.

Complex phobias often take longer to treat and will require talking therapies, such as:

If a phobia is particularly severe, medication may be used to treat the anxiety. However, this is not always needed.

If you would like to find out if we could help you, we invite you to contact us.

This is estimated to impact around 5% of the population and can be totally debilitating for some, and interferes with the enjoyment of every day life. A reconditioning of the mind is required, and whilst a little scary, this is done step-by-step and day-by-day. You will find your journey to phobia-free to be very obtainable, although challenging.
Flying is said to be one of the safest modes of transport; but causes much distress for a number of reasons: being confined, worrying about crashing, or even being around so many people and not being able to escape. Our treatments have allowed sufferers to board their plane and enjoy a much earned holiday.
Whilst this is often thought to be a fear of open spaces, it’s much more complex than that. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape is deemed to be difficult, or help wouldn’t be available if things were to go wrong, which may present itself in places like shopping centres, public transport or even just stepping outside of one’s home. This phobia can be treated and the path to this will be dependent on the individual. However, some changes towards a healthy lifestyle are a good starting point, as well as some self-help and therapy.
This is the most common of all specific phobias. Those with arachnophobia often have difficulties being in their own home, due to the fact that spiders are able to access homes with ease. The fear of spiders is most commonly learnt at a younger age; often from the behaviours of others and is easily dealt with through therapy.
Claustrophobia is thought to impact 10% of the population, and sufferers have varying degrees of severity. Claustrophobia will normally have a trigger; which is either thinking about, or experiencing events such as: being in a lift or tunnel, revolving doors, aeroplanes, or public toilet cubicles. Even crowded places. Exposure treatment can be fantastic for this.
This will vary from person to person. Some may be afraid of certain dogs, or dogs of a certain size; and some may feel fear of any dog. There are often incidents that have led to this type of phobia and it is key to isolate those incidents in order to put this phobia in the past.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. It’s very common and the symptoms, including dry mouth, weak voice, rapid heartbeat and sweating, can cause intense feelings of embarrassment. It can happen anywhere from the classroom to the boardroom and can cause the sufferer to miss out on opportunities for advancement. Fortunately, it can be overcome with therapy.
Most individual’s fear of snakes is unfounded, and there has been no particular incident that has spiralled into the fear. They believe them to be poisonous, dangerous, and slimy. Like other animal phobias, this fear can be eradicated by therapy.
As soon as an individual steps outside of their home, they will feel the fear as the risk is immediate. This fear is quite simply irrational, and the trick is to unlearn this fear in order to remove it from life.
This is an intense fear of certain social situations. These will especially be based around situations that are unfamiliar or where that person feels they will be watched, evaluated, scrutinised or judged. Those that suffer with this will go to all lengths to avoid these situations, which may include: meeting new people, speaking in a meeting, eating or drinking in public or even making small talk or speaking with those who are seen as ‘in authority’. It’s important to first understand the issue thoroughly, and then a pathway to resolving this phobia can be put in place.

A phobias case study

This female client had recently become pregnant and needed to have regular blood tests due to the risk of her baby having Down’s Syndrome. However, she had suffered from a phobia of blood and needles since the age of 10; she regularly fainted at the sight of blood.

We suggested four hypnotherapy sessions focused on reprocessing her experience of the original trauma that caused her phobia. It involved teaching NLP-style coping techniques for emotional state management and self-hypnosis for relaxation. Whilst she was open to the idea of hypnotherapy, she was nervous about the prospect of having to confront her fear. Much of the first session involved metaphorical hand-holding – pacing the session and leading her according to her level of comfort.

After the four sessions, she was able to take the required blood tests without any adverse effect. She later returned for further help in physically and mentally preparing herself for the birth of her child using hypnobirthing techniques. She is now the proud mother of a healthy baby girl.

Before starting my course of hypnotherapy, my life was being dominated by feelings of anguish because of my bird phobia. It’d been a big problem for me for most of my life and it was getting worse as the years wore on, till I decided enough was enough and went to see Richard about getting some help to overcome it. Now that the treatment is finished I feel so liberated and back in control of my life. The fear that had become part of my everyday life has now left me and been replaced with feelings of calm and confidence. I would urge anyone who’s suffering from a phobia which affects your life to get this sort of treatment, I’m so grateful to Richard for giving me the chance to get rid of my fears and for my new found confidence.
Jane, St. Margaret’s

Call us now to book your initial chat

020 7060 4375