Fear is a healthy and normal reaction. When an axe wielding maniac creeps through your back door, tiptoes down your hallway and hides behind your sofa ready to cut you into dogmeat you better believe a good dose of fear is going to be handy to get you the hell out of there quick sharp. The adrenaline will flow, your heart will race and all your energy will go to your legs and arms to help you escape or batter the nutter.
This reaction is not so helpful when it’s something more every day and not so threatening. Like a spider in the bath, the 10.50 from Heathrow to Mallorca, Winston – next door’s Jack Russel or your annual Flu Jab, for example. When fear is both unreasonable and overwhelming it’s a Phobia.
Phobias cause long lasting physical and psychological reactions that stop you from functioning normally and often lead to you avoiding situations where you are likely to be confronted with your source of fear.
Having to pee in the downstairs loo for a week before someone can come and check the spider that was in the tub has gone has a negative impact on your life. Not to mention the negative physical impact of living with intense anxiety that Winston could sneak under the fence and nip your ankles at any moment.
Phobias are usually learned in childhood or early adulthood. Often from a horrible experience that you learned really quickly you didn’t want to repeat, you may or may not remember the event depending on how old you were when it happened. You can also inherit phobias. Perhaps your mum screamed every time you went near the edge of the water at the beach, and quickly pulled you away to keep you safe. You learned at this point that the water was very dangerous, and that fear was the correct reaction.
However your phobia started, it was a decision you took in the moment, either consciously or unconsciously, that reacting with extreme fear was the way to go and you have reinforced this choice over and over again so that you no longer even have to think about how to react when confronted with your source of fear, it happens seemingly out of your control.
And it IS outside of your conscious control. Your subconscious is running the program you have created and set to go in this very situation. Well, the great news is that with hypnosis you can change the program. You can use the very focussed and calm state of hypnosis to gently confront your fear and learn a different reaction.