Hypnosis for Phobias. If you’ve found your way to this page, you’ll probably know a thing or two about fears and phobias! Namely, that they can have a hugely negative impact on your (or anyone else’s) quality of life.
A fear of flying can mean you’re bound to your native continent, unable to travel to areas of the world you desperately want to visit. Social phobia can keep you from going to events you otherwise would out of fear of acting “strangely” in front of others and being judged as a “weirdo.” A severe fear of spiders may mean you avoid certain areas of your home or even going outside for fear of encountering one.
Any of this sound familiar? The truth is that different types of phobias are probably just about as diverse as can be imagined. There are as many unique types of phobias as there are people in the world. So even if one of the above examples isn’t your particular phobia, any type has the power to restrict how you live, and who wants that?
It’s an unfortunate reality that – according to the National Institutes for Mental Health – around 1 in 10 people experience debilitating phobias at some point in their life. This is a huge problem as it means at least 1 in 10 people are unnecessarily suffering. And that means not living their lives to the fullest as a result of avoidance. Think about that for a moment.
As we said, this is mostly unnecessary suffering as, fortunately, help is available! There are so many tools available to help people overcome their phobias and reclaim their lives. So, if you’re experiencing a terrible phobia, never give up hope that you can move past it.
Out of the many tools people can use to combat their phobias, in this post we’re going to focus on one you might not expect … hypnosis.
Let’s get started by answering a question a lot of people don’t really know the answer to, and that’s:
Most people sort of know what hypnosis is on a conceptual level. When they hear the term, some silly images probably come to mind: A stage magician convincing a willing audience member to act like a duck, for instance. Or maybe a well-dressed psychologist complete with a tweed jacket and bowtie swinging a watch in front of a patient’s face as they delve into childhood memories.
Things like these are fanciful, “Hollywood-ized” representations of what hypnosis actually is. As with most pieces of fiction, though, they’re rooted in truth. In this case, the fact that hypnosis can be an incredibly successful intervention that changes the way a person thinks and processes events. This means it can reduce or even completely eliminate phobias.
To understand how hypnosis is believed to work, you first have to know what’s meant by the subconscious mind.
You’ve probably heard of the “subconscious” or “unconscious” mind before? When people use either of these terms, they’re referring to a supposed “deeper” part of the mind. The part that’s operating without your conscious awareness of it.
This part of the mind does really exist. If you’ve ever had a sudden realization about a problem you’re experiencing. Or a creative thought come into your mind with no obvious prompting. Thank your subconscious mind!
A really good example of this phenomenon is if you drift off to sleep for a moment at night. You then wake up with a bunch of thoughts that you were processing while asleep (i.e., not conscious). The relationship between dreams and the subconscious is interesting to think about but lies outside the realm of this article.
Well, many phobias are rooted in the subconscious. For example, suppressed memories really are a thing and a person may fear something because of a traumatic childhood experience they don’t remember.
Even if they do remember it, the connection between the event and their fear may be lodged in the subconscious mind, unable to really be dealt with on a conscious, thinking level.
We all know how to think about a problem or a fear. But how do we get to the subconscious which is beyond the language of thought?
Hypnosis is all about allowing you to access your subconscious. To bypass the thinking mind (which can often be troublesome on its own), and shine a spotlight on where the deep-seated mental process behind your phobia is occurring. From there, hypnosis will utilize “suggestions” (words or phrases) that speak directly to the subconscious and teach it how to move past those pervasive fears.
This is the traditional understanding of how hypnosis works. And it’s going all the way back to Sigmund Freud.
Hypnosis may also work in another way. And that’s by exposing a person to the phobia in their imagination.
“Exposure therapy” is one well-known technique for dealing with fears and phobias. Basically, if a person is afraid of flying or spiders, they’re encouraged to take small steps towards encountering this fear and not avoiding the situation. The process may begin with simply looking at a picture of a spider or airplane, before gradually moving up to being in the presence of a spider or taking a short flight across a state or county.
Exposure therapy takes advantage of what’s called “habituation”. If you’ve ever gotten into a cold pool but gotten used to it after a few minutes, you’ve experienced habituation firsthand.
Hypnosis can have you visualize your feared situation. All while making suggestions to your subconscious to once again break that connection between the experience and the overwhelming feelings of fear.
The truth is that there are a few competing theories as to just how hypnosis works. At the end of the day, if it does work – and, as evidence shows, it does (we’ll look at that in the next section!) – it doesn’t really matter how. What matters is that this rather simple procedure can help people get over their fears and get back to living life the way they want to.
Yes! Hypnosis is not that “Hollywood-ized” hocus pocus a lot of people think it is. It’s an actual clinical practice with years and years of research behind it.
One study showed that certain areas of the brain are active during hypnosis. Especially in those who are more open to being hypnotized. So, we know that something is certainly happening. Does it work for phobias, though?
A study performed in 2016 looked at whether or not hypnosis was effective for a girl experiencing phagophobia, which is a fear of swallowing. As a result of this fear, she refrained from eating and was underweight. After 12 hypnosis sessions, the teenager was once again eating solid foods and had increased her body mass index (BMI) to a healthier range.
Another study from 2012 evaluated a woman who had a fear of flying. After 12 sessions she felt much more confident about getting on an airplane and actually was able to fly towards the end of the study.
Yet a third showed that a simple, 15-minute hypnosis session in people prior to surgery helped them feel more relaxed.
As you can see, the above isn’t anecdotal evidence and adds a lot of credence to the idea that hypnosis can help reduce fear and even highly-specific phobias. Furthermore, they’re all fairly recent, showing that researchers are excited about hypnosis and finally proving that it works.
With the spread of the Internet, hypnosis has become easier and easier to access. This means you don’t have to pay crazy amounts of money to see whether or not hypnosis can help alleviate your fears.
That’s the most practical benefit. You can sample it, give it a real try, and may find you don’t even need to visit a professional hypnotherapist because your phobia has already been greatly reduced or even completely cured.
Another benefit of self-hypnosis is that, when you utilize it, you’re enhancing the effects of the hypnosis practice. Why? Well, It’s firmly established that hypnosis can only work if you want it to work. That’s because it’s all about intention (so, forget about the idea of some malicious, mustache-twirling villain using hypnosis to get people to act against their will).
If you’re sitting down to practice self-hypnosis daily, and have a purpose of opening your mind to helpful suggestions, you are really showing intent and giving hypnosis the space it needs to work.
Hypnosis Downloads.com offers hundreds of self-hypnosis for phobias sessions using the best type of hypnosis. You can focus on generalized anxiety, general fears or a wide and diverse range of specific phobias. Well worth exploring we think. Visit Hypnosis Downloads.com and see for yourself.
Overall, you’ve nothing to lose and a lot to gain by giving hypnosis for phobias a try. On this page, you’ll find plenty of hypnosis recordings geared towards specific fears, and we implore you to at least try them out.
You should listen to them around the same time either a few times a week or each day. If you’ve ever tried meditation, it’s a bit similar to that. Find a comfortable spot where you won’t be distracted and can become fully invested in the process. Be patient and don’t try too hard to enter a trancelike state – let the audio do that for you.
We’re confident you’ll find hypnosis helps reduce your fears or even completely eliminate them, whether you’re using hypnosis on its own or as an adjunct to some other treatment. The evidence is there and we hope that you’ll soon have some demonstrable evidence in your own life that hypnosis works.
Thanks for reading and best of luck!