Fears & Phobias
Are you one of the millions of people who have a fear or a phobia which affects you?
According to the NHS¹ around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia, so if you have one, you’re certainly not alone. But do you have to live with it and with the limitations that they pose?
Phobias come in lots of different shapes and sizes but one thing they have in common is their ability to create discomfort, fear and sometimes panic. They can be related to things, places, situations, animals or feelings such as being sick.
They represent something dangerous to us and come with a whole set of physical symptoms that kick in the moment we are in the presence of our fear or phobia. Symptoms such as sweaty palms, a racing heart, pounding head, feeling sick or a churning stomach may sound familiar to you.
If you don’t come into contact with your phobia, then it may not affect your day to day life. Except that very often, we organise our lives very carefully to avoid coming into contact or seek safety at the earliest sign.
Some examples of phobias include:
animal phobias – such as dogs, spiders, snakes or rodent
environmental phobias – such as heights, deep water and germs
situational phobias – such as visiting the dentist or flying
bodily phobias – such as blood, vomit or having injections
And there are some more complex phobias
Agoraphobia may affect you being in crowded places, travelling on public transport or even leaving the house. Social phobia may affect your relationships, meeting new people or going to new places, it can impact you at work and at home.
One of the most successful and evidence-based treatments for phobias is ‘systematic desensitisation’ which involved gradual imaginal exposure while using relaxation. Therapy sessions initially involve learning deep relaxation techniques which then progress on to using the techniques when in the presence of your fear, firstly in hypnosis using imaginal and visualisation techniques, gradually building towards experiencing your fear in real life. And all sessions are conducted at a pace that works and suits you.
Alongside we may explore additional skills training such as assertiveness skills, often a key skill for social phobias.