Fears and phobias

Many people have fears (approximately 10 million of them, according to NHS Wales); however, far fewer that this have a true phobia. You possibly have some fears yourself, though true phobias are less common  and more life-changing than fears.

What’s the difference between a fear and phobia?

Although the words are often used interchangeably, phobias are a severe, overwhelming “fear” of a particular situation, object, animal, or place for example and they are much more pronounced and life-altering than what we call “fears”.

Do I have a fear or a phobia?

There is no clear definition of at what stage a fear becomes a phobia, but if just thinking or talking about your “fear” causes extreme emotional distress or physical symptoms, then chances are, your “fear” could actually be a phobia.

What are the most common phobias?

Common phobias which we see at Mirfield Hypnotherapy Centre include fear of:

  • Dogs
  • Social situations
  • Meeting new people
  • Heights
  • Insects
  • Dentists
  • Driving tests
  • Hospitals
  • Needles
  • Water (e.g., swimming)

Does my phobia need treating?

If you actively take steps to avoid your “fear”, in an effort to prevent emotional distress or physical symptoms, then it’s probably time you looked into overcoming your phobia.

Why do people get phobias?

Fears may be thought of as life-preserving to some extent. For example, a person might have a fear of dogs because they were once bitten by a dog. It therefore seems logical that somebody might develop a (healthy or rational) fear of dogs. But sometimes that fear becomes over-generalised so that any dog (even pictures of dogs!) can trigger symptoms of panic and the person takes steps to avoid situations where dogs might be encountered. This type of response is less than helpful and might be considered a phobia, because it is more irrational and life-limiting.

How does hypnotherapy for fears and phobias work? What happens in a session?

We usually start by gauging your level of fear and aim to understand how your phobia affects your life. The treatment that we use aims to get you to see the subject of your phobia in a new light, by re-framing it. We then work on increasing your exposure until your level of fear becomes more manageable, or even disappears completely – a process known as desensitisation. This is often rapidly achieved using hypnosis because the unconscious mind is more able to process the information more effectively without the conscious (or critical) mind interfering.

How many sessions will I need?

In most cases just 1 sessions is required.

Where can I find more information?

NHS Choices