Have you ever stopped to really consider the wide assortment of fears and phobias that exist in today’s society? From zombies to public speaking, clowns to heights – there appears to be a fear for nearly anything that you can think of.
Don’t believe me? There’s even a technical term for the fear of phobias. That’s right, phobophobia is defined as “the fear of phobia(s) and, more specifically, of the internal sensations associated with that phobia and anxiety.” These fears can range from a mere inconvenience to completely debilitating, impacting every area of your life and interfering with your ability to function normally.
Recently Chapman University initiated a nationwide survey, asking Americans just what strikes fear deep in their hearts. Participants were asked their level of fear relating to approximately 80 different possible fears ranging from the government to natural disasters. The researchers then compiled the data and came up with a list of the top fears in the United States which included some interesting and eye-opening answers, such as corrupt government officials, pollution of drinking water, high medical bills and air pollution.
While the answers of the Chapman University Survey on American Fears were bigger concerns, focusing largely on politics and worldwide pollution, many Americans share fears that hit much closer to home. It is estimated that 25 million Americans share a fear of flying, or ‘aerophobia,’ while ‘trypanophobia,’ or a fear of needles can have a significant impact on your ability to obtain necessary, life-saving health care. Acknowledging the potential impact that these fears can have on our life and well-being, experts have devoted time, energy and funding into better understanding the cause and treatment of various fears, phobias and anxiety.
One area that has researchers and experts incredibly hopeful is the use of hypnosis in treatment. In order to understand how hypnosis can work, you must first have a thorough understanding of the way that phobias occur mentally. At some point in our lives, often throughout childhood (although they can develop as an adult), something causes our mind to create an association between two unrelated things – the object of our fear, and the feelings associated with the fear reaction. In some cases, this association is created due to a traumatic event, for example, a dog bite as a child can lead to a lifelong fear of dogs. In other examples, however, the trigger may not be as easily identified. In fact, you may not even know why you are afraid of something, you just know that you are.
Hypnosis works by reprogramming the way that your mind reacts to that specific trigger. If dogs are currently associated with feelings of fear and anxiety, a hypnotherapist will work to relax the mind, desensitize the brain to that event or object, and reprogram the response. It’s important to note that the this isn’t a quick fix! The procedure, known as ‘systematic desensitization,’ is a gradual reprogramming, slowing giving you control over your response to the trigger and encouraging positive responses.
With hard work, dedication and the assistance of a good hypnotherapist, you can find freedom from your biggest fears!