Everyone feels apprehensive about something.  We are all cautious about approaching a particular situation, person or object.  No one is completely without the emotion of fear.  This is a very sensible characteristic for humans to have developed, because it prevents us from being hurt.  If antelopes were completely unconcerned by the presence of lions then, as a species, antelopes wouldn't exist for very long!

We learn, all through our lives, from the moment we are born, that some things must be treated with caution. Sometimes we learn through watching others, other times we learn through our own painful experience.  We then respond accordingly when we meet that thing in the future.  Unfortunately though some people learn to respond in a way that is out of proportion to the situation or object - they feel afraid, panicky and even terrified when confronted with a situation or object that other people would just treat with caution, or feel no fear at all.  This can be very distressing and is very wasteful of energy.

Antelopes will notice lions in the distance, but until the lions make it obvious that they are about to attack, the antelopes merely keep them under observation, retaining their energy for when it is needed.  If an antelope ran away at full gallop every single time it saw a lion it would rapidly become exhausted and would soon become easy prey for the lions.  Antelopes are therefore reacting appropriately to their situation - they know when to run and when there is no danger and therefore no need to run.
People with phobias often know they are over-reacting, or that their fear is irrational, but feel powerless to stop the reaction. Their reactions are so deeply ingrained that no amount of logical argument with their conscious mind will change their behaviour  They have probably used all the logical arguments on themselves to no avail, so nobody else will be able to dissuade them.
Phobic reactions come from the unconscious part of our mind, the part where all our memories and experiences are stored.  People with phobias can often not recall how the phobia started, but even if they could remember what started it, the knowledge makes no difference to the reaction.  Once again, logical intervention fails because logic is a function of the conscious mind which plays no part in a phobic reaction.

Phobias are wide-ranging, and are a very individual thing.  Common phobias/fears are:

  • animals, including dogs, cats, spiders, snakes, insects etc
  • driving
  • flying
  • shopping
  • being sick
  • dying
  • open or enclosed spaces
  • travelling
  • blood
  • blushing
  • darkness
  • dirt
  • heights
  • noise
  • pain
  • sex
  • speaking
  • thunder

This list is by no means exhaustive

Hypnotherapy deals directly with the unconscious mind, and as such is a very powerful tool in the treatment of phobias.  It helps to regain your control in any situation you are having difficulties with.

In most cases I can help you get over a phobia in three-four sessions.


Allison Reed, Complementary Therapist and Hypnotherapist
Therapy Centre, 78-82 Church Road, Redfield, Bristol, BS5 9JY - Tel. : 07837 222 730

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