Do you have an extreme fear that’s controlling your life? Perhaps something happened in the past that has you totally trembling even at the thought of a snake, a party or simply going out of the house. In this article, we’re exploring hypnosis for phobias as a treatment option.
See, we’ve all heard stories of people paralyzed by their phobias literally and figuratively. Do hypnosis sessions really have the power to deal with those intense fears?
Let’s first take a look at phobias. Carla Chalah of Hemisphere Hypnotherapy and EveryBody in Mind Wellness Center, ran a very successful and well-attended workshop during the pandemic to help community members in Sudbury, Massachusetts release their fear of snakes.
How do people get phobias?
A phobia is an irrational fear of something specific.
Also, it can be environmental or genetic in origin. This means that if you have a close relative with anxiety, there is a higher chance for you to develop a phobia. Aside from this, you can also get a phobia after experiencing something traumatic before.
How does hypnosis help with phobias?
So, what does hypnosis have to do with phobias? Quite a lot actually.
Because it helps us steer away from a state of shock-reactive survival instinct, it’s the perfect tool to help us cultivate a calmer mind. Additionally, hypnosis may be able to help you to uncover the source of your anxiety itself — including knowledge about your most overwhelming and self-reactive traumatic memories — which can in turn yield less toxic, shock-resistant thought patterns. A common known “side effect” of hypnosis is also better sleep!
In particular, there are three common hypnosis techniques used in treating phobias.
3 Hypnotic Techniques Used in Treating Phobias
First, we have hypnotic systematic desensitization. Compared to the traditional way, the hypnotherapist can help you visualize the stimulus more vividly and help you cope through post-hypnotic suggestions.
For instance, if a child has a phobia from dogs because she was bitten before, the hypnotherapist can put into place a “superhero power” to help her feel braver and more empowered.
Secondly, hypnotic ego-strengthening. Low self-esteem can contribute to your phobia. Using hypnosis, you can work on the subconscious mind. You can start crashing those limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones.
Lastly, age-regression hypnosis. With this technique, your hypnotherapist can help you go back to a time when you didn’t have your phobia. And then, he or she can help you anchor yourself to how you were before— your thoughts and feelings.
On average, it takes three hypnotherapy sessions to create sustainable results. However, this will still depend on the complexity of your phobia.
Hypnosis for Phobias: Is the evidence enough?
There’s substantial evidence that hypnosis is helpful for managing fears and phobias. Some are case reports from people feeling more courageous after hypnotherapy. Other studies combined hypnosis with other treatment modalities.
In a 2012 case study, a woman who was afraid of airplanes was able to take a “practice flight” after her 12-week treatment.
More recently, a 2018 study combining hypnotherapy with virtual reality exposure therapy proved successful in treating acrophobia and social phobia. Virtual reality helps make a personalized and gradual exposure to the feared object or situation.
In 2020, a quasi-experimental study showed that hypnosis was effective in reducing symptoms of phobia. The 20 participants had agoraphobia (3 participants), social phobia (10 participants), and specific phobias (7 participants). After two sessions, they felt more relaxed with steady heart rates and lower blood pressure.
If your fears are keeping you from enjoying life, it’s time to do something about it. Book an intake appointment with Hemisphere Hypnotherapy‘s clinical hypnotherapist and founder, Carla Chalah, to start overcoming your fears now. Even though Hemisphere Hypnotherapy is based in Sudbury, Massachusetts, Carla works with clients virtually all over the country and internationally.