Hypnotherapy for phobias in Bristol

There are hundreds of different phobias that people suffer with from the more well known ones such as fear of spiders, heights, needles and confined spaces to the more obscure such as fear of feathers, cotton wool and numbers.

Perhaps your fear of flying has brought you to this page or maybe you are scared of dentists. Maybe you are claustrophobic or have a fear of public speaking. Whatever your phobia, hypnotherapy can help you change your perception of and thoughts about the feared object or situation and respond to it in a more measured way allowing you to have a calmer experience when faced with that stimulus.

If you suffer with a phobia you know how debilitating it can be. They can stop you from leading a happy and fulfilled life and can often hold you back from doing the things you truly want to do in life.

The reaction can range in severity from slight feelings of anxiety and discomfort to a full on panic attack and losing control of the situation. You may have developed avoidance behaviours to be able to cope with your phobia but this only reinforces the fear.

Phobias and the brain

Our brain has the ability to learn when new things are dangerous. This has been very beneficial to humans as we have evolved and new dangers have come about, for example, cars. When the car was invented our brain would have learnt that it was a potential hazard and learnt to look before we cross the road to ensure our survival! Unfortunately, our brain can sometimes learn that some things are dangerous to us when they are clearly not. The good news is that in addition to being able to learn that something is dangerous, we can also unlearn it, which is where hypnotherapy comes in.

The parts of the brain involved in fear responses are the Amygdala and the Hippocampus. The Amygdala is responsible for initiating the fight or flight response that occurs when we are faced with a potentially dangerous situation. The Hippocampus stores the templates of how we react in those given situations. Our brain will always refer to previous patterns of behaviour in any given situation. So for example, if you reacted to a spider in an anxious way last time you saw one, then your brain will encourage you to do the same again. Through repetition, hypnotherapy can help you to create new templates enabling you to feel calm and in control of the situation.

Bristol hypnosis for phobias

During your sessions, we will focus on all aspects of the phobia. We will use evidence based imaginal exposure and desensitising techniques to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety which commonly occurs when face to face with the object of your fear. We will then look at how you think about the phobia in the lead up to being in the situation or seeing the object as our thoughts contribute massively to reinforcing the fear. Gaining control over your thoughts will shift your perception of the phobic situation or object and reduce your anxiety and then we will move on to working on changing how you respond in situations where you encounter your fear.

Specific phobias such as spiders, birds, snakes, needles, etc can be helped in a few sessions. If you have a non-specific phobia, such as agoraphobia, or your general level of anxiety is high, then more sessions will be required. This will be discussed in your initial consultation.

Gain Control Over Your Phobias with Hypnotherapy in Bristol

Read Sarah's story on how she overcome her phobia of needles with Hypnotherapy.