V. When Do You Use Hypnotherapy?
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Hang-ups, Fears, and Phobias.
Among the primary reasons why people seek therapy is the need to deal with fear reactions. The range of problems is extensive-from simple, annoying “hang-ups”, to specific (or non-specific) fears which affect the activities or enjoyment of life, to full-blown phobias which may be a part of serious mental illness. Under certain circumstances or in specific situations virtually all people are subject to a variety of rational or irrational apprehensions. Many of these originate in childhood when under-developed reasoning creates in a young person a natural climate for developing fears of the unknown.
Fears can, of course, develop in adulthood through a traumatic experience but must prove to have originated in early, impressionable years. It is interesting to note that fears usually travel alone. While one may be dominant and apparent, Investigation will usually reveal others that are associated and inter-related.
The usual apprehensions that may exist in relative degrees of severity include flying, high places, rejection, failure (or even success), pain, exposure, poor performance (sports, scholastic, job, theatrical, sexual), death, the unknown, contamination, blood, animals ( including spiders, sharks, etc.), water, impending danger, darkness, open spaces, closed spaces, loss of control and many others.
Fears are not necessarily bad. They can be highly valuable if they serve useful purposes, such as creating caution in driving, locking doors, being prepared for emergencies. But when fear causes alteration of a normal lifestyle, creating intense and irrational behavior, becoming a threat to a person’s well–being, it merits attention. A frequent occurrence is a strong warning signal that needs to be heeded.
A “hang-up” becomes fear when it becomes noticeably disturbing and begins to affect behavior. A fear becomes a phobia when it reaches the point of being triggered by factors that are irrational and maybe unknown, and when it is experienced so frequently that it affects an individual’s normal activities. Lack of understanding of the repressed conflict which causes the reaction may result in uncontrollable or unreasonable behavior.
The fear itself may not create a phobic reaction. It may well be caused by what the fear represents as an unknown danger. A phobic person is threatened by something that does not, in reality, present a life threat. Yet the reaction is the same as it would be in the situation of real danger. The fear generates more fear and the situation cannot be confronted in a calm state, so the victim makes every effort to avoid it.
Specific fears often emanate from the apprehension of impending danger. Feelings of anxiety and panic tend to develop into fore-boding of approaching disaster the source of which is not understood. The fear of loss of control is primitive and is likely to be a common element and basic cause in all phobia cases. It is not uncommon in relationship break-ups.
Exposing the cause can diminish the anxiety associated with the fear by taking out of the unknown so that rational suggestion can be used, while in a hypnotic trance, to alleviate symptoms. The fears are met and faced through the subconscious mind. Repeated confrontation causes deterioration of the fear symptoms and increases the ability to face and deal with past traumatic experiences without apprehension, which the conscious mind then accepts.