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How Hypnotherapy Can Cure Your Phobia

written by: Alicia Miller • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 12/12/2010

Phobias cause intense and usually irrational fear and anxiety. Phobias can interfere with your quality of life and overall ability to function. In addition to your regular medical care, hypnotherapy for phobia may be an effective complementary or alternative treatment in treating your phobia.

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    What is a Phobia?

    Phobias are classified as a type of anxiety disorder, according to Medline Plus. Phobias include various, specific fears of places or things, such as a fear of heights, a fear of enclosed spaces, or a fear of driving on bridges. These fears are generally things or places that do not pose any actual danger, but you may perceive them as a risk to your life. If you suffer from a phobia, you may experience a variety of emotional and physical symptoms when you think about or encounter your fear. Common symptoms include a racing heartbeat, feelings of panic or fear, difficulty breathing, physical trembling or sweating. Hypnotherapy for phobia can be a successful way of alleviating these symptoms.

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    About Hypnotherapy

    Hypnotherapy has been used as a means of bringing about feelings of deep relaxation and calm for centuries. Before your first session, your hypnotherapist will take a medical history and discuss your current presenting problems, including discussing your phobia as well as any other issues that are going on in your life. Your therapist should then explain exactly what is going to happen during your session. During a hypnotherapy session, you will be guided through a series of relaxation exercises, including deep breathing and guided visualization. These exercises are used to induce a state of extreme relaxation. Contrary to popular belief, however, your therapist will not be able to change your free will or control your mind. Instead, they attempt to re-program your subconscious mind and help you to re-frame negative or fearful thought patterns. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a hypnotherapist is usually a medical professional such as a physician, nurse, social worker or psychologist and should have professional training in hypnotherapy.

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    Hypnotherapy for Phobia

    Hypnotherapy for phobia is generally considered to be an effective treatment for a number of reasons. Your hypnotherapist will first help to uncover the root of your phobia. This is usually most effective when you are in an extremely relaxed state of mind, as you will most likely be less resistant to thinking about the specific cause of your phobia. Hypnosis also helps to desensitize you to your phobia, through re-programming your mind with more realistic and less fearful thoughts and suggestions. You are more receptive to these new thoughts and ideas when you are in a hypnotic state of mind. Your subconscious mind is more accepting of these suggestions than when you are in your normal, waking frame of mind, busy with whatever is going on in your day or whatever you have to do in the future. In hypnosis, you are focused and guided through specific, tangible ideas. You also learn appropriate relaxation responses, such as how to calm yourself when confronted by the fear-provoking stimulus. Hypnosis teaches you how to feel more in control of your life, so that you are not controlled by your phobia.