Do you fear spiders, bugs, elevators, germs, flying, or public speaking? While it can be life debilitating, you are not a lone. If you want to be rid of your fears, phobias or PTSD, there is help.
You can experience an event once (like having a spider, jump on you as a child) and if the emotion of fear is strong enough, that is all it takes to create a phobia.
PTSD is the same: you only have to be involved in one scary car crash to be traumatized for life (getting flashbacks etc). People can develop a phobia about anything at all, from spiders to belly buttons. Anxiety and fear is a normal response
The purpose is to alert us to possible danger. These signals cause physiological changes in the body. Sometimes the part of the brain in which associations are made become hypersensitive to particular cues. If the original fear was sufficiently intense, it can become as if your brain is stuck on scared to death.
This process works by generalizing, linking a highly emotional event with stimuli that’s present. For instance, the wind blowing in a certain way can become a trigger. A certain smell can become a trigger. In addition, normal daily stress makes it worse.
As an example: if you got bad news while at a party where balloons were present you might develop a phobia of balloons. Or if a mugger wore a black shirt when they mugged you, you may get a phobia for black shirts or even for black. If you have developed a fear of bridges, seeing a picture of a bridge or even just a thought about a bridge, for instance, can trigger your phobic response.
The same process causes all fears, phobias and PTSD. Phobias and PTSD used to be thought of as different. The process that creates these problems is the same and so is the treatment.
The ability to become very scared quickly is what kept humans alive in primitive times. When we are frightened our brain switches over to an ancient part of the brain, bypassing the logical function and connecting directly with our ability to move.
It’s called Emotional Hijacking and physiologically, that’s exactly what happens.
With an anxiety disorder such as a phobia or PTSD, the trigger may be external or internal, and provokes some sense of fear, dread, danger or threat. Though the sufferer knows that the threat is not realistic and out of proportion to an extreme degree, he has no conscious control over his reaction.
Luckily we can retrain the brain to raise the threshold and become less sensitized to your triggering event. We can learn to trigger a calm attack just as we trained ourselves to trigger a phobic attack.
Hypnosis creates anxiety-free relaxation and desensitization. Originating triggers are discovered and the client is taught self-hypnosis. The habitual phobic response to the stressing event is broken and replaced with a calm, more rational behavior. Hypnosis has had a long and successful history treating PTSD and phobia.
Susan French has received specialized training in panic attacks, anxiety, and phobias using the 5Path Hypnosis Technique from Cal Banyan, Phobia Certification from HMI and the American Hypnosis Association, the National Guild of Hypnotists, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, and Phobias training from Uncommon Knowledge in the UK.
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