Phobia Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis for Fears: Beyond the Germanwings Plane Disaster
Yesterday, another plane crashed. An unbelievably terrible loss of life and deep sadness was felt collectively across many nations. According to the BBC website, “A search and recovery operation has resumed in the southern French Alps after Tuesday’s crash of a Germanwings plane with 150 people on board. Officials warn the operation could last for days in a remote mountain ravine between Digne and Barcelonnette.”
Your heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones. And it is natural to think, “How could this happen?”
For those people who had anxiety about flying before, many are experiencing even more uncertainty and dread. Now we’re into Spring and Summer, there is pressure for many of us to get on a plane with loved ones and go on a “proper holiday” abroad. But that sense of fear that’s inside can be pretty intense…
Fears and phobias go by many names, and most of us have something that we don’t like. For example, we might not like flying, public speaking or tightly enclosed spaces.
Recently, I was staying in a hotel. Getting ready to check out with luggage, I got in the lift (elevator). I pressed the ground floor and waited. All of a sudden, the lift malfunctioned. The brakes jammed on and made a huge noise like a crash. And we were suddenly stuck in between floors. My body was jolted backwards, and I was stuck there with my wife. All the electricity apparently went offline as well and none of the buttons that should have lit up to bring someone running were giving signs of working. We were disoriented and alone…Trapped…
It can ruin a person’s life. It can also ruin the lives of those around them.
People who were previously stuck, scared or incapacitated can finally get on with their life.
The good news is that hypnotherapy can help a person let go of a lifetime of fear and anxiety. This is not widely known, as many of the advanced techniques are used only by a relatively small number of experienced hypnotherapy professionals. One of the most rewarding things about being a hypnotherapist is seeing people let go of a lifetime fear or phobia in a short period of time. People who were previously stuck, scared or incapacitated just getting on with their life. I’ve lost count of the number of times my clients have said, “Thank you. I just wanted to feel normal.”
A Lifetime Of Pain, Shame And Misery
Before I explain precisely how hypnosis works, how it can help overcome fears and phobias, I want to take a moment to describe the absolute pain and hell that some of my clients have experienced before they choose to use hypnosis for change. Many of them had suffered for decades, with their accumulated pain getting worse and worse.
The most common and most pervasive fear is public speaking. This can manifest as interview nerves, fear of being in meetings – or even generalise to a fear of being in groups socially and speaking up.
I’ve had clients who were so anxious and stressed about meetings that they have literally “blacked out” in them. I had one client who came to see me because he was so terrified of speaking to his team in a meeting (he was their manager) that he lost consciousness on his way into a weekly team update meeting. I work with professionals who are too frightened to attend a job interview, even though they know they could do the job, everyone tells them they can – and not attending is holding them back from growing, developing and earning more money.
They know it makes no sense, consciously. Instead, they feel an overwhelming emotional urge to avoid meetings, interviews or presentations and run the other way.
After all, who wants to experience pain and fear if you can avoid it?
The problem is, of course, that this eats away at your self-confidence.
Consider my clients who come to see me because they are terrified of flying. The fear is so strong that they have never been on holiday with their partners.
Imagine that! Over 20 or 30 years of marriage and never taking a proper holiday because of an overwhelming out-of-control fear. The stress it puts on people is enormous.
When my clients are finally able to turn up to a panel interview or fly to Cuba (and get on a plane to come home), it is deeply rewarding to see. Fear of flying hypnosis did the trick. Fear of public speaking hypnosis changed their lives.
Or consider this: I have clients who were terrified of going over bridges. This makes travel a nightmare. Some clients are fearful of driving. Others have a fear of dogs. In a city like Cardiff where I live, it is very hard to avoid dogs or bridges. And the planning and effort it takes to try and anticipate these every time you leave the house…is draining.
Where Do Fears Come From?
All fears and phobias have an origin.
Here’s a key insight: All negative feelings have an origin. They all come from a certain point – or several points – in time. Generally they have a single point (an Initial Sensitising Event). This then becomes reinforced through Subsequent Sensitising Events.
You may or may not be aware of the initial event. And even if you are convinced you know where the problems originates, consciously, it probably won’t make a difference in changing the fear.
Because you can’t change emotions, simply by using the conscious mind. If thinking about it and cogitation was going to work, it would have happened already. The conscious mind doesn’t create or maintain fears. But it can play in part in letting change happen!
Years ago, I worked with a man who had a lot of talent singing. Boy could he sing! He now is doing quite nicely in his career. When he came to see me, he was terrified of applying for the X-Factor because he had “performance nerves”. Seeing him get on the show and deliver an outstanding performance reminded me of what a person can do when they let go of a fear.
Fears come from many early childhood experiences, at different ages. Sometimes we know the origin consciously, but dismiss the event as a non-event, as something that were perceive has little significance. It may have no significance to the conscious mind, but still be terrorising the subconscious mind.
We are analysing and trying to think our way out of a subconscious problem. And the conscious mind is very limited in what it can do. It is often stated that the conscious mind can focus on between 5 and 9 pieces of information at any time. The subconscious is vast in comparison, and manages all the information you know, all the internal processes, how to walk, talk and even how to breathe and regulate your heartbeat – with no need for conscious attention. All these nonconscious processes happen automatically. As do our phobic or fear-based responses.
Emotions Are The Core
If the conscious mind is limited, then the real source of the problem and the solution is the subconscious mind. The Subconscious is the seat of all our emotions. And it generalises from specific events.
So, one uncomfortable experience reading in front of a group at school can, over time, turn into something very uncomfortable. Many people don’t realise that the fear is even there because it is not being experience consciously. But slowly slowly (often over a period of many years) it grows inside the subconscious until one day BOOM! A panic attack occurs – as if out of nowhere. And hypnotherapy is the only lasting way to get change that I have seen for these out of control problems because the alternative is prescribed drugs.
Subconscious As Child
A useful metaphor can be to think of the subconscious as a 6 or 7 year old child. In other words, it can require reassurance and quite a lot of direct suggestion to “get it”. It responds well to a clear focus on what you want, and can very easily get frightened. Especially, when it perceives danger or lack of safety early in life. If that happens, it is programmed to look for similar or related situations and put some blocks on place to minimise the likelihood of pain happening again.
Where Do Emotions Live?
Emotions live in the subconscious mind. And when we experience things that are traumatic and painful, then the subconscious tends to bury them and cut them off from conscious awareness. This is sometimes called “denial” and it has a very positive function: to avoid pain, so you feel the relief of safety, and therefore experience peace of mind.
The problem is that to do this requires a burning of certain bridges to the subconscious mind, whilst a portion of your emotional and cognitive energy has to be transferred into keeping the fear hidden. These repressed energies have a debilitating effect because they transfer “power” that would otherwise be used for abilities like being confident, carefree, learning new skills or being able to relax.
It’s like a smartphone. Some apps “bleed” power from battery life. Unless you have a power manager or a battery saver, certain default system settings and apps can drain battery power in just a few hours. You constantly feel like you are playing catch up, keeping on recharging and worried about using the phone for too long.
It’s exactly the same with fears and phobias. The amount of energy that is required to keep them in place is considerable. It drains a person: of energy; of confidence; of the desire to go for the things they really want in life.
Where Do Fears Come From?
Fears, as we’ve said, always have an origin. Most of my clients are keen to analyse and give helpful suggestions, but the conscious mind usually does *not* know the specific origin. And if it does, it is powerless to change it, and often dismisses it as inconsequential.
What the conscious mind can do is agree to learn hypnosis!
All hypnosis puts you in control. I tell my clients, “You will be letting go of this fear or phobia and developing great confidence. Consciously, your job is to say, ‘I like these suggestions. I know this is going to work for me’”. Then we get to work.
Additionally, I teach clients self-hypnosis, so they can progressively attain deeper and deeper levels of relaxation.
Why? Well, it’s great being able to get on a plane. But if you can relax down and enjoy a deep power nap and avoid jet lag, you are more likely to enjoy the overall experience. If you know how to use self-hypnosis to get a better night’s sleep, then you are going to feel a lot better turning up at that interview. You want to know that you are back in charge, and you need to learn how to look after your own subconscious mind.
The reality is that a hypnotist helps you take charge of your mind. And this is truly wonderful.
Hypnotherapy works because it a personal relationship of trust between the client and the hypnotist. A hypnotherapist will use his or her many years of experience, intuition and a range of tools to help you change.
I originally had a background in NLP, training with the 2 co-founders Bandler and Grinder. I went on to learn many of the best hypnotherapists in the world, and I still to this day get my head down and learn new approaches. I want my clients to have the fastest, deepest, most powerful experience of change that is possible. And I work hard to provide that for them.
Hypnotherapy And Regression
We’ve already said that the conscious mind doesn’t know how to solve deep emotional problems. It can use a heightened awareness to help the process, and I personally love Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now approach.
However, the problem with emotions is that they are automatic and nonconscious. So to change them, we need to find a way to access that deeper subconscious level. With intense fears and phobias, we need to do that quickly and reliably, we need to deepen trance to achieve somnambulism, and the deeper states of hypnosis that are possible (Esdaile and Sichort state) and then we need to use the tools to remove the fear at source.
I specialise in a variety of forms of hypnotic regression. The key for clients is not to try and anticipate where a problem came from, but be comfortable with hypnosis. In my newsletter, I provide videos, hypnosis recording and lots of links to articles, so they know exactly what hypnosis is and what it is not. This is a valuable in helping be fully prepared.
It is important to realise that you are always in control during hypnosis. A part of you is always there, observing. Yet, your body relaxes down deeply, as your mind continues to relax. With each breath and each session, you go deeper. In between sessions, you become a master of dropping into hypnosis by yourself using a special technique I teach clients, and an innovative self-hypnosis deepener recording.
To permanently get rid of fears and phobias using hypnotherapy, we need to use regression. We need to release the energy from that initial event and free the energy and pain locked inside the subconscious mind.
This is a wonderful technique where you return back to the original incident, as if it was happening, and I quickly and safely guide you to put distance. Then together we enlist the support and help of your unconscious mind to make changes. You choose to let the pain go.
Why Does Regression Work?
Not only does hypnotic regression work for fears and phobias, but it is great for hair pulling, “knuckle crunching”, nail biting and changing habits.
All habits have an origin (an initial sensitising event). This is always known to the subconscious mind, but not always to the conscious mind. And the conscious mind almost invariably confuses things by trying to analyse, figure it out and paint a complex picture of the story.
Analysis is great for crosswords or work problems (and is the domain of the conscious mind). It is of little value in getting rid of a fear of phobia (the domain of the subconscious mind).
I have a great deal of respect for anyone who wants to overcome a fear. This requires a willingness to dig very deep, be vulnerable, overcome any scepticism about hypnosis and hypnotherapy, believe that change is possible (after what feels like a lifetime of the fear), make a commitment, turn up and change.
This is not easy to decide to do because the instinctive reaction around a fear is to run in the opposite direction. You need to feel safe, at ease and feel ready to change. It definitely helps to have some motivation or sense of the consequences of not taking action now.
Not everyone believes that change is possible. Years ago, I spoke to a psychiatrist who did not believe that it was ever possible to get over a fear of phobia. I do this day in and day out, but his training was that a fear was fixed, and that medication and drugs could manage it a bit better.
I disagree. Fears and phobias are not so difficult to overcome with hypnotherapy for regression. But they do require an iron-clad commitment and determination to get down to business.
What’s The Best Way To Approach Hypnosis And Hypnotherapy?
I always suggest that people get more information and get educated about hypnosis. In fact, I insist on all my clients understanding and learning self-hypnosis, so they understand that they are the ones who have the power to change. Before they come, they usually sign up for my newsletter, try out a recording – and I like to have a phone conversation to find out a little more, and explain what I can do or can’t do – all for free. We can debunk any myths and you get to be clear. Really clear about the way ahead.
I tell my clients, “I want you to be empowered, so my approach is quite different from many other hypnotists. We won’t just be clearing out the problem, but helping you have tools to use hypnosis whenever you need them. I want you to become masterful using self-hypnosis on a daily basis in between sessions. You will be taking an active role in your own evolution and personal development. This is no passive process.”
Recently, I worked with a client to overcome his fear of attending job interviews. He felt such fear that he was “sick inside his stomach at the thought” and he wasn’t intending to turn up. We worked together and…he got the job. He then started to worry about accepting the offer and leaving the (perceived) safety of his current job! I taught him a powerful form of self-hypnosis. As a result, he told me, “Richard, I feel completely relaxed about starting my new job, I am even sleeping right through the night. I feel fantastic now. Thank you.”
You can overcome any fear or phobia, with the right frame of mind, deep motivation and personal reasons to make it happen. Fears and phobias are not permanent but merely old mental imprints that are left in the ego, our sense of who we think we are. The subconscious does this because, at the time, repression was the easiest, simplest and perhaps the only way it knew how to deal with the discomfort.
Now from the perspective of an adult and with greater abilities, learnings and resourcefulness, your subconscious can make new decisions, new options and new choices. This is a wonderful exciting time. You don’t need to live in the light of reflected action any more. You can release and let go of old emotions and memories that are causing the problem to manifest. You deserve to live a life that is free, clear and peaceful.
Last night, a client explained to me that she is free of a sense of dread about interview and presentations after just one session. She asked me, “Is that normal? I am just not worried and feeling that sense of dread. I am using self-hypnosis and relaxing deeply.”
I replied, “Yes, change does not need to take a long time. But we want to reinforce your confidence about making a change, so your conscious mind is reassured. How do you feel?”
“Amazing,” she replied, “Like I have my life back. I just feel calm! I can’t believe I feel this way after just one session.”
At this time, our thoughts are with the loved one of the Germanwings Plane Disaster. I can totally understand how this would also make people feel more frightened and intensify any fear they have. But fear is not something a person has to live with, whether it is a fear of flying, panic attacks or fear of public speaking.
If you would like to find out more, please contact me here for a confidential free discussion about hypnotherapy for fears and phobias.Google+