Phobias are often funny things aren't they? How is it that the sight of a spider can make a grown person desperate to get out of the room? Or the sound of a dog barking can generate intense panic? Or even,as was the case with one client I worked with, the thought of being somewhere with balloons was enough to make him avoid places.

Logically you know that you are not in physical danger. Yet somehow out of your logical control all that fear kicks in - you may feel faint, sick, sweaty, on edge or any of the other symptoms associated with panic and fear. You may even suffer panic attacks.

And having learnt to experince all that fear and those feelings in relation to your phobia, you'll have soon found how reliable your keeping safe reactions are when in other similar situations.

How To End Your Phobia

There are some people out there who advocate the 'face your fear' method of phobia freedom - go and hold a tarantula, drive onto the motorway, go to a dogs home and so on. For some that may work, but the levels of discomfort and panic you have to go through in the hope of feeling better can be overwhelming.

The key is to use the power of your imagination to disable the emotion of fear. 

phobias-and-fears

As a starting point (I would always suggest going to see someone who is trained in phobias), you can at least reduce the hold your phobia has over you by following these steps:

1) Get yourself into a very relaxed state. Use self hypnosis, mindfulness, deep breathing or any other method you know to physically and mentally relax for a few minutes.

2) While very relaxed, imagine watching yourself in one of those situations where you used to feel panic. However, see yourself acting and reacting calmly, confidently and in control. Pick an easier situation, for example, with a spider phobia you may watch yourself looking at a picture of a spider in a magazine. Make sure you can see your head and shoulders like you were watching a movie someone had recorded and was playing back to you.

3) If you are doing this right, you should feel physcially relaxed and ok while watching yourself handle the situation.

4) Repeat over and over until you feel ok about that first, easier situation.

This process won't be right for everyone - after all, I don't know your situation, history or impact of your phobia. However, if used carefully it can help to start to reduce the fear and panic you used to feel.

Daniel Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk