Magical Phobia Treatments
By Alan B. Densky, CH
Imagine a life controlled by fear and anxiety, where every movement is scrutinized and even the smallest decision is agonized over. Hours are spent examining daily tasks or situations that most people endure easily. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 40 million adults in the United States who suffer from anxiety disorders live this kind of existence.
Concordantly, about 18 percent of Americans have some form of a panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or phobias, such as a social phobia, agoraphobia, or a specific phobia, which embody common fears of things like elevators, heights or germs.
Are you among them? Many people aren't sure how to tell if their natural concerns have morphed into a phobia. A phobia is classified as an irrational fear or dread. When someone encounters a phobia trigger, they may become panicked with increased heart rate and respiration. Commonly, they may begin to feel a choking sensation or their palms get clammy. They might also hear ringing in their ears and find they are unable to focus on their surroundings.
Like any unpleasant sensation, people will go to great lengths to avoid the experiences, things or settings that cause them. If a person has a social phobia, they will evade people, or if it is a common phobia, such as spiders or coffins, people who have a phobia will seek to elude those triggers.
The anxiety disorder phobia can be one of the most complicated to solve because subsequent issues often result from the anxiety phobia relationship, such as depression or substance abuse. In fact, the majority of people who suffer from one anxiety disorder often develop other anxiety disorders.
Though it can be helpful to visit with a mental health professional to diagnose your phobia and understand the cause of it, the most important step is entering into treatment for the anxiety and phobia. There are several therapies for effectively easing a phobia, including drugs, talk therapy, systematic desensitization, hypnotherapy, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Normally, drugs for anxiety and phobia treatment include sedatives, which actually worsen the problem because they do not address the fundamental cause of the phobia. Other mental health professionals prefer to use talk therapy; however, for some people even just talking about their phobia can trigger a panic attack.
Traditional hypnosis—which is simply helping the subject attain a deeply relaxed alpha state of mind and offering post-hypnotic suggestions can be very effective if the person is open to it. However, many people with phobias find it hard to believe that they can feel peaceful and confident when they are faced with the situation that causes their anxiety and related phobia.
Given the challenges and even setbacks of other types of treatment for phobias, systematic desensitization can be an effective treatment. It is a procedure that gradually desensitizes a person to the trigger that causes the anxiety disorder phobia and resulting panic attacks.
Here is an example: A person wants to overcome a phobia of dogs, she is asked to first sit and think about a dog until she is comfortable with the image. Then, she is given a picture of a dog to view. Perhaps she progresses to holding a stuffed dog and so on until she is able to be in the presence of a canine without the panic symptoms—possibly even pet it.
The key point is that, after each step, the client acknowledges that nothing terrible occurred and she is absolutely okay. If at any time she feels fear or panic, the therapist asks her to revert to the previous step until she has regained a sense of security.
Fortunately, there is a way to make this process less painful and frightening: Systematic desensitization can be performed while the client is a relaxed state of hypnosis. While in a relaxed hypnotic trance, the client mentally performs the same actions, but she actually feels very peaceful as she visualizes herself feeling relaxed and comfortable in the anxiety provoking situation.
Just like live systematic desensitization that occurs without the benefit of hypnosis, if she experiences any anxiety regarding her phobia, she is instructed to step back to the previous step. The only drawback is that this method usually requires a lot of time to trigger relief from a phobia.
The fastest and most effective way to eliminate a phobia is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique called a Visual / Kinesthetic Disassociation. It often cures the client of a long-term phobia in just one session. The technique actually programs the client to disassociate, or mentally step outside of themselves at the point that they would normally begin their anxiety attack. The process literally separates the subjective feelings from the mental images that cause the panic attack in the first place.
CONCLUSION: While any phobia treatment that someone undertakes will require work and commitment, systematic desensitization coupled with hypnosis can offer an effective cure. But the NLP Visual / Kinesthetic Disassociation can offer an answer that almost seems magical by allowing the client to overcome the phobia quickly with significantly less—perhaps even no—discomfort or panic.
©2007 By Alan B. Densky, CH.
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