Clearing phobias can be simple, or complex, depending on the person. The phobia itself can also be simple or complex. A simple phobia is basically a specific phobia, while a complex phobia is deeply rooted and effects your life to a larger degree.
Some of the phobias I’ve worked with include claustrophobia, fear of being alone, fear of bees, fear of vomiting, fear of loud noises, fear of heights, fear of boats/boating, fear of the dark, fear of driving, fear of dogs, fear of social situations, fear of germs, among others. Phobias are generally a type of anxiety, and many of the anxiety techniques I use can be applied in these cases.
I recently treated a woman for fear of being alone. This was process involving regression back to a significant event; as well as various techniques to calm the amygdala for more general calm; and techniques to dissociate the woman from her fear. The first instance involved time regression or Timeline therapy. The general calming involved direct suggestion and a range of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques. The dissociative process is something I’d like to explore further here:
Clearing Phobias with the Phobia Cure
The Phobia Cure is also known as the rewind technique. What I love about the Phobia Cure is that it is so simple and effective. It is actually an NLP technique that many hypnotherapists use. Here, the client essentially runs the show for parts of the operation. This is important because the very fact that they are performing the ‘cure’ themselves, rather than just listening to my suggestions, means that they are owning the solution, empowering themselves, and this in itself can put anxiety in its place.
Clearing phobias with the Phobia Cure involves dissecting the traumatising event in detail, playing it backwards and manipulating certain parts of that story in specific ways. By the end of the ‘cure’, the fear factor drops from, say, an eight out of ten, down to a 2 out of ten – this would not be uncommon. This happens because the client has successfully been dissociated from their fear.
I won’t give you instructions because these could be misunderstood and you could do more harm than good. However, the elements of clearing phobias this way involve viewing the scenes of the traumatising even on a screen, as if you are watching a movie, and then viewing them with certain adjustments.
Is the Phobia Cure for Everyone?
I can tell you that if a client is not ready to actually view the scenes involved in his/her phobia, in their mind’s eye, it can actually re-traumatise them, so hypnotherapists need to be extremely careful when doing this. Some phobias are more trauma-based than fear based, being that the shock of the trauma is still with the person. Fear of snakes, on the other hand, just as an example, is often built up into a belief type structure, that snakes are frightening and dangerous, as opposed to a shock response that one might experience after a home invasion or a car accident. Sure you might feel shock when you actually see a snake, but you are not living with that shock day and night.
Some would argue that the Phobia Cure is the go-to technique for trauma and anxiety, but I firmly believe that if someone is still reeling from an event, the shock needs to be dampened first. It may take some time before I would attempt the phobia cure on certain individuals.
Imagine seeing a car accident, up close. Imagine watching someone being effectively dismembered in this crash. Would you want to replay it and study it in detail? Perhaps after some time when the shock has passed you could tackle such horrors to really now address the fear left over, perhaps a fear of driving. Imagine the horrors of war, and some of the haunting imagery left with the soldiers on the ground. Remove the shock and then tackle the flashbacks would be my approach, and probably in two very separate stages.
On the other hand, I have performed the Phobia Cure for simple phobias, as opposed to horrendous traumas, countless times. However, in regards to trauma, I have performed the Phobia Cure on past traumas many times. For example, such as trauma might be related to sexual abuse that happened a long time ago, where the trauma of the assaults had passed but the person is still left with fear of intimacy or other impacts.
So if you have past trauma that you are trying to shift, or phobias that are stunting your life now, the Phobia Cure might be for you. If you have recent trauma, and need help dampening the shock, we have other approaches that could help.