Your brain wiring is powerful.
Did you know that there are far more connections in your brain than there are stars in the galaxy? Information crosses these connections at approximately 268 miles per hour, which partly explains automatic phobic reactions and why I used to leap, lightning fast, at the first sign of a spider.
Irrational? Absolutely, but so automatic and ingrained that, in the moment, there is little room for an alternative, appropriate and rational reaction. Sufferers from a phobia typically know that their fear is irrational, but nonetheless, they cannot control it.
Step One: Sensitizing Event
An irrational fear is a learned behaviour, often beginning early in your life. Initially it is likely that you experienced a ‘sensitizing event’, which started or caused the problem. Over time, ‘secondary sensitizing events’ may occur, compounding the problem and making it worse.
Step Two: Secondary Sensitizing Event(s)
As time goes by, these secondary sensitizing events (together with your own thoughts and behaviour) will reinforce your brain connections associated with the phobia and connections develop and grow stronger.
Pathways to Racetracks
Brain signals become stronger and faster, until little pathways become super-fast racetracks. So, the more you think about spiders, the stronger you phobia can become.
Phobias therefore are an example of your brain ‘mis-firing’ and fusing together two unassociated things e.g. an object (spider, aeroplane, snake etc.) and your reaction (fear).
It’s easy to see how irrational a phobia is, since often the thing, or situation is entirely harmless, yet, due to the association in your mind, you cannot exert any conscious control over your automatic reaction.
To make matters worse, as your brain, can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined, just thinking about your phobia can fire your brain into life and trigger the real, physical phobic symptoms, such as sweating, trembling and dizziness.
Phobias are extremely common and because they are linked to our unconscious and are irrational, overcoming a phobia is ideally suited to hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy Can Help
During a hypnotherapy session, we will identify how you would instead like to behave i.e. what do you want to happen. Then, we will identify the root cause of the phobia and work on a positive automatic reaction enabling you to react in a calm manner to a situation you once feared. Visualisation and relaxation techniques to assist with desensitisation are used and new habits are formed.
Personally, whilst I still dislike spiders, after just a one hour hypnotherapy session with a trained therapist, I can calmly deal with most situations that arise. I no longer think that spiders are out to get me, anticipate seeing one as I approach a sink or bath or shriek for help when I see one in the house.
A major step in the right direction!