Friday, 28 August 2009

Names of Phobias.

The word Phobia comes from the Greek Phobos which means fear or great fear. In my researches I have found lists of the names of dozens and dozens of phobias and it appears you can be phobic of just about anything.

Some of the more familiar names of phobias are: Agoraphobia (the fear of open spaces), Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), Acrophobia (the fear of heights), Ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes) and Claustrophobia (the fear of confined spaces).

Some of the more unusual include: Asymmetriphobia (the fear of asymmetrical things), Pediophobia (the fear of dolls), Anglophobia (the fear of Englishness), Barophobia (the fear of Gravity), Acarophobia (the fear of itching), Geliophobia (the fear of laughter), Politicophobia (the fear of politicians) on second thoughts perhaps that ones not so unusual, Dextrophobia (the fear of things on the right side of the body), Kathisophobia (the fear of sitting down), Phronemophobia the fear of thinking), and even Phobophobia (the fear of phobias).

Apropriately enough the longest name for any phobia that I have found so far is Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia - the fear of long words! It certainly scares the hell out of me !

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Arachnophobia - Watch the spiders don't get you!

I have read that the number one most common phobia is the phobia of spiders. Many, many people have a fear of spiders but it varies in intensity from person to person. Some just have a mild dislike whilst at the other extreme others will only have to see a photograph of a spider to have an extreme reaction. Some people may have panic attacks or do anything to avoid spiders such as having another person check a room for spiders before they enter it themselves. Accidents have been caused by a person seeing a spider in their car and it has been known for people to try and jump out of a moving car to get away from one. The condition can be so severe that it can lead to Agoraphobia with the person not even wanting to leave their house in case they encounter a spider.

Some of the things that people particularly dislike about spiders are:

1/ Their size
2/ Black colouration
3/ Their big bottoms
4/ The length of their legs
5/ The way they move.

Fortunately, the condition can be helped very effectively with therapies such as Hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).

In South America tribes such as the Piaroa Indians actually catch cook and eat large bird eating spiders. There is also a history of spiders being eaten in Europe. The French author Reaumur new a certain young lady who would eat all the spiders she could find. For some unknown reason it seems that spiders are mostly eaten by women. W.S.Bristowe, author of The World of Spiders, reported that he had eaten cooked Tarantulas but was amazed by a lady called Miss Jennifer Walker who insisted that common British spiders were delicious when eaten raw. One particular afternoon they each sampled 5 different species. I don't recommend trying this yourself.

It seems, therefore, that spiders have far more to fear from us than we have from them. My sense of humour being what it is I can imagine a young spider running to his mother shouting, "Mum! Mum! Come quick! There's a Human in the bath. I have this vision of a big spider and a little spider peering over the side of a bath at a tiny Human sat by the plug hole!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hypnotherapy for phobias.

I am a qualified Hypnotherapist and was priviledged to do training with two of the finest trainers in Hypnotherapy at that time, Wilf Proudfoot and Stephen Brooks.

Hypnotherapy is very powerful and can be very effective in the treatment of phobias. Hypnosis, or what may be termed a trance, is a perfectly natural state that we go in and out of many times a day every day. A hypnotherapist is a facilitator of hypnosis and when in a 'trance' you are always in control and can usually remember everything that happens. Here are just three of the benefits of hypnosis:

1) It is very relaxing and has been proven to lower your blood pressure and release any tension in the muscles.

2) Hypnosis can reduce the amount of hormones produced by stress.

3) It can be used to treat many ailments and conditions in addition to phobias.

We often talk about the conscious and unconscious minds. Our conscious mind is the mind we use in our everyday awareness of the things we are 'conscious' of. If I ask you to become aware of how your right foot feels you can do that but previously you were not consciously aware of it because your conscious mind was reading this article. You unconscious mind keeps your body working so you don't consciously have to bother. It controls things such as your heart rate, breathing and hunger. It is also a storehouse of everything that has ever happened to you.

The conscious mind rationalises and considers whether something is true or not. The conscious mind cannot rationalise and will eventually accept as true anything it is told often enough. I remember many years ago I visited someone who had not seen for a few years this lady had been very intelligent, confident and had a good job but in our conversation on that occasion she told me several times how useless she was. I was totally shocked at the difference in her. By frequently telling her she was useless someone had programmed her to think she was useless. Unfortunately this may have been her husband or his mother. This is what we mean by the power of suggestion and is why we must be so careful about the thoughts we think and change any negative thoughts for positive ones. We must also, as this case shows, be very careful about what we allow others to tell us or suggest to us and thus programme us with.

The conscious mind is like a guardian for the subconscious mind protecting it from negativity but as the above case shows it can be bypassed eventually. In hypnosis it can be bypassed easily as it is relaxed or distracted so the hypnotherapist can use suggestions to programme the subconscious mind in positive way to overcome a phobia or many other conditions. Such is the power of hypnotherapy that after treatment you may even laugh at how silly you were to have, for example, a phobia of spiders.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Social Phobia

People with Social Phobia have a chronic fear of being out in public or in situations where they have to mix with other people. They feel that people may be watching them and judging them and that they may be embarassed or humiliated. This phobia can interfere with normal life and prevent people from enjoying the happy and varied life that they deserve. It may even lead to Agoraphobia.

Social phobia can be limited to just one type of situation, such as public speaking or eating in front of others, or it may be more severe where people may experience symptoms in any situation where they are around other people.

Some of the physical symptoms associated with social phobia include: Blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea and other stomach discomfort. These physical symptoms can worsen the fear of disapproval and fear of the symptoms can create a viscious circle. People worry about experiencing the symptoms and thus increase their chances of developing the symptoms. Social phobia can often run in families and may be accompanied by alcohol dependence and depression.

In the United States 3.7 percent of the population, about 5.3 million people, aged between 18 to 54 has social phobia in any given year. It occurs in women twice as often as it occurs in men but men are more likely to seek help for the disorder.

There is continuing research into the causes of social phobia. Some of these investigations implicate an area of the brain called the amygdala as being the site that controls fear responses. Studies with animals have found that in some cases social phobia can be inherited and is therefore genetic. Some scientists are exploring the concept that a heightened sensitivity to disapproval may be physiologically or hormonally based. Others are investigating environmental influences on developing social phobia in that people may acquire their fear from observing the behaviour and consequences of others. This is a process called observational learning or social modelling.

So what treatments are available? Well as a qualified Hypnotherapist and practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) I would naturally recommend both of those therapies. They are very effective and can be used separately or NLP techniques can be combined with hypnosis. Other techniques include the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Again this is something I have trained in and highly recommend. You can also try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), group therapy and family therapy. There are also drug treatments available for which you should consult your own doctor. Whatever happens seek help and advice. There is no need to suffer unnecessarily.