What is phobia, where it comes from and why one irrationally gets unreasonably anxious, avoiding activities that in the past could be a norm? What can be done to enjoy life to the full again?
Where Phobia is Formed
All phobias are linked to place in the brain called the Amygdala. Phobias could be so debilitating that my clients sometimes make a joke, “Can you do a surgery on my brain, I don’t want this part anymore.” Amygdala’s purpose is to keep us alive, alerting us to threats, helping to survive. Traumatic memories get encoded in that “almond shaped” mass of nuclei, not only recognising ceratin stimuli or cues as dangerous, but also plays a role in the storage of threatening stimuli to the memory.
The amygdala receives information directly from the sensory modalities (or representational systems in Neuro-Linguistic Programming) that humans use to process the external world. Three of our five animal senses dominate mental processing in Western culture:
1) visual – sight, mental imagery, meaning itself
2) auditory – sound, rhythm, speech, dialog, silence
3) kinesthetic – movement, balance, feelings in the body, temperature, pressure, texture, and emotion .
Two other senses are gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell) appear less often in mental processing and memory.
When the gathered information comes together, or converge, in the amygdala, it then creates the output to all the systems involved in the emotional reactivity. So, when you encounter sudden danger, you might freeze, your blood pressure and heart rate begin to rise, stress hormones are released, all of these things happen as a result of outputs of the amygdala.
- social phobia: fear of interacting with other people
- agoraphobia: fear of open public spaces
- emetophobia: fear of vomiting
- erythrophobia: fear of blushing
- driving phobia: fear of driving
- hypochondria: fear of illness
- aerophobia: fear of flying
- arachnophobia: fear of spiders
- zoophobia: fear of animals
- claustrophobia: fear of confined spaces
Professor Isaac Marks of King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry states, “Phobia a disabling condition that affects about 8% of the UK population at some point in their lives.”
How Phobia is Created
Primarily, a phobia (emotional trauma) is created during an emotionally charged event.
It requires four components for a moment to become activated (traumatised):
1) The event itself i.e. a terrible experience
2) Meaning of the event i.e. having a deep attachment to the outcome “I may die”
3) Landscape of the brain must be susceptible i.e. frightened
4) The moment must feel inescapable.
These 4 components occurring simultaneously create an encoding moment.
Phobia, the response, produced by the amydgala in brain has only one objective: to flee or defend against a fearful object or situation, protecting and keeping us safe.
Phobias vary in severity among human beings. Some people can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer relatively mild anxiety over that fear. Others suffer full-fledged panic attacks with all the associated disabling symptoms. Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but feel powerless to override their panic reaction, often noticing that it gets worse.
Help with Phobia, Fear and Panic Attacks in Norwich, UK or worldwide via Skype
Several therapies and techniques have been developednto create a change from an emotional discomfort or a traumatic disorder to wellness. Approved by NHS, the longest and least effective one is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. That talking therapy slowly and gradually exposes the patient to the actual, feared stimulus.
In my private practice I use a combination of modern rapid change techniques such as Time Line Therapy™, Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Eye Movement Integration™ and Hypnotherapy. Phobia can be resolved in a few sessions without requiring clients to actively relive a haunting fearful memory.
The overall process involves discovering the initial emotional event that created the traumatisation and stimulating the disruption of the encoded memory. Combining the patterns of reassurance, dissociation, kinesthetic touch, tapping on the end points of the body’s energy meridians, rotating eyes to access recorded information in all its multisensory I lead the client to integrating and resolving the distressing experiences, reducing the intensity of an emotion, eliminating unwanted responses, anchoring positive feelings and then though hypnosis establishing calm and enjoyable relaxation until the remaining negative emotions fully dissolve. As a result of that process phobia cannot be retained as an emotional trauma but only as a simple memory without an emotional charge to it.
The efficacy and rapidity of these modern based on ancient wisdom techniques derives from our ability to help the mind do precisely what it was designed to do: heal itself using its own limitless inner resources.
By Irina Valentino, Clinical Hypnotherapist
For Free 30 min consultation contact on 01603 665173 or email irina at irinavalentino.com
- Dr. Steven J. Ruden DDS, BSc Hom “Amygdala Depotentiation Therapy”
- Danie Beaulieu, PhD “Eye Movement Integration Therapy: An introduction to the treatment of traumatic and distressing memories”