Did you know that everything would be okay if we only had one mind each? But in actual fact I’m frequently heard saying “We have one brain, with two minds”. The conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is your intellectual mind, it likes fact and it comes up with the correct assessment of any given situation. The other mind, your subconscious mind, is emotionally driven and is powerfully focused on your survival. It’s there to keep you safe. Therefore it can frequently come up with the opposite response to the conscious mind. Whereas the conscious mind might think ‘Flying is the safest form of transport’, the subconscious will be looking for the nearest exit to flea if you’re fearful of flying.
Remember when that plane was magnificently landed in the Hudson River by Chesley Sullenberger? At the time I had a fear of flying, so when someone said “Isn’t that fantastic”, I responded “That’s another darned good reason not to get on a plane”! We’re looking at the same situation, but from two totally different perspectives.
So how do we deal with phobias using hypnotherapy? Well it depends on the phobia as there are two types of phobia. There is the simple specific phobia where a person reacts negatively when they come into contact with the thing that causes fear, i.e. dentists, needles, flying, spiders, etc. Then there’s the more complex non-specific phobia which causes fear and anxiety continually. An example is Emetophobia - a fear of being sick, considered to be one of the most common phobias in the world. It can affect the sufferer in ways such as not wanting to collect their children from school in case that child is feeling ill. This phobia can even stop someone having chemotherapy because of the fear of sickness, they’d prefer to take their chances with the cancer!
Another non-specific phobia is a fear of driving, unless there’s been a specific incident that triggered the fear, such as an accident. But rarely do people understand the difference between specific and non-specific fears and that’s important in order to choose the right hypnotherapy treatment.
One of the basic features of any phobia is a conflict between the conscious and the subconscious. I say “Conversation talks to the conscious minds, whilst hypnosis talks to the subconscious”. This means we can filter through to the client’s subconscious about how they want to be rather than how they currently are.
If a phobia is a specific phobia, i.e. spider or flying, then it’s usually a pretty quick fix of 4 sessions. If it’s a non-specific phobia, then it may take quite a few more sessions depending on what life is throwing at that person at that time.
The good news is either sort can be fixed! So you can enjoy wondering how it would be to get on that plane looking forward to the flight (as I do now every month when going to lecture in Belfast), or to pick up that spider and throw it out of the window, or whatever phobia you have, wondering how good it would be if you didn’t have it anymore!
Nicola Griffiths runs the Cirencester Hypnotherapy Centre in Dyer Street which has a choice of six solution focused hypnotherapists who have specialist training in helping people overcome phobias. Visit www.cirencesterhypnotherapycentre.co.uk/hypnotherapy