Tag Archives: phobia

The Harry Potter approach to fear

spider phobia

I’m guessing most of you have seen at least some of the Harry Potter films.

If you haven’t, go and check them out immediately – they’re ace!

In one of the films the students are asked to use a spell to defeat a monster that manifests itself as the young wizard’s greatest fear. For one of them, the greatest fear they had was that of spiders.

Arachnophobia.

It’s pretty common.

The way that the creature is dealt with is by using the ‘Riddikulus’ spell. You imagine it being as ridiculous as you can.

I think they’re onto something here.

Can you honestly be scared of something that you find funny?

If you’re scared of spiders, try giving it a silly name, with a funny voice. Hear it talking to you asking to be your friend. Put it in some strange outfit or think about it being drunk or scared. Play with the ideas in your imagination.

The weird thing about your subconscious (well, one of the weird things) is that it has trouble distinguishing real memories from imagined ones. If you play around with this concept often enough it starts to remember spiders as silly and funny rather than scary.

Now, isn’t that ridiculous!

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Food Phobia – Fussy Eating and it’s causes

Most of the people I see as a Hypnotherapist come to me for something to do with food.

For the vast majority of those people it’s that they would like to not eat so much of it. They want to change their relationship with food so that they are in charge and so that they can easily say no to junk food and eat in a more healthy way.

For some people it’s that they would like to eat more. They either have some obsessive compulsive behaviour around food (separating foods out, liquidising food, not allowing foods to touch, feeling sick at the thought of eating certain foods etc. etc.) Anorexic and bulimic behaviours also fall into this category but are often more complicated and have underlying emotional issues that need to be resolved alongside them.

A lot of people that fall into the ‘eat more’ group have had a negative experience when eating food. Quite often that was a choking incident and it has left them with a fear of eating. Almost all phobias are learned responses. We can learn them from the people around us (you tend to find that kids who have parents who are scared of spiders will continue that phobia themselves), or we can learn them through experience (something scared us, hurt us or upset us in some way). The initial scary event is often referred to as the sensitizing event of the phobia. Normally this is followed up some time later by a confirming event. Let’s say for instance you choked on a piece of steak. That initial choking is the sensitizing event. The next time you go to eat steak, you remember that you choked last time and are a little apprehensive. This causes your mouth to dry up, your throat to tighten slightly and your heart rate to increase. You notice this and it causes increased anxiety which in turn causes the anxiety to kick up a notch. The increase in adrenaline in your system makes you feel a bit queasy – like that sick feeling you get before you go on stage – but you link that churning stomach to the steak.  Now you have a phobia.

One of the common mistakes parents make when they have a child who is a fussy eater is to accept this behaviour. They can start to accommodate the child’s preference for this or that or their dislike of certain foods. By changing the foods that they give the child, they are confirming that they had a reason to refuse it in the first place. This in effect becomes confirming behaviour and leads to food issues. The other common mistake is to fight with the child and attempt to make them eat it. Now the confirming event is that every time the food that they don’t like is put in front of them, there will be stress and confrontation.

So what do you do?

Current thinking is that the best way to deal with a child who is a fussy eater is to continue to give them the foods they dislike if you are having them as part of a family meal. If they choose to leave them, don’t make a big deal of it. They just get less food. If they see their parents and siblings enjoying that food they are much more likely to give it a try and they have no negative associations with it.

If you are an adult who has developed food phobias in the past – get help! The world of food is an enjoyable one. As with any other phobia Hypnotherapy offers great success in getting rid of it for ever – what are you waiting for?

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How to influence people

My Job is to influence people.

I’m a Hypnotherapist and people pay me to influence the way they think and feel, so I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

One of the least successful methods to get anyone to change is to tell them to, yet that seems to be what most people do most of the time.

Another thing people think will work is to explain things to people. They believe that if the other person just understands that what they are thinking/doing is wrong then they will change their behaviour. Unfortunately, this rarely works either. Take smoking for instance. We all know that smoking is damaging to us, and that we are likely to suffer ill health if we do it, yet there are still millions of smokers in the world. Telling them so stop doesn’t work. Explaining that it is bad for them doesn’t work. So what does?

Generally speaking, the best way of influencing someone (who isn’t hypnotised) is by leading by example.

If someone has a phobia of spiders there is a pretty good chance they were influenced into this way of thinking by someone close to them who was also scared of spiders. They saw this person freak out and subconsciously decided that this was a good way to react. Conversely if a person with an existing phobia is surrounded by people who are calm and relaxed around spiders, they may start to feel more relaxed themselves.

I had a client the other day who desperately wanted their partner to come for a hypnotherapy session with me. The partner was adamant that it wasn’t for them and refused point blank to even think about it. So my client booked 3 sessions with me to work on an issue she had. She went home after each session and told her partner how good it was making her feel and how much she was gaining from it. By the third session, he was asking if he could take her place.

When I was 11 years old I was told by a headmaster that the best piece of advice he could give me was to choose my friends wisely. It was a great piece of advice. Not only have my friends helped me through some difficult times and made good times better, but they have also influenced me. They have shaped my ideas and beliefs, they have led by example and I have learned so much from them. If I had chosen other friends, who knows where my life would have taken me. My advice to you would be to choose friends you respect. Choose friends you care about. Choose friends you want to be like.

If you want to influence someone be the example. Be their friend and show them by your words and more importantly your actions how good life can be. Show them what it is to be strong, caring, committed, healthy, reliable, responsible, fun, interesting and non judgemental. It may take some time, but you will be amazed at the impact it can have.

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How to stop thinking

brainworm

Have you ever had a thought that just won’t go away?

Maybe it’s the thought that something is going to happen, or not going to happen.

Maybe it’s the thought of needing to do something that you don’t really want to do.

Maybe it’s an argument that you keep playing over and over again in your head.

Whatever it is there are some tricks that are worth knowing if you really want to get the thought out of your head.

Just get on with it.

Our brains have this annoying habit of not letting go of something that has been left incomplete. Various studies have shown this to be true, and it is a technique hypnotists, like myself, use to get you to remember something in your subconscious. Once the task has been completed our brains file it as done and forget about it. So, if you have a nagging thought about doing your taxes, cleaning the loft, having a conversation with someone – just do it!

Stop thinking of Pink Elephants.

Ok, so if I tell you to not think of a pink elephant, the first thing your brain does is bring up the idea of a pink elephant. It has then failed to NOT think of a pink elephant, so it will then keep reminding you of it (see the above point). You can complete the action by deciding that you want to think about pink elephants for a minute. When the minute is up, you have completed the task and your brain can file it as done – no more pink elephants!

Plan to think about Pink Elephants.

If you can’t think about Pink Elephants now (or whatever it is you don’t want to think about) make a decision to think about Pink Elephants at a certain time. Write it down, schedule it in. Your brain can now file this under another heading – it’s not done yet, but you know when it will be, so you can stop thinking about it.

Do something that takes ALL of your concentration.

Your brain is amazing, but it can’t do too many things at once – not even if you’re a girl! By doing a task that really takes concentration you will forget about the pink elephants.

Talk about the Pink Elephants.

Talk about them, write about them, sing about them, draw pictures of them. Make use of friends, family, religious leaders, doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists, bar tenders, co-workers, the woman who serves you at the supermarket, the guy who delivers your Pizza – who ever and where ever you can, go on about the Pink Elephants until even you’re so bored of them that you don’t want to think about them any more.

Self Hypnosis

I wrote a post a while ago called let it go with hypnosis – check it out! It’s a really useful technique to get an unwanted thought out of your head – what have you got to lose?

And if all else fails, maybe you should try a little professional help – It’s what I’m here for!

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Friday Feeling

Every Friday I try to post a good news story – hopefully something a little inspirational.

The picture above is a guy called James Harrison of Australia, also known as the “man with the golden arm”.

He is a superhero.

Over the course of 57 years, he has saved the lives of over 2.2 million babies.

At the age of 14, Harrison underwent major chest surgery, requiring over 3 gallons of blood. Realizing the blood had saved his life, he made a pledge to start donating blood as soon as he could.

Harrison started donating in 1954, and after the first few donations, it was discovered that his blood contained an unusually strong and persistent antibody which cured Rhesus disease, the most common form of  haemolytic disease of newborns (HDN). This uniqueness was considered so important, that his life was insured for $1 million after this discovery.

Your blood may or may not be as unique as this guys, but to someone it could be the difference between life and death. If you or someone you know has ever received a blood transfusion, or had surgery where blood was needed, you already know what a difference it makes.

I urge you to give blood if you can. It doesn’t hurt, it’s so simple ad it’s the easiest way you could be a superhero today.

If you’re scared of needles, get some help. There are plenty of therapies available that can help you. My favourite is, of course, Hypnotherapy, but others are available too.

So check out your local blood donation service and become a superhero.

Have a great weekend

🙂

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Spider Season

In the UK we are fortunate not to have a real spider problem – that is unless you have arachnophobia.

There are varying figures reported for how may people are affected by fear of spiders, but it seems to me that the numbers are quite large. It varies from a paralysing fear at just looking at a picture to just not wanting to pick one up, but it affects a LOT of people.

We are just about to enter ‘Spider Season’

This is the time of year when we are most likely to see our friendly house spiders on the move. They are one of the larger species of spider we have, though they pose no direct danger to us. I say direct danger, because I have heard of people doing themselves all sorts of injuries trying to get away from them, from tripping over, to falling down stairs. In reality, the danger is our own fear, not the oblivious arachnid.

So why do they suddenly appear in September and October?

I rather naively thought they were coming in to get out of the cold, but it turns out they live in your house all year round. They are normally quite shy and much more careful about revealing themselves. The rather amusing or disturbing truth (depending on point of view) is that they are on the search for a mate. This is their breeding season and as shy retiring little creatures they normally stay away from hysterical humans, but their primal drives force them out of hiding in search of their perfect partner.

So next time you see a stranded spider stuck in your sink, or dashing out from under your sofa, don’t reach for the slipper with murder in mind – see him for what he is, (for he is, indeed, likely to be male) a slightly frustrated desperate little dude, just trying to find a girl…

If that’s not enough to help you get over your fear, maybe try a therapy. There are many very effective solutions available from exposure therapy to Hypnotherapy.

Don’t live your life in fear and don’t teach it to your kids – You’ll be happier and so will the spiders 🙂

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Know your Talking Therapies

Do you know your Therapies?

There are so many ways that we can alter how we feel, what we think and how we behave, how do you choose the right one for you?

A good starting point is to have an understanding of them and what the benefits they offer.

The following is a brief summary of the benefits offered by some of the more popular talking therapies available…


Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

The benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy include the speed that it works, its simplicity to understand and its effectiveness as a therapy. There is very little (if any) need to understand the causes or roots of an issue, so can be used very effectively where a cause is not known e.g. a phobia that a client has had for as long as they can remember. C.B.H. works on changing the way the client thinks in order to change emotions or behaviours. It has a huge variety of uses including, but not limited to, phobia cure, Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour modification, habit change, anxiety and confidence strengthening

NLP

NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming is the use of language to effect positive change for the client. By examining their use of language, modifying it and using various visualisation techniques the client learns to change their responses. One of the benefits of this therapy is that the client can practice a lot of these techniques on their own. It is commonly used for phobia cure, confidence building, motivation, accelerates learning and habit change.

EFT

EFT or Emotional Freedom Therapy uses tapping to reduce an unwanted feeling. This feeling can be fear, as in the case of a phobia, or a compulsion as in the case of an addiction or obsessive behaviour. As with NLP one of the benefits is that a client can practice this technique on their own, as and when they feel the need. It is also useful for a client who finds it difficult or uncomfortable to be hypnotised.

Person Centred Counselling

Person Centred Counselling can be used for any type of issues. The key benefit is that the client will often dictate the pace. Also if the client is anxious or has confidence issues then they may feel more at home with this as they may feel more in control.

Regression

Regression is a particularly useful technique if the client has a problem which they are aware of starting at a specific point in their life. Regression can help the client to look back and understand things in a different way allowing them to move forward in a more positive way. This is often linked to things like emotional eating or a phobia, but can also be used to help physical issues such as psoriasis.


There is so much choice available, there is certainly something that will suit you.

Good luck with your Journey

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What are the chances?

chances hypnotherapy

Have you ever done the lottery?

Have you ever imagined what you would do with all the money if you won?

We’re you utterly devastated when your numbers didn’t come up?

Did you know that the odds of getting all 6 numbers in the lottery (without the bonus ball) are almost 14 million to one? Did you also know that in the UK there are about 124,000 heart attacks each year. That means that you are a lot more likely to have a heart attack on your way to buy your ticket, than you are of actually winning? Does that stop people? NO! and nor should it, though you might want to think about a low fat diet and a bit of exercise!

The thing is, we don’t always think logically.

We don’t weigh up the odds and take the most sensible course of action, particularly when our emotions get involved. Worry, Phobias, Fear and Anxiety are the negative sides to this. CBT  or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy used to help people with these issues. One of the things it tries to teach people is how to look at the risk factors – the chances of things happening. For example, is someone has a fear of flying they may believe that if they go up in an aeroplane, that there is a high risk of them dying. In reality that risk is incredibly small. If they start to look at the numbers they will soon realise that there is much more danger to them getting to and from the airport, than they will ever face when the plane is in the air. This can be really hard for people to accept though, because they focus on their fears.

Do you ever play slot machines? If you play occasionally there is a chance (though small) that you may come away with more money than you put in. If you play regularly or consistently (particularly on the same machine) then the chances of you ‘winning’ reduce with every game you play. The machines are created to make money, therefore the odds are built in that it will take more than it gives out. Do you think this stops people from playing? Take a look around any large casino and you will quickly see that the answer is No, because people focus on the wins.

Sometimes if someone has been hurt in a relationship they will avoid getting into similar relationships as they believe the same thing will happen again. Their focus is on the Pain.

If you have a fear or anxiety about something happening it’s worth trying to think about it logically, and if you can’t do that then speak to someone who can put it into a different perspective for you. Therapists are useful for this as they have no personal agenda, but friends and family can be great too. Listen to what they have to say, weigh up the odds, focus on the positive and ask yourself…

What are the chances?

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Fear and Loathing in Coventry (or anywhere else for that matter)

phobia hypnotherapy

A lot of people have Phobias. I mean, A LOT. I would go as far as to say most people, in fact.

A phobia is an irrational fear. Some people thinks they haven’t got phobias because they think their fear is rational:

Of course I’m scared of spiders/snakes/jellyfish/wasps/bees etc – they can sting/bite me!

Of course I’m scared of heights – I could fall!

Of course I’m scared of Birds/rats/cats/dogs – they could be carrying a disease!

Of course I’m scared of Flying – we could crash!

Of course I’m scared of bridges – they could collapse!

but of course to those of us who aren’t scared, they seem pretty irrational.

It has been said that we are born with 2 fears, and 2 fears only – Loud noises and falling, but to be honest, I’m a bit dubious of that as I have seen babies that will only sleep in noisy environments and lots of tots love being ‘dropped’ or thrown around in play with their parents.

Everything else is a learned response.

It may be learned from our parents: Most kids have the same phobias as at least one of their parents.

It may from friends or from other social interaction (particularly school): If a pre school class is shown a large spider they tend to be fascinated, but if one kid gets scared or upset, it affects most of the others.

It may be from experience:something bad happens, usually we get hurt or given a fright and we are wary of it from then on. If the negative experience is repeated or if behaviour changes because of it, we are in phobia territory.

The great thing about this is, what can be learned, can be unlearned! There a various techniques to getting over a phobia varying from exposure to the thing you’re scared of to more subtle methods like hypnosis and NLP. So whether you want to get over your fears for yourself, ot just because you don’t want to pass them on to you children, go and do something about it.

You can be free of the fear. You can be more confident . You can have a happier life!

Go on…what are you scared of?

If you want help getting over a Phobia and you live in the Coventry area then you should check out my website  www.hypnotherapycoventry.org

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Don’t believe everything you think

Have you ever been driving down the road and thought ‘what if I just turned the wheel and drove into oncoming traffic?’ or stood waiting for a train and thought ‘what if I just fell on the track as the train was coming?’ or been on a flight and thought ‘what if the plane crashes’ or something else just as bizarre…well if you have, you are not alone!

Most, if not all of us, have these random thoughts pop into our head.

Most of the time you will just dismiss them without even thinking about it – that’s good.

Sometimes we worry or obsess about them – that’s less good and is often where phobia’s and anxiety spring from.

Occasionally we may alter our behaviour because of them – that’s really not good, as this forms neurosis, O.C.D. and other mental health issues.

In Psychology these thoughts are often referred to as NATs or Negative Automatic Thoughts. There are many ways of dealing with these. The first is to recognise it for what it is, a random thought, not an absolute truth. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) teaches ways to spot these thoughts and challenge their validity e.g. how likely is it that the plane will crash, given that there are thousands of flights in the air at any given moment, yet we very rarely hear of a plane crash.

There are then various ways of dealing with it. You can dismiss it as unrealistic, you can ignore it, you can try and stop yourself thinking about it (often with the use of a rubber band you keep round your wrist and ‘ping’ each time you recognise a NAT) or you can accept it.

Personally one of my favourite ways to deal with these NATs is to make fun of them. You can’t stop them popping in your head from time to time, and trying to is just as likely to make you think of them more (try not to think about elephants for the next 5 seconds – you weren’t thinking of them before, but now you can’t stop). J K Rowling uses a similar method in Harry Potter with the Riddikulus spell – the kids think of the thing they are most scared of and then make it ridiculous by casting the spell e.g. a spider with roller-skates slipping and sliding all over the place. It’s difficult to be scared of something you’re laughing at.

So, next time one of these thoughts pops into your head, see it for what is – just a random thought – and laugh at what a bizarre, wonderful brain you have that will come up with such peculiar things and remember you can’t believe everything you think 🙂

If you need a little help dealing with your NATs, you should speak to a professional who can help. CBT, NLP and Hypnotherapy are great tools to help you.

Check out www.hypnotherapycoventry.org for more information

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