NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Overcoming Phobias with Clinical Hypnosis

In my last post, I explored what phobias are and how they develop.

Now, I would like to discuss hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for people with phobias.

When I work with a client who has a phobia, I will usually ask if the client is aware of the triggering event that caused the phobia. This is helpful to know, but not absolutely necessary. So, for instance, if a client has a fear of riding in an elevator, I would explore with the client when this fear began and how it began. If possible, I would also like to know what it was like for this client to ride in elevators before the fear developed. Phobic reactions don't always develop because of a person's direct experience. Sometimes, phobias develop because a person witnessed the phobic reaction of someone close to them. As an example, if a client has a fear of dogs, it is possible that she might have witnessed her father get bitten by a dog. Even if she did not witness this incident directly, her father might have talked to her about his fear and, without realizing it, he might have communicated this fear in a deep way to his daughter so that she took on the fear. Whatever caused the phobia, the fear has been repressed in the unconscious mind.

How Can Clinical Hypnosis Help?
Clinical hypnosis, also known as hypnotherapy, deals with the unconscious mind where the cause of the phobia lies. There are many myths about hypnosis. Contrary to one of the myths, you should know that clients who receive hypnotherapy treatment are in control at all times. They are awake and maintain dual awareness of the here-and-now and everything going on around them as well as what they are feeling in the hypnotic state. No one can force them to do anything that they don't want to do. I discuss this in more detail in an earlier post ("What is Clinical Hypnosis?").

Regardless of the type of phobia, the goal of hypnotherapy treatment is to desensitize the client to the fear and provide the client with his or her own internal resources. With effective hypnotherapy, the mind processes the phobia so that the client no longer responds with fear and panic. If the phobia is not complex and the client is motivated, he or she can overcome the phobia in several sessions. If the phobia is more complex and if the client experiences frequent panic attacks and phobic reactions, it can take longer.

What to Do?
Don't suffer on your own with phobias. Phobias usually don't go away by themselves. Get professional mental health treatment from a hypnotherapist. Effective treatment can help you to overcome your phobia and improve the quality of your life.

I am a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in NYC.

To find out more about me, visit my web site:

Feel free to call me at (212) 726-1006 to schedule a consultation.