Phobias - Using hypnotherapy to deal with fears & phobias.

It’s estimated that around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia – an overwhelming and often debilitating fear. Some phobias can be so severe that the sufferer will start to organise their life around the fear affecting not only themselves but others.

One of the areas I really enjoy helping people with is phobias, as the difference can be life changing within only a few sessions.

I use a lovely quick and safe technique called Rewind which allows clients to reprocess the fear so that the emotion is removed.

What’s so wonderful about the Rewind Technique is that you don’t need to remember how the phobia was created or try and work out why you have the phobia.

I offer two versions of using the Rewind technique.

One is known as the Muss Rewind and was introduced by Dr David Muss in 1991 (whom I trained with) and is the only non-hypnosis therapy I currently offer. I also use this technique for clients with PTSD. It usually requires no more than two sessions to remove the phobia. I also offer the added session of a ‘reframe’, which I’ll explain later.

The other Rewind does use hypnosis and is the Human Givens’ version developed by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell. This also usually only needs two sessions plus a reframe. This was the technique taught on my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Diploma course.

Both techniques have their origins in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) with a technique called Visual/Kinaesthetic Dissociation technique. You can see why the term Rewind is preferred, it’s far less of a mouthful and describes the process in both techniques.

With both styles you give me some basic details about yourself. You can tell me how the phobia affects your life and what difference it will make to be free of the phobia. You may know the exact moment the phobia was created. I had a phobia of walking in fields with cows and. I know that it was a particularly traumatic experience with cows surrounding me. You may not remember the initial moment your phobia was formed but you will have experienced the phobic response affecting you.

We’ll discuss how the brain works, specifically with regards to phobias, memories and how they’re stored.

We use these emotional memories for the Rewind. With both styles I ask you to imagine that you’re watching a film of yourself in either the initial traumatic memory that ‘caused’ the phobia or a time when the phobic response was present. Then I ask you to rewind these images quickly. I’ll explain this process in more detail in the initial consultation but essentially, we are enabling you to remove the emotion from the experience.

You may then choose to have additional sessions where you can ‘reframe’ how you’d like to experience the situation. A reframe is when you describe and imagine how you’d like to respond to a situation.

The exact science of the Rewind is unknown

There are many different theories as to how it works and as brain monitoring equipment develops we’ll find out more. Currently the thinking is that rewind works by the client being able to separate the visual experience from their emotional feelings associated with the experience. It is also thought that phobias are stored in the hippocampus (part of our primitive fight, flight, freeze response and that this technique ‘moves’ the memory to a different part of the brain where we can still remember it, if we choose to but without the emotional response.

Some people are concerned that being asked to remember the traumatic or unpleasant experience that created the phobia will ‘re-traumatise’ them, however it is important to remember that every time someone with a phobia thinks about whatever it is that causes the phobia they are experiencing the same emotional response as the first time. Using the Rewind technique removes this emotional response within about 10, maybe 15 minutes for many people and for some after only one session do not experience that emotional response again.

The initial cause of the phobia doesn’t even need to have been a ‘real’ experience. It can be something we’ve watched on TV, someone else’s experience or imagined. If you have a phobic response that is preventing us from doing something, please get in touch with me to find out if this something that would be useful for you.

All phobias, whether ‘small’ and mildly inconvenient, but preventing you from enjoying your life to the full, or something extremely traumatic and life limiting, may be helped with the Rewind technique.

There is one phobia that we need to be cautious with and that’s a needle phobia.  If you are someone who faints or feels faint when you have an injection, then please ring me to find out how clinical hypnotherapy can help support you to feel more comfortable and able to have injections.  I have undertaken additional training in needle phobias and as a complementary therapist helping you with your thoughts I can work alongside other professionals.   

If you’re having to battle with your fear to do the thing you want or need to do or you are prevented from doing what you want or need to do please get in touch.