While Halloween is growing rapidly in popularity as a holiday as judged by the increasing amount of money spent on preparing for and celebrating the holiday, for some it is a time when their worst fears confront them “in the flesh” so to speak.
Despite all the fun, for those who suffer from fears and phobias this time of the year can be really frightful.
There are all types of phobias that are tough to avoid around Halloween. For example, the fear of masks (maskaphobia), the fear of clowns (coulrophobia), the fear of bats (chiroptophobia) and the fear of Halloween itself (samhainophobia).
A phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that isn’t really a threat. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 9 percent of adults and 14 percent of children between 13 and 18 have at least one phobia.
Of course, most phobias are seen year round, like the fear of spiders, heights, or escalators, not just around Halloween.
Phobias tend to generalize out (become more and more pervasive) and become more intense over time. I see this pattern with clients in the office all the time. For example, one client came to see me for what was presented as a fear of driving, but it turned out to be a fear of encloses spaces. In hypnosis using age regression we discovered that at a very young age her brothers had put her in a blanket chest and sat on the top, trapping her inside. She’d totally forgotten that incident, and then got trapped in a small bathroom in an older home on a hot, humid summer day. That triggered the fear and activated it. From that moment on her fear began to grow, from small closets to the point where she couldn’t drive down a tree-lined street where the branches touched overhead. Her mind’s definition of “too small” was generalizing and making her whole world smaller!
She came in and we helped her get over that phobia using a combination of techniques in hypnosis — affect bridge regression, circle therapy and the NLP phobia cure being some of them. Once the association in the mind starts to release, then relearning a new pattern through future pacing is the most important thing to do, to create a comfortable familiarity with the situation which, in the past, caused the fear.
Hypnosis is the GENTLEST way to get over a fear or phobia. In hypnosis we can create dissociation or even double dissociation (so that you are protected from the idea or image of what you’re afraid of). Also, hypnosis is a calmer state, so the work of releasing and repatterining the association feels gentler or more “muted,” e
There are methods to get over fears that don’t use hypnosis of course. The classic (non-hypnosis) therapy is called “exposure therapy,” and involves creating an exposure hierarchy where you gradually get closer and closer to the thing you fear. For some, this reactivates the fear and traumatic feelings more than is useful and can even make the reaction worse. And sometimes this approach is just less than practical, for example a fear of flying.
We are born with only two fears — falling and loud noises. Which for an infant make sense. Falling is bad when you can’t catch yourself, and loud noises may mean that something bad is happening. (Never mind that infants are the sources of loud noises themselves sometimes! LOL!)
But many, if not most, people grow out of one or both of these fears. People go bungie jumping and learn to hunt and shoot or go to rock and roll concerts, and all sorts of other activities where the fears we are born with become something familiar and even fun.
And every OTHER fear is learned. And what is learned can be UNLEARNED, and through a properly applied process a fear can be unlearned and released.
Is it time to do something about your fear?
So, if your fear or phobia is limiting your life, then maybe it’s time to do something about it. Whether you choose hypnosis or a traditional approach like CBT or exposure therapy is your choice, but know that fears and phobias are LEARNED and can be UNLEARNED. You don’t have to suffer. Find someone you feel comfortable with and trust, and get help.
I know this email reaches people all over the world and you can’t all come into the office! (Although that would be a heck of a party!) Although I do work with people all over the world via phone or Skype. You can contact me for more information on that if you like.
If you or someone you know has a fear or phobia that is getting in the way of their life, one place to start is my Freedom from Fear and Anxiety hypnosis download, or my collection called Emotions in Control.