Phobias are intense and irrational fears that create strong fear and panic in a person. They interfere with a person's ability to socialize, work and in severe cases, live normally.

Most people experience anxiety or fear about certain events in their lives. For example, it is stressful for the majority of people to attend a job interview or to be assessed for performance at work. Phobias, however, are irrational fears that can prevent people from living normal lives.

Phobias belong to a spectrum of mental problems known as “anxiety disorders” and can be separated into three basic types: specific phobias, social phobia and agoraphobia. Specific phobias revolve around the fear of a specific object or situation.

Common specific phobias include fear of flying, and fear of snakes and spiders. If the specific phobia is not encountered often in a person's life, it will probably not be very disruptive. However, if it is a common occurrence then the afflicted person may well be living in an unhealthy mental and emotional state and not being functioning at their best.

Social phobias include being afraid of being watched and evaluated by others when in public, fear of public speaking and stage fright. People experiencing social phobias are more than just uncomfortable or worried, they are intensely anxious.

Agoraphobia is a fear of being trapped and of experiencing a panic attack in a public place. A panic attack is usually the trigger for agoraphobia. When many people experience a panic attack away from home, they fear the experience occurring again and therefore desire to avoid public places. For many people, this means never leaving home.

The symptoms of phobias include a sense of terror and often impending disaster, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and sweating palms. These symptoms can be triggered by simply expecting the event or circumstance that triggers the phobia. For example, people who have a fear of flying may experience anxiety symptoms for days before the event.

Phobias can have a strong hold on individuals. Traditional methods of dealing with phobias include the use of medications to block feelings of anxiety and panic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy which helps people to retrain their thoughts and responses. However, many people have had great success in overcoming phobias through the use of hypnosis. Hypnosis is used to treat phobias by reprogramming thinking patterns. Hypnosis is able to by-pass the conscious mind with its tendency to resist change. The suggestions target the subconscious mind and are readily accepted.

The fears which cause phobias stay in the subconscious mind. The original cause of the fear may have been valid but is no longer real. Hypnosis can reach this part of the mind and give it suggestions to ease the anxiety and convince it that there is no longer any valid reason to retain these fears.

Common phobias aided (and even cured) by hypnosis include:

o Fear of flying and other forms of travel.

o Fear of heights.

o Fear of childbirth.

o Fear of animals (usually a specific type).

o Fear of insects (spiders are very common).

o Fear of performing.

o Stage fright.

o Claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

o Fear of nightmares (can cause insomnia).

o Fear of the dark.

o Fear of doctors and dentists.

o Fear of exams.

Unlike medication based treatment, hypnosis has no negative side-effects. Even cognitive-behavioral therapies can have negative side-effects because some of them can trigger severe panic in order to desensitize a person. This is extremely traumatic for many people. Hypnosis, on the other hand is very relaxing and soothes the nerves. It calms anxiety and gently gives suggestions directly to the subconscious mind. As such it offers benefits even beyond the purpose of eliminating phobias.

As a practicing hypnotherapist, I have helped many clients to overcome debilitating fears and cure phobias and thereby become fully functional and successful human beings. If you are suffering and want to cure a phobias that is limiting your choices and your life, I strongly recommend you seek the services of a qualified hypnotherapist near you.