A phobia is a fear, a fear that for many people is debilitating and life changing. But let's just explore the whole concept of fear for a second. Fear is good. Fear is an emotion that protects us when we are in danger. Imagine a world with no fear, and you imagine a world of lawlessness and anarchy. Without fear, we would have little or no incentive to hide and protect ourselves. Fear is our brain's way of protecting us.

Through the ages we have learned to be afraid of certain things and situations. It is fear that protects us from snakes, sharks, and situations that can harm us. We are right to be afraid of snakes – many of them are venomous and even if they do not kill us, we know that at best we will feel pain. We know that if we fall from a great height, the chances are we will break a leg or possibly die. So in these situations we are right to feel fear, because it protects us.

Most people do not particularly like spiders or snakes, but they do not suffer from a major phobia. So when does a normal fear become a phobia, and what causes some people to develop a phobia of everyday situations and objects?

The answer to what causes a phobia is specific to each individual, but certain situations may contribute to the situation. For example, a person who experiences a panic attack in an elevator might avoid taking an elevator after that for fear of experiencing another panic attack, despite the fact that the environment probably played no role in the initial attack. The individual will, perhaps subconsciously, blame the elevator for the attack, and ultimately the elevator and the panic attack became so interlinked, that soon a fear of elevators and enclosed spaces has developed, and the individual now suffers from claustrophobia.

A phobia may also be inherited, or rather taught. Take the case of Brian, an 11yr old boy who is afraid of flying. Why is an 11yr old so afraid of flying? The answer may be that his mother is also afraid. We learn from our parents, and trust them to protect us. Therefore, if our parent, who is supposed to protect us, is afraid of something, we learn that it must be harmful and that we too should be afraid of it. The big danger here is that what might be a mild fear in a parent, can develop into a full debilitating phobia in a child.

The one thing that all phobias have in common is that they are psychological, and therefore the treatment of phobias lies there. By understanding why we suffer from a specific phobia, we can begin to treat it. One of the best ways of treating phobias is with hypnosis. Hypnosis works by re-training the mind subconsciously to react to the phobia differently. By doing it subconsciously, a great deal of the stress and anxiety is taken out of the treatment for the client – for many people, even talking about their phobia can cause some stress.

One thing that everyone who conquers their phobia has in common is a huge sense of relief. When we face up to, and overcome our fears we begin to realize how we have been held back, and the intense sense of freedom is overwhelming. That does not mean that phobias can be considered trivial or banal – they're far from it. For sufferers, they are very real, and all consuming. At http://www.free-hypnosisdownloads.com there is a growing number of excellent hypnosis mp3 downloads that help sufferers of many different types of phobias to conquer them easily and quickly. The download sessions typically say about 30-40mins to listen to, and their success rate is quite phenomenal.

Hypnosis is so successful in the treatment of phobias because it addresses the phobia in exactly the same way that it got there in the first place – subconsciously. This makes the whole ordinal so much more enjoyable for the subject, and therefore the likelihood of success is extremely high.