I have explained on another page how phobias develop when the brain links a harmless situation to the experience of intense fear and danger caused by something else. When the harmless situation happens again, this triggers a fight-or-flight response as if we needed to run from the situation or fight our way out of it. Even the possibility of the feared situation makes us very anxious, constantly alert for real or imagined danger, muscle tensed as if we might need to spring into action at a moment’s notice. The high anxiety makes it easy to remember other anxious situations, but difficult to remember happy events. This focuses our minds on everything negative.
Therapy to overcome phobia is about breaking that link between the harmless situation and the fear response. A variety of techniques can be used to achieve this.
All these techniques could be used even without hypnosis, but hypnosis makes them more powerful. In hypnotic trance you are able to focus more intensely, to control your own emotional and physical reactions, and to fix new ideas into your memory, much easier than in your normal everyday state of mind. Clients learn quite quickly how to turn their emotional reactions up or down, just as easily as turning up the heat of an oven or changing gears in a car.
I normally begin with some simple hypnotic exercises to show my clients that hypnosis is a pleasant, interesting and non-threatening experience. These exercises also prove to the client that they can really be hypnotised. By this method their anxiety levels are already much reduced before we even start the main therapy techniques. At each stage the client is normally able to go deeper into trance as they discover what a safe and pleasant experience it is.
I then move on to specific techniques, which may include several of the following:
“Parts Therapy” involves contacting the powerful part of the mind which has the job of keeping you safe, and telling it to use a wider range of methods to keep you safe, and to distinguish between what is really dangerous and what is actually harmless.
The “Arrow Technique” is a method of gaining control over the experience of fear, showing you that you can turn it up and down at will.
The “Reflective Time Protocol” is a method for going back to the original trigger of the phobia in a non-traumatic way. This is not the same as regression, because you will see the event from an adult point of view, not as a frightened child you were back then. This has a powerful effect on the part of us which still reacts as a child does, which is sometimes called the “Inner Child.”
The “Rewind Technique” is a method for experiencing the feared situation in a detached and non-traumatic way, breaking the link between the situation and the fight-or-flight response.
These are the main techniques I use. Depending on the specific client I may use all of them on the first session, or I may save some for later sessions so the client doesn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. Therapy should always be a pleasant experience.
Many of my clients have already had other therapies such as counselling or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or even hypnosis. I once saw a client who had had more than twenty sessions of therapy with another hypnotist with no improvement (but great expense). With my help this client overcame their phobia in just three sessions!
THE EXPERIENCE OF HYPNOSIS: HOW DOES IT FEEL?
The first thing to understand is that hypnosis is not sleep- the hypnotised person remains fully conscious. In fact, it’s part of my job to stop the client from dropping off to sleep, even though they’re as physically relaxed as if they were asleep.
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, in which the mind is opened to suggestion. There are many ways to induce hypnosis but most involve focusing the client’s attention in different ways. Some methods involve the hypnotist touching or lifting the client’s hand or arm, but no other physical contact is needed. Hypnosis is a pleasant experience if undertaken with an experienced and empathic practitioner. But it’s far more than a nice experience. It is also an effective method for helping people change their thoughts, feelings and reactions.
HOW DO I WORK?
Therapy with me is a collaboration- I will be helping you to help yourself. You will NOT be sitting back doing nothing while
I “fix” your problem. Successful therapy ALWAYS requires active participation
by the client both in session and outside. I use hypnosis with most clients, but I also use a wide range of other techniques including Neurolinguistic Programing (NLP) and Eye Movement Therapies. Hypnosis is not about me taking over- it’s actually about you getting more control over your own thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
Most clients notice some improvement following their first session, although it occasionally takes longer. If there’s an
approach to your problem that has strong scientific backing or that I’ve used
successfully before with many clients, then I will use that first. If that doesn’t help then I can more creative and innovative. In all cases my therapy is based on a knowledge of first principles, and tailored to your individual needs.
I have helped many people whom other therapists were unable to help, especially those with a history of abusive and controlling relationships. I have treated a huge variety of clients from different ethnic backgrounds, different religions and sexual orientations, and different walks of life, including other therapists.