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What is a phobia?

A phobia is hard wired into our Neural Network, so therefore it's unconscious and automatic… in other words ‘a habit’!

A phobia is also a strategy that is formed in the subconscious mind to avoid possible ‘pain’ in the future. It is basically a hard wired 'pain avoidance' strategy that has become a powerful habit.

As with most subconsciously formed strategies, phobias work on an everyday level really well! They protect us from possible ‘pain’ in the future but they have the unfortunate side-effect of causing ‘pain’ in the long-term. Shyness for instance is a pain avoidance strategy that works for keeping us ‘safe’ from rejection but the side-effect can be isolation and loneliness. Shyness is basically a social phobia, which has become a habit and even adopted in most cases as a personality trait: "I am a shy person". No, you are a person who is afraid of possible rejection, and you are using shyness as a way to protect yourself from pain.

Looking at other phobias such as the fear of flying, this is again a strategy that is formed in the subconscious mind to protect you from potential ‘pain’ of being in a plane crash. It works because you avoid getting on an aeroplane, but it also means that travelling becomes very difficult or impossible. You miss out on seeing the world, and holidaying with family and friends, unless of course you force yourself to fly on an aeroplane which is very painful for you. When you do force yourself, all of the time you are at the airport or on board the flight, your body is reacting to your fear as if the event you were afraid of was actually about to really happen. Most of us can't imagine how difficult that must be for a person who has a phobia of flying.

People often refer to phobias as being irrational, whereas in fact they are not irrational because the potential for the ‘thing’ you are afraid of can be very real. An aeroplane can in fact crash, of course it can, and they do. The irrational part is that we believe that a possibility is the same as a probability when of course it isn't. The probability of an aeroplane crashing is incredibly small, as we all know flying is the safest way to travel. The problem is how our minds distort possibilities and make them larger to avoid any possible ‘pain’ in the future, which in fact is highly improbable. This distortion is the irrational part of the strategy.

We need to understand the behaviour as a strategy, and that it is formed by the subconscious mind for a reason and that reason is to keep us safe, so why would we stop doing it? Not doing it is not safe! So we are left with the ‘pain’ of stopping the phobia, or not stopping the phobia, we are not providing much of a choice, this is the proverbial rock and the hard place as usual when it comes to phobias.

What can I do for you?

I can help you to overcome your phobia, not by teaching you how to use more willpower against it - you and I know that doesn't work! I will teach you how to use the right ‘key’ that will unlock the door to your freedom from your phobia suffering.

This ‘key’ is understanding the phobia/habits, how they work, and how to change them!

My phobia sessions are not just hypnosis sessions; they include time spent exploring your phobia/habits in detail. During this part of the sessions we will uncover and bring into your consciousness your subconscious conditioned phobia/habits in detail. You will begin to understand why you feel the need to have your phobia, and then we will then find ways to change.

With all behavioural habits there is a 'cycle' which first begins with a cue, which then triggers a conditioned behaviour, which then leads to a reward… The cycle is completed and lays dormant until it rises into consciousness again.

Once we understand the cue we can substitute the unhealthy behaviour with a new healthier behaviour. We therefore still satisfy the cue and get the reward, and the new behaviour becomes a new habit. I like to imagine that the cue and the reward are the book ends of the habit, and the behaviour is the process between the two. All three need to be understood as a whole, otherwise the new behaviour does not become the new habit and you will return to the old behaviour and the old habit again. This is why the New Behaviour Conditioning Sessions are so important.

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