Can hypnosis be used to treat a fetish? A fetish is generally described as a sexual attraction towards an inanimate object or a particular, non-sexual part of the body. With a rubber fetish, a person gets sexually aroused by touching on wearing rubber garments. Leather fetish is very similar. One of the most common is a shoe fetish, getting sexual gratification from looking at shoes, handling shoes, smelling shoes.
Many years ago I had a client who had a fetish about rubber. The only thing he could remember that might account for this was a memory of having a tightly fitting rubber swimming cap when he was a child. At the time I was unable to help him, but I never forgot about him. I have always wondered at the origin of his problem.
Instant learning experience
I started thinking about this recently while I was telling someone about how I cleared phobias. He asked me where phobias came from. I explained that a phobia is an instant learning experience. An instant learning experience is something like touching a hot stove. You learn instantly that hot stoves burn and you never touch them again. However, some people don't just remember that they get burned, they get a lifelong fear of stoves. The exact mechanism of how this happens is not known.
Origins of a phobia
After many years of treating phobias it seems to me that there is a common element in acquiring a phobia. I think that the essential elements include an unexpected event, an intense feeling of threat, and the inability to get away or do anything about it. For example, bird phobia is very common.
It typically arises when a child is out with its mother, feeling safe enjoying themselves in some outdoor situation. And then suddenly they have a bird flying at them, wings flapping around them noisily, maybe even close on their hair. This generates an intense instant fear. When that is combined with the feeling of being unable to get away from the bird there is a potential to generate a phobia. The phobia is easily cleared by getting the person to experience the feeling of fear again, and then using metaphor replacement therapy to change the fear into something else.
Origins of a fetish
I believe that a fetish is simply the opposite of the phobia. Instead of experiencing an intense fear, I think the person gets a fetish by experiencing an intense sexual pleasure while doing something else, and the two things get linked.
Just as a phobia can be acquired from just about any random experience, so can a fetish. My old client with the rubber attraction probably at some point felt a strong sexual urge while simultaneously experiencing some rubber object. The two get linked in the brain in the same way that a phobia gets created. From then on any time the person experiences something made of rubber they are instantly reminded of the sexual feeling associated with it. I believe that this is the origin of a fetish.
Removing a fetish
If I am correct in this, then it suggests that a fetish can be removed in exactly the same way that a phobia is removed. Clinically, all one would have to do is to get the person to experience the positive feeling they get from their fetish object. Then apply metaphor replacement therapy to their representation of the feeling. Then change it from a positive feeling to a neutral feeling. That is exactly what hypnotherapists do with phobias. You take the negative feeling, represent it in some way, change the representation, and the fear disappears. I see no reason why it should not work to change pleasurable feelings.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.
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