How to treat a phobia
I have a client coming in who wants to deal with a Phobia and I got to thinking about how to deal with it.
Phobias are learned disorders and therefore any phobia can be unlearned. Treatment for phobias are usually successful, although clearing a phobia completely may take several sessions.
In hypnotherapy for phobias therapists often use the NLP Phobia Cure, or some form of graduated exposure therapy, but there are other ways of dealing with a phobia.
Ways of treating a phobia
Graduated exposure for phobias is done by introducing the phobic person to what they fear, a little at a time, to get them used to it.
Flooding consists of surrounding the phobic person with what they fear. For example a person with a fear of knives would be taken into a room filled with a drawer full of knives and knives on the bench top. This will cause them to have their reaction, and although it can be unpleasant, they will gradually realize that they did not come to any harm and actually can be in a situation where there are knives.
Another method is Counter conditioning. This is a treatment that teaches the phobic person how to relax while in the phobia situation, so that they learn to control the panic they get from their phobia.
Ordeal Therapy is seldom used today, but it does work. The idea is to get the phobic person to be exposed to the phobia just up to the point where they want to turn away and avoid it. Then the phobic person is told to do something unpleasant and to keep doing it until it gets so unpleasant that they would rather face the phobia.
Milton Erickson used to use this a lot, but would probably be reluctant to use it today, given the tendency to sue everybody for everything.
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.