Stress, Anxiety, Fears & Phobias

1-6 SESSIONS required (depending on issue and it’s severity)

OVERCOME FEARS & PHOBIAS IN 1 SESSION!!!!!
(Spiders, snakes, needles, heights, flying, public speaking, lifts, etc etc…)

Let me treat your PTSD or phobia comfortably and quickly
HypnoPsychotherapy can be used to treat:

• Worries about the future, either real or imagined.
• Witness to an event, as a bystander or unable to help in an incident.
• Actual involvement in a traumatic incident (spider, snake, heights, lift experience etc etc…)
• Protracted illness or death of a loved one.
• Bullying.
• Accident.
• Soldiers in war zones.
• Can be learnt e.g. a parent who has a fear of thunder can inadvertently ‘teach’ their child the same pattern.
• Some aspects of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) can be treated.
For many years, severe anxiety-based conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or phobias were considered treatable only through long, painful exposure therapy, and in some cases, not at all.
Now, thankfully, YOU have access to a comfortable, effective treatment that can greatly reduce, and even remove, traumatic or phobic symptoms quickly.
You will not need to go over the traumatic incident(s) again
Many people with trauma or phobias have been treated using approaches which drag them back through the experience again; a highly unpleasant thing to have to do.
This does not happen with the technique I use, and I do not in fact even need to know major details of what happened to you.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can present itself after a person has been exposed to a traumatic event. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in some of the following ways:
• Distressing recollections of the event that cause the body and mind to experience the same or nearly the same degree of fear and horror as the original experience.
• Recurrent distressing dreams of the trauma.
• Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring in the present (flashbacks). This can occur in the form of hallucinations or when feeling disassociated from reality during the day. It can also occur when intoxicated and is a form of hypnotic or trance state (this is why, as we shall see, hypnosis is the only way to cure it).
PTSD can sometimes be a causative factor in depression. People who continually experience trauma flashbacks can become depressed.

Phobias

People can be very easily conditioned in certain ways. When something occurs which arouses our emotions very strongly then we learn powerfully on an unconscious level. We learn to become scared quickly in future in response to the same stimulus. So someone who has a crash in a hot air balloon and then develops a phobia may have a full-blown phobic panic response on just seeing a hot air balloon on television.

This mechanism would have always been useful in primitive times because if we discovered something to be dangerous (say we were bitten by a dangerous snake) then we would be more likely to survive in future if we were immediately terrified of snakes. Because we are still ‘set up’ to ‘learn how to be terrified’, phobias are very common. We can distinguish a phobia from a fear. It is, for example, natural to be frightened if a plane is actually crashing or a dog actually attacking but not to be terrified at the mere thought of flying or the sound of a distant dog barking. Phobias can begin to take over a person’s life, restricting normal activities in order to avoid the object of the phobia. There are an infinite variety of phobias, the more common phobias include spiders, flying, insects and heights, reptiles, mice and rats, dogs, birds, and water, enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), open spaces (agoraphobia) and vomiting. It is easy to see how an unpleasant or frightening experience could have occurred around any of one of these, producing a ‘fear learning’.

Curing phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder

The Visual/Kinaesthetic Dissociation Technique (V/K Technique) or the ‘fast phobia cure’. This technique, properly applied, will almost always successfully treat phobias and traumatic memories in one session.

People with phobias are invariably excellent hypnotic subjects because they need this ability to maintain a phobia. They can, if the phobia is severe enough, ‘conjure’ up the feelings of the phobic response just by discussing it. When a person accesses emotions by merely recounting or describing a fear, then they are doing self hypnosis in the same way that during stage hypnosis a person can feel drunk when told they have been drinking. Memories that maintain a phobia or post-traumatic stress can be de-conditioned. Some people don’t recall when or how their fear began. This is no problem as it is enough to de-condition the memories of times they have felt terrified.

The principle of dissociation

Dissociation is nature’s way of protecting us from our feelings when they become overpowering. During the session, I deliberately dissociate you to help you detach from feeling the effects of the traumatic memory that is producing the phobic response or the flashbacks. I enable you to think about those memories without feeling the fear or in other words de-condition your fear. This new learning is then carried over into everyday life and, more specifically, into the situations where the phobia occurs.

Criteria for diagnosis

Medical criteria is very specific. Often people who have been experiencing flashbacks and high anxiety will not be diagnosed because they do not meet the complex list of symptoms the Medical Association has developed. An obvious traumatic incident is not the only event that can cause PTSD or a phobia. Anyone can develop it in a variety of circumstances because the brain has evolved to preferentially store trauma. Sometimes these conditions develop because a person ‘perceives’ the event as traumatic.
You can use the technique to help PTSD symptoms after the following:
• Worries about the future, either real or imagined.
• Witness to an event, as a bystander or unable to help in an incident.
• Actual involvement in a traumatic incident.
• Protracted illness or death of a loved one.
• Bullying.
• Accident.
• Soldiers in war zones.
• Can be learnt e.g. a parent who has a fear of thunder can inadvertently ‘teach’ their child the same pattern.
• Some aspects of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) can be treated.

Do you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD or a phobia?
Do you show avoidant behaviour or high anxiety at the thought of the stimuli, event or thought of real exposure to it?
If you think about the stimuli and then scale your anxiety from one to ten, ten being awful panic and one being happy and totally relaxed, do you scale high when even thinking about it?
Pattern matching
The human brain is primarily a pattern-matching organ. All perception is a process of matching a pre-existing template.
Once the brain has pattern matched to a stimulus, the emotional response is triggered before conscious thought or awareness comes into play. An experience, be it a threat, physical attraction or drinking a cup of tea is processed first through pattern matching, emotional response second, and then thought.

Pattern matching involves an emotional response and occurs before thought. Everything you experience has an emotional ‘tag’, so even drinking a cup of tea involves a low-level emotional response. This occurs after your brain pattern matches to previous experiences of tea drinking.

All psychological problems can be seen to involve inappropriate pattern matching. For example if you have been ‘programmed’ through the REM state during a life-threatening experience, a subsequent pattern match to any of the details of the original incident can produce an emotional reaction. Someone mugged by an assailant dressed in black may in the future find that seeing anyone dressed in black, prompts fear.
The black clothes have become a ‘metaphorical stand in’ for the experience of being assaulted. Just as a dummy is a metaphorical stand-in to the mother’s nipple and therefore a faulty pattern match.

From an evolutionary perspective it is desirable to have pattern matching that is not too rigid.
The importance of understanding pattern matching
It is important to understand that pattern matching is automatic and unconscious and therefore quite mechanical. Both the body and the mind can develop a habitual faulty pattern match, for example producing histamine in response to a neutral stimulus, resulting in an allergy.

ANXIETY

Anxiety is the sense of apprehension at a perceived threat. The threat may be external and definite, as in specific phobias, or internal and less readily identifiable, as in generalised anxiety disorder. Levels of anxiety can go from mild worry to sheer panic and all levels are appropriate at some time. Problems occur when the wrong degree of anxiety begins to occur at the wrong times in a habitual way.

STRESS & ILLNESS

Psychological stress can be defined as the state arising when the demands placed on an individual are perceived to exceed (or threaten to exceed) their ability to cope. The results of excessive stress range from headaches and migraines to insomnia, depression, drug abuse, skin complaints, increased risk of major illnesses such as cancer, bowel disorders, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart disease and of course anxiety disorders.

Stress is an adaptive response designed to help the individual or animal cope with a short term emergency. The flight/fight response is there to keep us alive! The following changes in the body occur rapidly when we become stressed:

• Extra oxygen is taken in.
• Blood pressure and breathing increase, leading to the heart ‘pounding’.
• Palms and feet get sweaty to give better grip once the sweat has dried.
• Blood is shunted away from non-essential functions like digestion and into the major muscles for physical action, hence digestive problems in the chronically stressed.
• The production of saliva closes down making it difficult to swallow which is something you wouldn’t need to do in a real emergency.
• Concentration improves and pupils dilate to let in more information.
• Past a certain point of arousal the ‘thinking brain’ shuts down as the emotional brain takes over almost completely.
• If the anxiety becomes extreme we may develop the urge to defecate or vomit which has the adaptive function of making us less tasty as prey to wild animals and also possibly lighter to run away.

These are great responses under the right circumstances but some people exhibit these responses when confronted with a job interview or even when speaking to their boss. If this mechanism is constantly ‘going off” inappropriately, like a faulty car alarm, a person can literally get ill. They are mobilising all these powerful resources in the body but not using them in physical action. Extra blood is pumped into the muscles when blood pressure is increased, but if the muscles don’t do anything then all we have is increased blood pressure!

The startle response

When something shocking or unexpected happens, such as a sudden loud noise, then people (and many types of animals) often experience a ‘reorientation response’ or ‘startle response’. The conscious mind ‘shuts down’ during such moments as it has no way of immediately making sense of the sudden input. Because of this, the person goes into a state of unconscious readiness and freezes and is easily ‘lead’ at that point. The conscious mind cannot make immediate sense of this, so the unconscious mind takes over and is open to being directed externally.

A spider suddenly running across the floor can activate the startle response even if we are not bothered by spiders. However, if, for example, a child hears a parent scream during that reorientation response then they may be conditioned to enter similar emotional trance states in future when they see spiders. It can be useful to explain this mechanism to people with insect or bird phobias so that they know that their orientation response is just that, and not necessarily the start of a full-blown phobic response.

Anxiety is a natural and useful response

There are many times when anxiety keeps us safe. For thousands of years much more powerful and fiercer creatures hunted human beings. We evolved to be anxious because anxiety and nervousness kept us alive. Now we live in a more complex world where such a simple response is often counter-productive. The human being often ‘wheels out’ this primitive adaptive response when confronted with a perceived threat that in reality is not life threatening.

Nowadays, many threats have to do with ‘survival’ of self esteem or ‘survival’ of relationships or ‘staying afloat’ in a job, rather than real actual physical survival.
However, the same anxiety mechanism keeps raising its head as if we are under threat of physical attack. So we respond to metaphorical threats as if they were immediate physical threats. Moderate anxiety can motivate us to do something we need to such as revise for an exam or go for a medical check up once in a while.

Too much anxiety impairs rational thought

A degree of stress actually improves memory and performance. When anxiety goes up past a certain level all kinds of functions drastically decline. What’s known as an ‘emotional hijacking’ occurs where the more primitive limbic system is activated at the expense of the neo-cortex, which is involved with rational thought. We become more ‘stupid’ when highly emotional because nature does not want us rationalising when we should be fighting or fleeing.

People often have trouble remembering simple facts or even have difficulty speaking when they are highly anxious. In this state, the body is set up for large physical movements like running away. This is why, when very anxious, people find their legs shaking. It is a bit like revving up a car with the hand brake on. The legs shake because they should be in use for running away. They cannot because you have ‘got the hand brake on’. Sometimes the hands shake because they are prepared for fighting. That is why, at times of high anxiety, small movements like writing or tying shoelaces can be very difficult.

Anchoring occurs when we are highly emotional

We learn in a special way when we are highly emotional. In order for us to survive, any circumstances surrounding us when we are highly frightened have to be experienced as highly significant and important so that in future, they will be recognised and avoided or approached carefully. This is fine with something that is truly life threatening. But this ‘emotional learning’ holds us back when it attaches to something which, in reality, is harmless.

If someone is highly anxious at a meeting where men are wearing suits and some are wearing glasses, they may ‘learn’ to be frightened of people wearing suits and glasses in any context because these were the factors during that first experience of panic. The part of the brain that has to do with survival absorbs these factors as being important and produces an anxiety reaction when they are encountered in future. The emotion provided the ‘glue’ in order to stick the conditionings of the original experience to future experiences. The rational brain ‘knows’ the unconscious reaction is inappropriate but seems powerless to change the response. An anchor has been set up and this is how phobias are learnt. Patterns are matched, but in a ‘sloppy’ way. Fortunately patterns can be unlearnt and that is where hypnosis is so vital.

The five groups of anxiety symptoms

• Those produced by ‘autonomic arousal’: palpitations, heart racing, sweating, trembling, shaking or dry mouth.
• Those involving the chest or abdomen: shortness of breath, difficulty in catching breath, choking sensation, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or abdominal distress (stomach churning).
• Those involving the mental state: feelings of being dizzy or about to faint, de-realisation (a sensation of things being ‘unreal’), depersonalisation (a sense of the self being distant and detached from the surroundings), fear of losing control, going mad, passing out or dying.
• Other general symptoms: hot flushes or cold chills, numbness, tingling sensations, muscle tension, aches and pains, restlessness, inability to relax, feeling keyed up, on edge or mentally tense, sensation of a lump in the throat or difficulty swallowing.
• Other non-specific symptoms such as exaggerated response to minor surprises or being startled, poor concentration (mind going back through worry), persistent irritability and difficulty going to sleep through worry.

Panic attacks

Panic attacks are actually a misnomer, since nothing is attacked, they are simply the label given to extremely high levels of anxiety in which the fight or flight response is evoked. Panic attacks share many of the symptoms of free-floating anxiety or generalised anxiety. The key feature of the panic attack, however, is that the symptoms are present for a discrete period only. There is a beginning, middle and an end. Their onset is abrupt and they build up rapidly to their peak (normally within ten minutes) during which time they can be extremely distressing and frightening for the sufferer. Often the presence of one symptom can lead directly to another (e.g. palpitations lead to fear of having a heart attack).

The eight core fears behind most panic attacks are:

• dying from a heart attack
• dying from suffocation
• having a stroke
• fainting
• having a nervous breakdown or ‘going crazy’
• losing control
• feeling so weak that you cannot move or might fall down
• believing you are going to be embarrassed or humiliated.

How over-breathing can produce symptoms of panic

When a person breathes in, they take oxygen into their lungs and the haemoglobin in the blood carries it to the tissues. The body cells use the oxygen, producing carbon dioxide as a by-product. The carbon dioxide is carried back to the lungs where it is breathed out. If a person breathes in too much oxygen, however, the excess is exhaled along with any available carbon dioxide from the arteries. This can cause an imbalance leading to a rise in the pH level of the blood. This can lead to vascular constriction resulting in less blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. This is why people who have panic attacks often report numbness in an arm because of the decrease in blood flow.

Symptoms of hyperventilation

• light headedness
• giddiness
• dizziness
• shortness of breath
• heart palpitations
• numbness
• chest pains
• dry mouth
• clammy hands
• swallowing difficulty
• tremors
• sweating
• weakness
• fatigue.

There is no need to suffer from something within you but out of your control!!!
I have successfully used the Rewind Technique on hundreds of clients over the last few years. Only two of those clients had a re-occurrence of the symptoms. When the issue was re-addressed in their second session, I found some deeper associated issues that were the primary cause. Both clients continue to remain symptom free. See me for an appointment now and get your life back !!!!