In this post we will look what is fears and phobia and what is the best way to overcome the same.
Fear is an inbuilt survival mechanism. Like other emotions, the intensity of fear can vary from mild to medium, or intense.
However, many situations are simply perceived as being dangerous but in reality may not be dangerous. In other words, these are symbolic stressors which can activate fear response, which can be unnecessary at times.
For example, a person may see a dog at a distance and get scared, starts sweating and trembling. Now this reaction is not needed since the dog is not causing any harm currently. (This reaction may be necessary only if the dog is trying to bite you).
However sometimes fear can be useful as well.
E.g. A person who can’t swim and feels scared to dive in a pool, ensures safety and takes precautions. However, fears become a reason for concern when they are persistent and disrupt our daily functioning.
Reasons behind Fear
Most of the times, our fears are due to certain associations –
- Past experiences: A girl may panic the moment it starts raining, because she was held up at a place for 2 days due to heavy rains.
- Learning: A child may observe his elder brother getting scared of lizards and reacting in a particular way. The child may pick it up, thinking this must be dangerous and eventually learn to feel scared.
What is the difference between fears and phobias?
In most cases for an outsider the fears may appear to be irrational, but the person who is experiencing the fear generally seems to have a rationale behind holding on to the fear.
This is where from a therapeutic perspective phobia becomes different from fears.
For most phobic responses even people who have the phobia understand that the phobia is irrational. People who have phobias may even know that what they feel has no specific reason, but they still feel petrified!
Fear is when an individual sees a dog and gets nervous. One is said to have a phobia, when a person might not want to leave the house because he hears a dog barking far off.
Phobias are very intense fear which the person knows is irrational.
So what happens in the mind when we feel fear or phobia?
We are aware that, stimulus creates response.
What we need to know is that there is an internal world between stimulus and response. This internal world is unique to each of us and this determines the kind of response we give to the stimulus. That is why, not all of us are scared of dogs, snakes, lizards, etc.
Let us take an example from a case: A woman jumped and screamed every time she saw a cockroach. She knew the cockroach couldn’t harm her, but she reacted that way automatically and felt very scared.
During a therapy session (based on integration of Hypnotherapy & NLP), she realised that in her mind, the cockroach is enlarged and becomes as tall as a five storey building who is coming closer to eat her!
Her response was appropriate for her imagination. However, this story in the internal world din’t serve her any purpose. Instead, it gave her an undesired response.
Now, if the mind can create creepy stories in the internal world, it can also convert those into funny or pleasant ones. Since the fear / phobia response in most cases is a result of the internal story, as the story changes so does the response.
And that is exactly how the therapy can help, i.e by helping the client change this internal story in a way in which it benefits the client.
This understanding is the basis of the NLP Fast Phobia Cure process and also the incredible powerful yet simple If-Then statements.
If you are a coach or a trainer who would like learn and use powerful techniques like the if-then statement with your clients or participants, you will must search for the Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching™ Program.
If you are a psychologist who would like to work with clients that have intense fears or phobias or other persistent problems where your existing tools were falling short or taking too much time, you would love techniques that you will master during the Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™ Program.