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Fears & Phobias

A phobia is an overwhelming & debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.  Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that's causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.

A phobia is an anxiety disorder symptoms may show until contact with the source of  the phobia.  In some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can make a person feel anxious or panicky. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.

Simple Phobias: 3 - 4 sessions.

Complex Phobias:  Average 10 - 18 sessions.

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Types of phobia

Phobias can be divided into 2 main categories:​

Specific or simple phobias

Centre around a particular object, animal, situation etc. Often developing in childhood they may get less severe with age.  E.g.

  • animal phobias – such as dogs, spiders, snakes or rodents

  • environmental phobias – e.g. heights, deep water, germs

  • situational phobias – e.g. visiting the dentist or flying

  • bodily phobias – e.g. blood, vomit or having injections

  • sexual phobias –performance anxiety or the fear an STI.


Complex phobias

Are more disabling & they usually develop during adulthood,  associated with a fear or anxiety about a particular situation.

The 3 most common complex phobias are:

  • agoraphobia - being in a place where escaping may be difficult during a panic attack

  • social phobia - feeling anxious in social situations, speaking in front of people, being humiliated in public.

  • emetophobia - an extreme fear of vomiting, seeing vomit, watching other people vomit, or even feeling sick.

What causes phobias?

There are a number of associated factors e.g.,

  • maybe an association with a particular incident or trauma

  • maybe a learned response from a parent or sibling

  • genetics, some people could be born to be more anxious 


With Solution Focused Hypnotherapy at The Willows Hypnotherapy I can provide support to manage & alleviate phobias & fears.  Using a process called "rewind & reframe" after any complex anxieties are resolved we can reset the mind to be able to manage & potentially eliminate the phobic response.

By using a combination of psychotherapy techniques and trance I can facilitate the process of recovery and by explaining how the brain works, why & how phobias are created and what we can do about it.  This process allows the client to think more clearly & rationally.

An image of Sue Wimpenny owner of The Willows Hypnotherapy

The Symptoms of Phobias


  • fear of losing control

  • fear of fainting

  • feelings of dread

  • fear of dying

  • triggers for fight/flight response


  • sweating,hot flushes or chills

  • trembling

  • shortness of breath or choking sensation

  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)

  • pain or tightness in the chest

  • nausea

  • headaches, dizziness, feeling faint

  • numbness or pins and needles

  • dry mouth

  • a need to go to the toilet

  • ringing in your ears

  • confusion or disorientation

Changes in Behaviour​

  • in severe cases, may prevent you carrying out everyday activities, such as eating out or meeting friends.

  • lying to avoid situations through embarrassment.

  • loss of friends through fear

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