Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Fears and Phobias

Chris is 12 years old. He has been terrified of the dentist for as long as he can remember. Or, more specifically, of the needles. As a baby, he needed lots of injections and he has carried the fear and bad memories of those times throughout his childhood and into his early teens.

At her wits end, his mum calls me to see if I can help.
I meet with Chris. He knows what I’m there for, and he wants to change but he’s understandably nervous. I mention the “D” word and he collapses, sobbing uncontrollably and shaking from head to foot.

I take him through an exercise which involves running the pictures in his mind backwards, and changing things about the memories to make them comical. Because memories can’t hurt us. It’s the emotions we attach to the memories that affect us, and when we wipe out the bad emotions, we are left with nothing more than an old black and white photo that we can either choose to file away or delete.

Our mind loves processes, so it stores information in a filing cabinet in the brain. It likes to link similar memories and keep them in the same place. For positive memories, this is a good thing. But for negative memories, it means that bit by bit your mind is storing a whole host of bad memories, piling emotions one on top of the other, and when we finally blow up or break down, we're feeling not just the emotion from a single event but from all the stored emotions at once.

Fears and phobias are only maintained because we continue to focus on the thing we’re afraid of, and the more we think of it, the worse it gets.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programming (a fancy term for learning how to use your brain effectively) we can “play” with our mind and change our programming to realise that the fear is not as bad as we were making it out to be in our mind.

Chris had a dental appointment the next day. He still felt slightly nervous but he walked straight into the room, sat down in the dentist’s chair and opened his mouth, ready for treatment.

The dentist stood open-mouthed himself. He couldn’t believe it was the same boy.

Many of us have fears and phobias, whether they be of needles, the dentist, spiders, snakes, dogs, flying... the list goes on.

Most fears and phobias are either linked to a specific event in the past or are learned behaviour from someone else. The good news is, using NLP and hypnotherapy, like Chris, you can be rid of your fears once and for all and get on with your life.

Because life is for living, not for fearing.

Read more about fears and phobias on my website

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