What Is A Phobia?
According to the dictionary a Phobia is 'a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.' (Dictionary.com)
For me it's important to make a distinction between a fear and a phobia because often I treat them slightly differently. In my world a Phobia is an irrational and extreme reaction to the said object, activity or situation. Many people fear something i.e. don't like it, but to me that's not necessarily a phobia. A phobia is when the reaction is subconscious (i.e. out of your conscious control) and far outweighs the severity of the situation.
How Do You Develop A Phobia?
In my experience there are three ways people develop a Phobia:
1) There was an incident - something happened which you found incredibly emotional usually when you were small e.g. your brother threw a spider at you or you got lost in crowded space etc. This may be something you remember happening but equally you may not consciously remember it because you really didn't think it was that important.
2) Learnt Behaviour - This one is something which you've learnt over time. You probably didn't like the object, activity or situation very much. Then whenever you did it again your anxiety grew. Then you started to feel anxious about being anxious...an so on. Now you're at a point where that evidence in your head is so big you freak out at just the thought of it.
3) Disassociation - This is slightly linked to 1) but differs because of it's origin. Our minds are amazingly clever. Sometimes if you're going through a tough time but for some reason you can't process the emotions of it at the time. e.g. a client had an utter melt down on a flight of stairs but up till that point had been absolutely fine with stairs. I found out her dad had died 6 months before that time but she had a very young child to take care of. Our minds try to 'help' us deal with our emotions by disassociating towards an inanimate or mundane thing. It was difficult to deal with the emotions of losing her dad but it could deal with emotions easier if it was directed towards a mundane flight of stairs.
All three of these reasons can be just as easily rectified. A common misconception is that you've been that way so long you can't change it. The beauty of hypnotherapy is that you can access your unconscious mind and decide if that 'evidence' is helpful or not. So long as you actually want to change your phobia you can absolutely do it and life the life you want.
You don't have to take my word for it, here's how I helped Fiona overcome her phobia of flying.
If you'd like to know more contact me for a free 20 minute chat.
Hope that helps you understand more about Phobias and where they come from.