Almost all of us experience fears at some point in our lives. It is common to feel a little anxious the evening before a job interview or feel a little dizzy when looking down from a great height. For most of us these feelings are temporary and manageable. For those living with phobias however, this unease becomes a persistent and all-consuming anxiety with the power to turn into an overwhelming panic.
Hence, the difference between fear and phobia is that : feelings of fear are very common and diagnosable whereas phobias are not.
Fear is an emotional response of varying intensity aroused by a recognized and logical threat. It arouses a feeling of unpleasant tension and a strong impulse to escape, as well as certain physiological changes.
Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder and are characterized by intense and irrational fears of an object or situation that poses no real threat. It usually involves strong physiological and emotional responses.
Hypnotherapy can be very effective for specific phobias. This usually consists of systematic desensitization and other therapeutic techniques conducted under hypnosis by a clinical hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapy can help get to the root of the phobia and aims to teach the mind new responses as well as offering relaxation and visualization exercises. The main tool used here for dealing with fears and phobias is systematic desensitization.
In desensitization or exposure therapy, you are exposed in a safe and controlled way to the object or situation you fear. The most commonly used exposure therapy involves gradual encounters with the fear-producing object, first in the imagination and then in reality. Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you begin to realize that the situation, while possibly unpleasant, is not harmful. With each exposure, you feel an increasing sense of control over your phobia. This sense of control over the situation and yourself is the most important benefit of exposure therapy. As you become desensitized to your fear, you no longer react with uncontrollable panic when confronted by it.