I often think that phobia is an overused word and often very misplaced. I very rarely find that the phobia that somebody comes to me with is the actual problem that we end up resolving. Phobias to me are often short cuts to thinking where something happened at a point in someone’s life and the mind reached an inappropriate conclusion, usually as to cause.
For example, I had a gentleman come to see me with a phobia about mice and he didn’t understand it. From a young age he had never had a problem with mice, as a boy he had one as a pet, and in fact he didn’t mind them at all. We talked about his more recent experiences, and he described the problems of living next door to a derelict building which had a mouse infestation. In a bid to resolve the problem one of the neighbours had put down poison which caused considerable pain and bloating to the mice before they died. These poor creatures were then getting caught in the traps my client had set. However, because of the bloating the traps couldn’t work effectively, and my client found himself having to put the mice to sleep.
Under hypnosis it became clear that the problem for my client was not the presence of mice but the horror he felt when he felt forced to put them to sleep. We then reframed this as a humane and decent act, and he left the session happier.
I love it when clients get to the root of their phobias because very quickly the walls of the phobia can come tumbling down.
How does this work?
In the therapy room – or online – we will analyse and understand the phobia and develop an approach to resolving it.