Anxiety and Phobias

Greater Boston Hypnosis

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The news is filled with horrendous reports of violence. Most persons take reasonable precautions to protect themselves, however, while fears are shared by everyone in society, some individuals develop an intensified and irrational reaction. People with anxiety about crime may be inordinately fearful of it. They may find themselves walking alone and suddenly they experience panic because in their imagination they think someone is lurking behind the bushes watching them or they imagine that they hear footsteps and in fact nothing of the sort has happened. The heart races and the pace of the breathing quickens, perspiration increases and even lightheadedness or dizziness may ensue. Another example of anxiety might concern health. It’s not surprising that people should imagine that they have contracted all sorts of illness from heart disease to cancer to infectious diseases when we are constantly seeing news reports about them in newspapers, television, radio, in ordinary conversation and on the internet. As in the case with anxiety about crime, the everyday stress of disease and trying to stay well can lead to varying levels of fear. Still another example is performance anxiety. Stress relating to performance associated with work, sports, test taking concerning both studying for and taking tests or exams, sex–you name it–can become intensified to the point that the fear of failing generates enough anxiety so that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anxiety can become so detrimental that it interferes to such an extent with performance that the fears actually become realized. The negative result may unnecessary if good skills and sufficient knowledge is sabotaged by the anxiety. The ability to form anxiety is limited only by the imagination’s ability to create imaginary fears. The cure for anxiety is the training of the subconscious mind to respond more to rational judgment than to imaginary fear. Hypnotherapy is a powerful method for doing this.
A phobia is a more specific and/or extreme focus of particular type of anxiety. However, some phobias are the result of a traumatic or frightening experience resulting in a fear which prevents the performance of activities that are ordinary or were a regular part the person’s life before the traumatic episode. Sometimes the distinction is quite vague and the use of the term ‘anxiety’ or ‘phobia’ is a relative to the extremity of the condition. For example, someone who is very anxious in large crowds may not be regarded as phobic unless the anxiety becomes so elevated as to cause him to avoid crowds on a regular basis or interfere with the conduct of ordinary activities. In the more extreme case the fear of crowds would be called a phobia, while the less extreme but more functioning state of mind would more likely be described as anxiety. The same distinction could be applied to the earlier example of extreme hypochondria on the one hand, and less extreme but still troublesome excessive anxiety or fear of becoming ill.
Many types of phobia are well-known such as fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of the outdoors (agoraphobia), fear of closed or confined spaces(claustrophobia), fear of speaking before groups and stage fright, fear of darkness (lygophobia), and many, many others. Almost anything can become a phobia. To support this statement just review the huge phobia list found on The Phobia List. If you check it out you’ll most likely agree that, indeed, just about anything can become a phobia! (My favorite is philosophobia or fear of philosophy). Jokes aside, phobias are a very serious matter and can be highly debilitating for the phobic sufferer. The hypnotherapeutic techniques used for phobias can be similar to those used for anxiety and stress, however one that is particularly associated with phobias is hypnotic regression. In a regression, which generally requires a relatively deep state of hypnosis, the client is “regressed” to an earlier time where forgotten memories may remembered or “uncovered.” Once this occurs, and the conscious mind is made aware of the forgotten or repressed memory, and it can now educated the subconscious that the fear may now be let go of and released. With new knowledge of the forgotten past, the client is often able to resolve old issues that only an awareness of the forgotten or repressed memories can provide.
Philosophical counseling might also be considered as adjunctive to hypnotherapy for the management and control of anxiety. With me (as you probably already realize) things always seem to get back to philosophy. I can’t help thinking about the existentialist concept of angst when thinking about anxiety. I just looked at the site again and I didn’t find “fear of life.” Angst is really an unfathomable anxiety about an individual’s relationship to his own existence, his life and his death. It concerns the meaning of a person’s life and the meaning of life itself, and the inscrutable nature of whatever it means. We are an anxious species, we humans. We worry about this and that, we oftentimes worry just about everything. If there was no meaning we wouldn’t care. If we did not think we would not care. If we were machines we would not care, because despite all of the arguments that the human mind is nothing more than a very intricate computing machine thinking is more than the following of programmed instructions no matter how complex or elegant they might be. And meaning is not possible without thought, any more than a car knows the meaning of the road that it rides on. We worry because our minds want and need not only to exist but to be and to become. Anxiety about life itself is the general state of mind itself. We must all suffer some angst to be truly alive and to be free, free to confront our demons, our reality, and our dreams. Ah….all this and to be healthy, positive, and balanced! Indeed, the goal of hypnotherapy!

Surrounding Communities

Integral Hypnosis is conveniently located in Newton, MA near the Mass Pike and Route 128 and is within a 1/2 hour drive of the following Greater Boston, MetroWest, North Shore and South Shore communities: