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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

How To Overcome Fears & Phobias: Hypnotic Desensitisation

Hypnotic Desensitisation is a technique that has been used successfully for over 50 years in clinical practice to help clients overcome anxieties such as public speaking, job interviews, fear of flying, claustrophobia and blushing.

It is based on systematic desensitisation, a technique devised by Wolpe (1961) that is an empirically supported treatment, which means that it has had replicable, credible research carried out on it and has been found to be effective.

How does it work?

The anxiety we have experienced in the past is most likely a learned response, an old habit. Just like any other habit, physical tension and emotional anxiety can be learned over time and become attached to specific trigger events, places or situations.

However, anything that can be learned can also be unlearned. All habits can be broken.

Of course, it is not always easy to break an established habit unless you have the right kind of help, and that’s exactly what systematic desensitisation is designed to offer you.

The way to break an old habit is by replacing it with a new habit - a counter-habit. Anxiety and relaxation are two mutually exclusive states; they cannot dominate the same body at the same time, the stronger one tends to progressively cancel the weaker one out.

By training yourself to relax very deeply and by facing your fears gradually, you can use the relaxation response to cancel out anxiety, in steps and stages, and replace it with feelings of calm. All it takes is a little patience and focus.

Adding hypnosis to Systematic Desensitisation makes the process easier for the client. Not only does hypnosis induce a very deep state of relaxation but gives the opportunity to use visual imagery of the feared situation rather than having to be placed in the situation.

I use Hypnotic Desensitisation to help desensitise my clients by imagined exposure, increasing their self-control and bringing down the fear and anxiety, allowing them to experience those situations in reality in a calmer, controlled way, giving them the confidence to do the things they have been fearful or anxious of doing previously.

Looking for an anxiety therapist in Wimbledon? Get in touch with The Mindful Therapist today.

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