Among the primary reasons why people seek hypnosis is the need to deal with fear reactions. The range of such problems is extensive - from simple, annoying 'hang-ups' to specific (or non-specific) fears which affect the activities or enjoyment of life.
Under certain circumstances, or in specific situations, virtually all people are subject to a variety of rational or irrational apprehensions. Many of these originate in childhood when undeveloped reasoning ability creates in a young person a natural climate for developing fears of the unknown. Fears can, of course, develop in adulthood through traumatic experience, but many prove to have originated in early, impressionable years.
It is interesting to note that fears seldom travel alone. While one may be dominant and apparent, investigation usually reveals others which are associated and inter-related. Fears are not necessarily bad. They can be highly valuable if they serve useful purposes, such as creating caution in driving, locking doors, being prepared for emergencies. But when a fear causes alteration of a normal lifestyle, creating intense and irrational behaviors, becoming a threat to a person's well-being, it merits attention. Frequent occurrence is a strong warning signal that needs to be heeded.
A "hang-up" becomes a fear when it becomes noticeably disturbing and begins to affect behavior. A fear becomes a phobia when it reaches the point of being triggered by factors which are irrational and may be unknown, and when it is experienced so frequently that it affects an individual's normal activities. Hypnotherapists specializing in such disorders have claimed that the fear itself may not create the phobic reaction. It may well be caused by what the fear represents as an unknown danger. A key point is that a phobic person is threatened by something that does not in reality present a life threat. Yet the reaction is the same as it would be in a situation of real danger. The fear generates more fear, and the situation cannot be confronted in a calm state, so the 'victim' makes every effort to avoid it.
Specific fears often come from the perception of impending danger. Feelings of anxiety and panic tend to evolve into forebodings of approaching disaster, the source of which is not understood. The fear of loss of control is primitive and is likely to be a common element and basic cause in all phobia cases. It is not uncommon in relationship break-ups.
In mild cases, reprogramming through hypnotherapy can prove effective. Hypnotic suggestion can replace catastrophic thoughts with truthful statements explaining the nature of the symptoms and the realization that the physical sensations can cause no harm. Hypnosis can slow the heartbeat, achieve a sense of balance, generate relaxation through deep breathing, free the throat to swallow, overcome sensations of temperature change, and promote greater clarity of mind.
Age regression can be a highly effective technique for uncovering causes. It is one of the most beneficial procedures available in hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. Once causal factors are revealed, the hypnotherapeutic technique of desensitization brings the psyche back into balance, eliminating the fears. The fears are met and faced through the subconscious mind. Repeated confrontation causes deterioration of the fear symptoms and increases the ability to face and deal with past traumatic experiences without apprehension, which the conscious mind can then accept.