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Here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic a combination of clinical hypnosis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)  is used. This helps the clients to fully understand their condition with intellectual insight, which then enables them to have emotional insight. The unconscious mind is our guardian, helping to make us aware of potential danger. Sometimes though, for reasons perhaps well hidden, the unconscious goes too far and a phobia develops. By exploring the nature of the phobia, hypnotherapy can successfully help a patient overcome his or her condition even when a phobia has existed for many years

Phobias Explained

Phobias cause unreasonable fear. They trigger anxiety about an object or situation that is out of proportion to reality.

We are all familiar with being scared and will usually take steps to avoid circumstances that unsettle us. For example, we might avoid walking across a field if we see a bull or avoid driving when there is ice on the road. This is merely self-preservation – we are taking actions to minimise danger, slight though the risk might seem to others.

In some circumstances, the risk is so apparent, anyone should be fearful, for example being confronted by someone armed with a gun.

Fear sends adrenaline racing around our bodies preparing us to fight or flee.

It is a natural reaction.

And phobias trigger the same reactions in sufferers even though, in reality, the threat is negligible or non-existent. Thus an anthophobic will be scared of flowers and a zoophobic will be terrified by animals.


A fear of open spaces.

This can effect driving

Walking in certain areas

Meetings and socialising in large areas


A fear of closed spaces

This can occur in


Lifts/ elevators

Small rooms with one exit


Animal Phobias

Bees and Wasps






and any others…

Social Phobias

Eating in public

Blushing (Erythrophobia)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)



People with phobias suffer to varying degrees. In extreme cases, simply thinking about the subject of the phobia can trigger a panic attack. The physical symptoms include dizziness, breathlessness, a racing heart, sweating, trembling and nausea. Added together it can debilitate a person – make him or her incapable of functioning properly and even put life at risk. For example someone with a fear of bees (apiphobia), if confronted by the insect while driving is in danger of crashing.

Sometimes I’m asked how many phobias there are. The answer is that the number is countless because any object might be the subject of a phobia, from ketchup bottles to spiders. I’ve treated many different kinds myself.

But there are two basic categories:

  1. Simple (specific) phobias
  2. Complex phobias

Simple phobias are the most common and there a numerous categories. Here are just a few as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

● Animal phobias: this is a fear of animals, the most common being spiders, snakes, rats and birds;

● Natural environment: the fear of such phenomena as height, sea, thunderstorms or aging;

● Situational: the fear of being in such circumstances as confinement in small spaces or in darkness or fear of flying;

● Physical: fear of injury or of blood or injections;

● Other: for example a fear of clowns or of catching an illness.

It might be that a phobia presents few problems because the likelihood of the sufferer encountering the object of his or her fear is rare or occasional but, as stated already, in severe cases anxiety can be triggered by the thought of that specific object or situation.

Complex phobias can have a severe impact on a sufferer’s life as the phobia might relate to an object or situation not too easy to avoid. Social phobia and agoraphobia are two of the most common complex phobias. The former, often known as social anxiety, might be restricted to such challenges as addressing a number of people, ie public speaking, or extend much further, making it difficult for the sufferer to mix with other people and rendering even simple tasks such as shopping an ordeal.

Agoraphobia is in most commonly thought of as being a fear of open spaces. The reality is more complex and can develop into an aversion to all kinds of actions such as travelling or being among crowds. It can extend too to embrace secondary phobias such as anxiety over being alone, known as monophobia.

There is a myriad of phobias and I have compiled a list of just a few of them below. Anyone seeking help should be reassured that the hypnotherapist is not going to consider any phobia bizarre no matter how strange the client perceives the condition to be themselves. So there is no reason to be embarrassed. It is helpful to remember that all phobias have a root cause and can affect any one of us.

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