A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, phóbos, meaning "fear" or "morbid fear") is an intense and persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive and unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one's control, and if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made.
Phobias are the most common form of anxiety disorders. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of Americans suffer from phobias. Broken down by age and gender, the study found that phobias were the most common "mental illness" among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25.
Phobias or fears can be either learned, or seemingly inherited. The latter being present from birth with no apparent explanation.
Hypnosis (H.S.A. Heightened State of Awareness) permits the practitioner to help the client access the originating event which resulted in the phobia. Once this event is isolated, it can be explored through therapeutic means to alleviate the associated emotional response rooted in the subconscious memory. Once the emotional trigger is either removed, or neutralized, the fear no longer exists.
For example: a client told me she was deathly afraid of spiders (arachnophobia). I asked her if she knew where this fear came from. Her reply was that it was genetic, since her mother is also suffering form the same phobia. I suspected it was a learned phobia since this is what she had been taught by observing her mother. If her mother is afraid of spiders, then obviously they must be feared. However this was not the case.
Using a technique known as Ideo Motor Response (IMR) I was able to ask the subconscious to recall the originating event which caused this fear of spiders. The client immediately recalled an incident when she was 8 years of age.
She was climbing a tree and the tree was covered in spiders. (It should be noted, that prior to recalling the event, a suggestion was given that there would be no negative emotional response to whatever event was recalled.) Using H.S.A. methods, I was able to then have the client's higher-self consciousness link to the conscious thoughts of one of the spiders at the time to realize that not only was there no reason to fear that spider, but in fact the spider was far more afraid than she was. She told me that the spider was male, and had a family and was only trying to provide for his family and stay alive. (whether this is fact or not, SHE believed it, and in that regard so did her subconscious. What the mind believes, the mind conceives. )
Adding to the experience, the emotions of the fun she was having climbing the tree and how beneficial spiders are in fact to humans (eating mosquitoes for example), she now could subconsciously associate spiders with something of a positive nature and emotion as opposed to the prior unfounded fears she had.
Being able to recall the originating event of a fear then looking at that event from a different and positive perspective, the subconscious memory can now include things which push aside the pre-existing emotional response in favour of either complacency or a positive emotion associated with the object of the phobia.