The distinction between 'fear' and a 'phobia' is both real and important. Fear is part of our natural survival instinct. It is caused by the perception of imminent danger, whether real or imagined and arouses the 'fight or flight' response in us.
But a phobia is an irrational, often obsessive and persistent fear of a situation, place, object or experience which are not genuinely threatening.
If you have a phobia it is quite likely that you already recognise that your fear is irrational – but that does not make it any less of a problem.
Sometimes the origins of this condition are known - sometimes it is not while the intensity of the emotions it arouses can range from mild to extreme. This also brings with it a feeling of loss of control.
Often phobias impose severe limitations; limitations on what a person feels able to do, where they can go. In their effort to cope, people with phobias will often develop avoidance techniques. Phobias can be life limiting.
Sound familiar? Well the good news is that phobias frequently respond extremely well to hypnotherapy, enabling clients to regain a sense of being in control of their lives. And bringing to an end a personal problem which may well have lasted for many years.
A sense of losing or being out of control is a very common feature of phobias. The techniques employed by skilled hypnotherapists can enable you to develop and maintain the understanding and knowledge that you are in control.
Research in this area was pioneered by Dr Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at Manchester University's Medical School and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, who says: "IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body.
During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then over a number of sessions, learn to change the way the brain modulates the patient's gut activity.
Bill Doult is a therapist who has been specifically trained in gut directed hypnotherapy techniques to reduce stress and the sensitivity of the abdominal organs. He is a member of both the Register of Approved Gastrointestinal Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists and the UK Register of IBS Therapists.
Another recent study was the trial conducted by Edinburgh University - published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing - showing hypnotherapy both reduced IBS symptoms and improved the quality patients’ lives.
The Edinburgh investigation was headed by Dr Graeme D Smith who explained: "There's no universal agreement about what causes IBS and traditional treatment is often disappointing. This study shows that hypnotherapy can effectively reduce symptoms and improve quality of life and underlines the valuable role that complementary therapies can play in modern healthcare.
Fortunately hypnotherapy offers effective ways overcoming these emotional/psychological problems.
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from bruxism, teeth grinding or clenching and would like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you, then you can discuss the options by contacting the Therapy Partnership for a free consultation.