(This blog was originally posted on August 24, 2016)
|Photo by Rick Hustead|
Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D., once worked with a client to help her overcome her irrational fear of water. She told the hypnotherapist that she even felt anxious just thinking about water and always tried to wipe the fluid off her face as quickly as possible. This anxiety was a legitimate fear versus a phobia because the client had nearly drowned in a river as a young child and was subsequently involved in a car crash where the vehicle went over a bridge. However, she also manifested 27 symptoms consistent with having low blood sugar.
When working with someone who has an irrational fear of water, start by advising the person to change her eating habits to normalize the blood-sugar level, Dr. Kappas advised. It is also necessary to modify her suggestibility to decrease this fear and susceptibility to suggestions about it. Once the client is in hypnosis, work with the individual to separate her anxiety of water and the sensation of it making contact with her face.
Use circle therapy to desensitize the person to the fear reaction by repeatedly having her bring up the fear and then relax, the hypnotherapist said. This process will help the individual associate relaxation with the originally threatening stimulus. As the client disassociates her fear of water from the fear of her physical reaction, she will gradually be able to think about this stimulus without associating it to a fear response.
Finally, use a double bind to lock in her sense of relaxation, Dr. Kappas said: “The harder you try to feel the fear of water, the more difficult it will become.”
Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.