Very often we are unaware consciously why we have fears and phobias. They are often caused by a single event from our past that we might have blocked out on a conscious level but our subconscious remembers all our life events and believes we are still living in those events which is why hypnotherapy is such a great tool for changing negative thought processes. Another key reason for fears and phobias is learned behaviour, i.e. behaviour we learned usually from parents or possibly siblings – think of spiders – most of us have seen someone scream or panic when they see a medium to large sized spider.
Below is a testimonial I received from a client who contacted me to help her overcome her fear which related to a previous incident. We were able to make subconscious changes and now she can enjoy experiences that she was previously unable to enjoy due to her fear.
“I have developed a heights phobia over the past 20 years which has progressively worsened. It began with feeling uncomfortable driving over tall bridges in France and driving up mountains in Mallorca and Croatia and began to impact on our activities whilst on holiday. For example one year we drove over the bridge to/from the Ile de Re in South West France but 2 years later I was unable to face doing so experiencing the physical symptoms of fear – legs like jelly, cold sweat, heart racing and so on. In Mallorca a simple drive up the mountains to the east coast had to be stopped only a few bends up. Routes in France are planned to avoid the type of bridges that I find unbearable but this can add mileage to a trip and often as in Croatia there is no avoiding a transfer up or down a mountain to get to our destination.
It was my experience however on a ski holiday in 2014 that made me focus on the need to overcome this phobia not just for myself but because it was impacting on our family holidays. We were staying in Alp d’Huez in the French Alps and I had months to worry about us driving up the 21 hairpin bends to reach the hotel. By the time we reached the base of the mountain I was silently terrified! My husband is an excellent driver so I knew the fear was fairly irrational but the symptoms set in and it is now entrenched in family folklore that I went up with a jumper over my head most of the way! I thought I would be fine for the week’s skiing (our first time) but pretty much the entire week I experienced a new sensation of falling over the edge. The scenery and weather was stunning but as we sat in the sun looking across the clouds below us to far off snow-capped peaks I couldn’t shift a feeling of unease. For the first three nights my legs felt like jelly even lying in bed as I worried about the height. The thought of travelling back down the mountain roads at the end of the week was a constant worry so much so that on the last evening I was struggling to eat dinner. The trip down probably wasn’t as bad as I had built it up to be once we got past the top hairpin bends but when we reached the bottom and pulled into the car park to recover I felt such relief it was over and knew I would have to get help if I wanted to go skiing again.
Several months ago a friend mentioned Ann Bowditch might be able to help me overcome the phobia and so I thought I should give it a go. After two sessions with her she felt I should wait and see if it had worked.
I was able to put it to the test on our recent trip to Lanzarote’s national volcano park.
Although the mountain was nowhere near as high as Alp d’Huez we sat on a coach taking us up the fairly narrow single track mountain roads swinging around hairpin bends with fairly substantial drops at the side of the road. This would normally have put me into a fairly high state of panic. However, it didn’t!
The day before we went I did start to feel a little trepidation so I sat and did the breathing Ann taught me and told myself I was “safe” and entered a very relaxed state within 5 minutes. On the morning of the trip I kept this in mind and was able to watch other coaches winding their way up the volcanos without losing the feeling of calmness. On the trip up the mountain I could look ahead as the coach approached the hair pin bends and was even able to look out over it as the front part of the coach swung way over the bend! I felt fine. I also checked if I was OK to look out of our window down the high slope and again I was. It felt almost surreal, I was just engulfed in a relaxed and calm mood almost like when I was in a trance.
My husband and son were absolutely amazed, none of us expected it to be quite so successful after just two sessions with Ann and we cannot thank her enough for releasing me from the terror I would normally have experienced. Hopefully now I can travel to ski resorts knowing I can cope with the roads up to them. I am keen to try out a high bridge or two now and will probably feel more confident beforehand which will help.”
ANN BOWDITCH is a member and trainer registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register and uses her skills to help people overcome many issues including stress, weight loss, cravings, addictions, anxiety, depression, insomnia, bullying and confidence issues. Ann works in a unique way often by combining therapies tailoring sessions specifically for the individual.
Ann Bowditch GQHP, GHR Reg., META-P
Dip (Hyp) Hypnotherapy
EFT Level 3 (AAMET Certified) & Matrix Reimprinting
Meta-Health & EmoTrance Practitioner
Colour Mirrors Teacher & Practitioner
PSTEC Level 1-A (Advanced)