8 facts about phobias

Tam Johnston

fear-photograher-needs-cred 1. Phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder. In the UK, an estimated 10 million people have phobias and that is probably under estimated as some people don’t like to admit they have them.

2. They are not rationale.  Phobias are a response led by the unconscious mind. It is the conscious mind that attempts to rationalise our response and recognises the response is extreme.  Yet the unconscious mind just does what it has learnt, often from a one time specific event and activates the response.

3. Our unconscious mind learns the phobic response extremely quickly. Phobias can be learnt from a significant other, originate from a one time event, learnt over time or can be created as a result of the displacement of an intense negative response to a different traumatic event that was occurring at the same time. This displaced response can be associated with a different trigger.

4. Fears can generalise. We can form a pattern from our response to one trigger, and once that pattern is learnt but our unconscious it can replicate and map that across to other things, for example from a snake to anything long and squiggly or from planes to all forms of enclosed transport.

5. The object/person/animal/place/situation that we are phobic of activates the same fight or flight response that occurs when we are in immediate danger or under threat, flooding our body with adrenaline. We can have the same reaction to an imagined trigger as the mind and body cannot tell the difference between what is imagined and what is real.

6. Phobias are caused by how we represent the phobia in our mind. This is usually in the form of intense and often overly proportioned imagery which is linked with unpleasant bodily sensations. For example when someone thinks of a spider that they are phobic of , they are often picture a spider the size of a cow in their mind! By changing the imagery and disconnecting it to the bodily reaction, we change how you respond.

7. Gradual de-sensitisation is a slow, traumatic and unreliable therapy. Having to re-expose people to their emotional response is unnecessary and unpleasant.  NLP uses dissociated techniques that offer rapid and reliable results.

8. By unlearning the old response pattern and changing the sequence and content of thoughts, a new response can be learnt quickly and easily.

Find out more about phobia treatment here: