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Dealing with Phobias with Neuro-linguistic programming and craniosacral therapy

Fear seems to be one of our innate system that can either save us from danger or in our modern lives, keep us frozen in time. When a certain event that caused a strong fear, from childhood to adults, and that fear is reinforced day by day, then anxiety and phobias starts to arise. How we deal with our fears, it depends on our inner resources. Some people or children, might develop a phobia or anxiety attack in certain situation and others will be absolutely fine. This all depends on the unconscious and the memory that we retain. Quite often the negative fear memory or the event can be distorted and exaggerated by the mind. It depends on the internal support that that child or adult has and the external support. The negative fear loop can be changed in an adult by seeing the events in a different way and in a safe space. For children is reinforcing the safety of the event or possible danger with advice, e.g., if a child is scared of the dark, reassuring that child that is ok and he is safe even in the dark will help them waking up in the middle of the night terrorized if the light is off. This is a small example. In adults’ phobias can be stemming from a single event and reinforced every time that something triggered that memory. With NLP and CST, we work together in changing that memory so that the person feels ok.

For example, one of my clients was terrorized of snake, even if he saw them on a newspaper. We worked with Craniosacral therapy and NLP to reduce that fear, so that he could travel, with cautious but not terrorized of moving or travelling, where possibly snakes would be around. Obviously, he would be careful of not stepping into one, but he could see a film and read magazines, where snakes were presents, without triggering his fight and flight stress response or even a panic attack.

Where and how fear is sensed, which then could become a phobia:

  • Ears – a certain sound can trigger the fear from an event, e.g., if you grew up in a war zone and then moved away, fireworks or a car backfiring would trigger that stress/fear response.
  • Eyes – Seeing anything that would remind you of a certain event would trigger the stress/fear response (mainly the amygdala, a gland in our brain that senses fear and then send the signal to another gland (hypothalamus) for the stress response to be activated.
  • Touch – The sensation of touching something that reminds you of the fear, will lead again to that stress response.
  • Memory/unconscious or conscious: Just thinking of a particular event or similar would lead to the stress response.
  • Sensing/taste/smell: All this sensation will trigger the stress response to the event or similar situation that caused exaggerated fear.
  • Knowing/feel of energy around us: For the most sensitive people, that sense of knowing that something is dangerous will lead to that stress response.

The right amygdala seems to be more connected and activated with fear conditioning, while the left is more connected with the non-conditioning fears. The conditioning fears are the ones that were strengthen by society or growing up and the environmental circumstances, while the non-conditioning one could be related to one event or thought. Phobias are persistent fears of situations, activities, or even avoidance of people or gender. People with this type of fear, will work very hard to avoid it at all cost. In my life I have encountered people who were terrorized of feathers. This type of fear, could lead the person to stay indoors more often as feathers are very difficult to avoid from the birds and pigeons. There are children that are terrorized of dogs, even though they have never had a traumatic event. This could easily be reinforced by the responsible adults who might have had a bad experience with dogs themselves, or other religious reasons. Another example of phobias is taken a lift, or going through a tunnel. This again can be life restricting experience if not dealt with.

Fear conditioning has been studied in numerous species, from snails to humans.

  • In humans, conditioned fear is often measured with verbal report and galvanic skin response (the hair raises up in fear).
  • In other animals, conditioned fear is often measured with freezing (a period of watchful immobility) or fear potentiated startle (the augmentation of the startle reflex by a fearful stimulus).
  • Changes in heart rate breathing and muscle responses, and eventually panic attack, which will lead to phobias.

A number of theorists have argued that conditioned fear coincides substantially with the mechanisms, both functional and neural, of clinical anxiety disorders.

There is a direct relationship between the activation of the amygdala and the level of anxiety the subject feels. Fear responses can include freeze, startles and increase in heart rate and sweating.

People with exaggerated fears or phobias, quite often trigger a stress response, even by anticipating the possible event or conditioned that they are scared about. A person can be into a panic by just thinking that they will go through a tunnel the next day. Another possible scenario is meeting a manager at work that has caused constant stress, hence, the person might physically be ill all the time, when they need to meet the manager one to one or in a group session.

The solution, which is easy and long lasting, that I found works for many people with fears/phobia is Neuro-linguistic programming and craniosacral therapy together.

This might take one or more session to reboot the brain to settle in a more relaxed and balanced way. It depends on the history of the person on how long it will take to get to a balance state of mind.

The phobia might go on the first session, but the way a person deals with any emotional threat might take a bit more.

Book your first consultation by emailing Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) at esposito_m@yahoo.co.uk or calling her on 07956662954

© Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) R-Nutritional Therapist – NAET practitioner – R-Craniosacral therapist – Neuro-linguistic programming practitioner – Certified Angel Guide