Hampshire Hypnotherapy & Counselling Centre

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Effective help for fears and phobias using hypnotherapy & counselling in Southampton, Fareham, Portsmouth and Winchester

What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?

The main difference is in the severity of the emotional reaction: a strong dislike of flying which can be controlled by the individual is a fear, whereas a pathological fear, where the feeling is an intense, uncontrollable, unendurable, physical fear, is considered to be a phobia.

Some phobias are a form of Specific Anxiety and are created in order to reduce very high levels of anxiety. For example, the phobia is related to one specific object or situation, i.e. spiders or heights. Other phobias are of a more generalised nature i.e social phobia or claustrophobia.

Over time, phobias may grow to the point where they have a serious impact upon the sufferer’s life, where they begin to lead their lives in a way which avoids the phobic trigger but which ultimately leads to a fear of the fear itself.


It is not uncommon for phobic’s to gradually limit their lifestyles and activities as a way to avoid the cause of the phobia. The boundaries of their life, their abilities, ambitions and freedoms are gradually eroded, having a serious impact on their professional and personal lives and upon their families’ lives also.

Some phobias occur as a result of an unpleasant experience that a person has experienced i.e, if a child was attacked by a dog. It is possible, though not necessarily inevitable, this child may grow up to be an adult who is extremely frightened of dogs to the extent that they cannot be near one without experiencing strong anxiety or even panic. Such a phobia serves a purpose, in the same way a fear of fire or drowning might.

Some phobias are symbolic phobias and appear to make no sense at all.

However, there is no effect without a cause and all phobias serve the same purpose – the body’s attempt to save us from a potentially threatening situation. It can happen that if a child has a terrifying experience and is unable to deal with the emotions they simply “block out” the memory of the experience and the feelings that went with it. If this happens then the feelings and emotions of that experience remain. As there is nowhere for these feelings to go, they remain inside the person, sometimes dormant for many years. When the person next experiences something that they find they are unable to deal with this can awaken the original feeling of fear but not the memory of it. The psyche tries to make sense of the feelings and will project them outwards onto something, which in many cases, is totally unrelated to the original cause, in other words, it is a symbol of the emotion.

Most phobias are not directly related to the cause of the emotion, they are symbolic of it. The most obvious example is the fear of flying. There are 12 million people in the UK who have a fear of flying – approximately one in five people. Yet how many of these people have lived through a plane crash? The majority of these people will most likely be connecting the experience of flying with an unconscious fear of being out of control, which their subconscious mind symbolises and then projects onto the act of flying.

Common Phobias

Suggestion Therapy works extremely favourably with the following common phobias.


This is a dread of open spaces and takes such a hold over the sufferer that they are sometimes unable to go outside for even short periods and consequently are ‘imprisoned’ in their own homes.


This is a fear of anything related to faeces – this includes going to the toilet in public, fear of being heard going to the toilet, fear of the smell of toilets, feelings of being dirty and unclean. People who suffer from this phobia often develop complicated routines to avoid having to use a toilet outside their own home and if they have a full-time job outside this can lead to waiting to use the loo for prolonged periods of time. Apart from the anxiety and panic that this can create, it can lead to physical problems such as severe constipation, piles and other bowel disorders.


This is a fear of being sick particularly in front of other people or in public places or of other people being sick. The sufferer will try to avoid places associated with eating or drinking such as pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes and tends to be extremely careful of what they eat and drink to avoid any possibility of being sick. This phobia tends to affect women more than men and consequently can lead to women avoiding getting pregnant for fear of morning sickness. As being sick is viewed as being horrible also feel the same way about toilets and going to the toilet.

Shy Bladder

Like Copraphobia this is a fear of using public toilets but this time it is a fear of urinating in ‘public’ and can similarly vary in intensity from feeling uneasy about doing this in a public toilet to complete avoidance. This affects more men than women as men usually have to pee in front of others whereas women have the privacy of a cubicle. As with copraphobia, this can lead to physical problems such as bladder infections.

Aerophobia – Fear of flying

Most people who experience fear flying fear being out of control and are often claustrophobic. A phobia is an intense fear that is out of proportion to the danger, which is particularly relevant to fears of flying. Most “flight phobics” agree that flying is safe yet it is still very frightening.

Social Phobia

A person is suffering from this when they have an acute fear of being judged by others, being ridiculed in public, being humiliated or embarrassed. It is not the same as being a bit shy or having a lack of confidence – many ‘normal’ people can experience shyness or a drop in confidence from time to time. A person suffering from social phobia finds it difficult to carry out even the simplest actions in public such as eating, drinking, going to a public toilet, using the changing rooms at a gym or swimming pool – any environment which might be considered by the person to put them ‘on show’ and the action of public speaking would be almost impossible. A person will often be extremely sensitive to criticism or any form of rejection. They easily feel inferior to others and suffer from blushing, stuttering or stammering, an inability to express themselves clearly and often find it difficult to maintain eye contact with anyone they are in conversation with. It is an extremely disabling phobia and, in fact, is probably the most common phobia of all.

for more info

For more information on treating phobias using hypnotherapy & counselling click here.


If you live in Southampton, Fareham, Portsmouth or Winchester and are suffering from a particular fear or phobia, or you’re experiencing panic attacks then pick up the phone today and call 0800 970 4776 and let us help you change in your life to live the life you deserve.

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