“Action conquers fear.” — Proverb
Approximately 19 million Americans have some type of phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear, which triggers feelings of danger that is out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The word phobia comes from a Greek word meaning “to be frightened.”
There are many ways a person can develop a phobia. Some remember a particularly traumatic experience with the feared object or situation. Others report that they have had the phobia as long as they can remember, or that they were always fearful of an object or situation which gradually developed into a phobia.
Some of the most common phobias include fear of spiders, snakes, cats, dogs, mice, birds, or other animals. Fear of being near water, storms, open and high places. Fear of blood, medical procedures, injuries, injections. Fear of driving, flying, elevators and other enclosed spaces. Fear of vomiting, choking, illness and loud sounds.
People with any of these or other specific phobias know that their fear is excessively irrational, but are unable to overcome their emotion.
Fears of certain objects or situations are considered a phobia when:
• The fear is excessive or unreasonable.
• The person almost always has an anxiety reaction when he or she encounters the feared object or situation.
• The feared object or situation is either avoided or endured with extreme distress.
• The avoidance, apprehension, or distress in the presence of the feared object or situation disrupts one or more aspects of a person’s normal routine.
In other words, when a person notices a specific fear getting in the way of routine activities or life satisfaction, then it is possible that he or she is suffering from a phobia.
Many clinicians believe that exposure to the feared object or situation is necessary to reduce fear. Such exposure in a therapy session is typically far in excess of the brief moments the phobic individual usually encounters the feared object or situation before escaping. Therefore this method runs the risk of further increasing the phobia.
If the feared object or situation can be avoided, people with phobias may prefer to lead restricted lives and endure disruption without seeking treatment, due to anxiety about enforced exposure.
A safe and effective method for treating trauma and phobia, known as
The Rewind Technique, is a simple application which does not expose the person to anxiety in the presence of the phobic object or situation but quickly removes the fear response from the traumatic memory or phobic stimulus, while the person remains relaxed and calm throughout the exercise.
This technique is highly successful no matter how long the person has suffered from the phobia and most people rate the treatment as a pleasant, non-threatening experience.
Sarah had been terrified of spiders for as long as she could remember.
Fear of exposure stopped her from seeking therapy but one day she attended a workshop, to learn about The Rewind Technique Quite unexpectedly, Sarah agreed to participate in a live demonstration of the treatment for phobia, an exercise which she found surprisingly relaxing and non-threatening.
During the next few days she experienced no fear while she calmly and confidently removed a spider she encountered in her house. She found it curious to notice that her fear had actually prevented her from getting close enough to realize that “spiders are no more frightening than other harmless insects.”
There are many benefits of using The Rewind Technique because the client is protected from the anxiety of reliving the trauma, enjoys immediate relief from even chronic symptoms, experiences an improved quality of life, regains confidence and no longer needs the use of prescription medication that is often used to treat the symptoms of phobia.
As far as the brain is concerned, a phobia is no different to a trauma, because the same neural pathways are involved. Therefore The Rewind Technique can be successfully used with people who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
This technique is the preferred treatment for trauma and phobia in the United Kingdom but is relatively unknown in the U.S. However there is one qualified practitioner working privately in Nevada City. Please email Nirupa Mayi at nirupamayi@ymail for more information.
Suzan Wilks lives in Nevada City.