Hypnotherapy for phobias

Our lives are made up of many threads: school, home and work. Pull one a little too tightly or sharply, and the tension on that thread increases. 

Relax the weight on the thread, and that same tension melts away. There’s a world of difference between day to day life matters that cause short-term anxiety and having a phobia. 

Phobias can have both mental and physical symptoms, and in some cases are incredibly debilitating. 

My Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions can free you of even your deepest phobia, and set you on the path to permanent, positive change. 

What are phobias?

Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder, and develop when someone has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about an item or everyday life situation. 

The NHS defines a phobia as: “an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal”. 

More pronounced than common-or-garden fears, many phobias can cause severe anxiety and even panic attacks. 

Because it is an irrational fear, a phobia can trigger a physical response known as a stress response. Feelings range from having butterflies in our stomach or to an overwhelming need to run away. 

Different types of phobia 

There are two main forms of phobia: specific or simple phobias and complex phobias. Let’s take a closer look: 

Specific phobias 

Typically, these are a fear that is focused on a particular item or animal, situation or activity. 

It is common for these most common phobias to have a root cause stemming from when they were children or during their teenage years. 

They can include: 

  • animal phobia: fear of dogs, spiders, snakes, rodents
  • environmental phobias: fear of heights, deep water, germs
  • situational phobia: fear of visiting the dentist, flying
  • bodily phobia: fear of blood, vomit, injections
  • sexual phobia: worries about performance anxiety, catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Complex phobias 

In contrast, complex phobias emerge in adulthood. Often stemming from a deep-rooted fear about specific situations or circumstances, they can be incredibly debilitating. 

The two most common complex phobias are agoraphobia and social phobia. 


Some people believe agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces but there’s so much more to it than that. 

Many sufferers feel anxious about having a severe panic attack in enclosed spaces or during certain situations where being able to leave may be difficult. 

As a result, they feel they would be trapped, and so don’t go outside. 

It means they can strive to avoid being alone, being in crowded public places, such as supermarkets or restaurants, or travelling on public transport. 

Social phobia 

As the name suggests, social phobias – also known as social anxiety disorder – stems from feelings of anxiety triggered by social occasions. 

Fear of embarrassment prevents people with social phobias from public speaking, but it can also hinder people from meeting their friends or eating out.

What causes phobias?

There are several reasons for someone to develop a phobia. 

It could be prompted by a particular incident or trauma, or learned responses developed early in life from a parent, sibling or other loved one. 

There is also some evidence to suggest genes have a role to play in what we fear too: some people are born with a tendency toward anxiety and phobia. 

Diagnosing your irrational fear

Not everyone who has a phobia necessarily has it formally diagnosed. Some people live with their anxiety for years, working around the object or situation that triggers a negative response. 

Going to your GP can help kick-start the process of healing the trauma underlying your phobic response. You don’t have to live in extreme fear. 

How to treat phobias 

The method I use to treat phobias is called ‘Rewind Reframe’ or the ‘Fast Phobia Cure’.  

Often called the Visual/Kinaesthetic Dissociation technique, it was created by Dr John Grinder and Dr Richard Bandler, and originated from neuro-linguistic programming, which they also developed. 

Also known as the ‘Rewind Technique’, it has been used successfully since the early 1980s for PTSD. 

It is also a tried and tested method that I combine with hypnosis, to place a patient in a deep state of relaxation and a ‘safe’ mental place.  

When they are suitably relaxed, I ask them to picture a screen, a television or a computer screen, for example, in their mind’s eye.

I then guide them through a visualisation in which they step out of their body and watch themselves looking at their chosen screen. 

This double dissociation allows them to watch the trauma or issue at the core of their phobia on the screen. They then imagine returning to their body and picture themselves ‘rewinding’ through the trauma as if a film is being played backwards. 

Finally, the patient will watch the same images, this time on fast forward, repeating it several times for every traumatic memory.

How many hypnotherapy sessions do I need to cure a phobia?

The technique I use takes three sessions

The first session is to calm the nervous system and allow the client to familiarise themselves with the process and hypnosis. 

The second is the ‘Rewind’ session where we remove the heightened emotion from the phobic template. 

The third and final session is ‘Reframe’ in which we reframe from the previous phobic template to a much more pleasant or calmer memory, allowing the client to experience the previous phobia without fear. 

Case studies

One person who came to me didn’t know what to expect, as it was their first experience with hypnotherapy and they were not a native English speaker. 

After only three sessions they were able to deal with their fear of flying and had a very pleasant trip without anxiety. 

Another patient described themselves as a “chronic overthinker”. They admitted they were “a total cynic” about hypnotherapy, but I helped them conquer their fear of flying nonetheless. They were able to enjoy a very successful trip to the US. 

What to expect from hypnotherapy for phobias

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the use of clinical hypnotherapy for phobias and as a successful treatment for other conditions. 

It is definitely not the same sort of hypnosis that you might see on stage. That is for entertainment purposes only. 

The trance-like state I induce is safe, natural and relaxing. It’s a mental place where the mind can focus on thoughts and suggestions that will help bring about positive change.

You remain in control at all times during the hypnotherapy treatment, from the first session to the last. 

That said, everyone’s experience of clinical hypnosis is different. For one client, it could be like day dreaming, while I talk, for another it’s a state of focused attention.  

As an experienced hypnotherapist, I have found that some clients don’t pay any conscious attention at all. It’s different for everyone, there’s no right or wrong experience.

What our clients say about their hypnotherapy treatment?

“I had 3 sessions with Sevarin for my fear of heights. I was planning an important family trip which involved travelling up a very high mountain. I was so very elated as we travelled upward to realise that I was not afraid. I was enjoying myself and was able to take in the amazing views. Something I would not have been able to do before my hypnotherapy sessions. I will be forever grateful for this amazing gift that I have been given.” – M Clark, 2023

“It was my first experience with hypnotherapy and I was not quite sure what to expect, but Sevarin was always very kind and professional in explaining the steps to me. After only 3 sessions I was able to deal with my fear of flying and had a very pleasant trip without anxiety. I am not a native English speaker but the therapy worked anyway. Highly recommended, if only to try something new when nothing else seems to work.” – F F, 2023

“As a chronic overthinker, I was a total cynic about hypnotherapy, but I’ve just returned from a very successful trip to the US having conquered my fear of flying thanks to Sevarin’s expert technique and reassurance. I’ll never forget her help.” – H McCarthy, 2023

How much does hypnotherapy for phobias near me cost?

The price of the treatment will be the cost of the three sessions.  

If you live in and around Cambridge, I hold my hypnotherapist sessions two days a week at two clinics. 

On Thursdays, I’m at Salus Wellness Clinics in Cambridge Place, while on Fridays you can find me at Coach House Health Care in Trumpington. 

Book your free initial consultation

Ready to step away from the phobia that is holding you back? Great! 

To book your free initial consultation, select a date and time to suit you here. Alternatively, you can email me at sevarin@lifeflowhypnotherapy.co.uk or fill in this contact form.

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