Claustrophobia and hypnotherapy
Claustrophobia is anxiety which occurs in confined areas; there is often an element of feeling trapped, without having a way to get out. If you have claustrophobia it can drastically impact on your daily life. It can be felt by anyone at any time and comes in various forms and degrees of severity. Lots of people are not comfortable in enclosed or very small areas, or occasionally feel they have to leave a crowded shopping centre, for example. But for a few, it's a permanent thing and even thinking about such a situation can bring about strong feelings of panic and anxiety.
How does claustrophobia work?
Claustrophobia is a very common phobia and at its most extreme it can make life very awkward. It may cause you to steer clear of queues, flying, cars or lifts, you may even struggle to be hugged, or dress in snug clothing.
Sometimes you are aware of your dislike of enclosed spaces, but now and then claustrophobia sneaks up on you: you may not realise you have a problem until you find yourself in a situation that triggers the phobia and you are suddenly overwhelmed with panic. Then, the next time you find yourself in a similar situation the memory of the first time can make it happen again.
Once a pattern is established, you often start to feel anxious about the anxiety itself and find ways to avoid triggering it off. If you think that a certain situation will bring about a phobic reaction, you simply don’t go there. This can lead to your life becoming more and more restricted.
These restrictions become habitual behaviours, deeply ingrained in the unconscious mind, which is responsible, among other things, for memory and emotions. The conscious mind, which is responsible for logical thought, knows that there is no real danger, so you might try to simply ignore your fears, but when what we know and what we feel are different, what we feel tends to win out.
What can help claustrophobia?
I offer a variety of approaches.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and hypnotherapy combined can provide an effective treatment for a wide range of phobias, including claustrophobia. Hypnotherapy is thought to work directly with the unconscious (emotional) mind, and NLP focuses on behaviour and thinking.
I also often include some EMDR (you'll find more about this here). This was originally developed to work with trauma but is also used to help desensitise you to the events or places that trigger off your phobia, so you simply don’t experience the same levels of fear.
It's rarely an instant fix, as therapy is usually more of a process than an event, but often a few sessions can help and make you free to live your life again.
Do contact me for more information if you want my help.
Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.
For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593.
Researcher & drafter on these blogs: Rachel Waller.