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It is estimated that millions of people in the UK suffer from various phobias, with acrophobia or the fear of heights being the most common. This fear often manifests as extreme nervousness in a variety of scenarios, such as: ascending flights of stairs, looking out of windows in tall buildings, climbing ladders and more.
Experts believe that those suffering from acrophobia have experienced certain frightening situations in their past which have triggered a conditioned response to the stimulus of height. Hypnotherapy is effective in addressing this issue but it is not a quick fix solution. Some people notice positive changes quickly while others take several sessions before theyíre able to gain composure. It all depends on how deep the personís fear is embedded within the mind.
Symptoms and dangers
There are various mental and physical symptoms which are indicative of a personís fear of heights. Obsessive thoughts, unpleasant images, fear of losing control, feelings of unreality, an inability to focus on anything other than the fear, anticipatory anxiety, terror and desire to flee from the situation, and the sudden urge to find something to cling onto represent some of the mental symptoms. Excessive perspiration, dizziness, nausea, palpitation of the heart and irregular body movements represent some common physical symptoms.
The biggest drawback of experiencing a phobia is that it may lead one to limit their daily activities and feel terrified or paralysed in various settings. It could also make a person paranoid and prone to make irrational moves. Therefore it is imperative that acrophobia be professionally treated as quickly as possible, especially if the person is required to face heights due to work conditions or for other reasons.
A person can also learn self-hypnosis by referring to audio or video CDs, books and other materials. However, it is highly recommended that you experience the state of being hypnotised by a qualified professional at least once before you undertake self-hypnosis. An experienced professional will be able to guide you and provide you with exercises which you can perform in your own time and whenever you find yourself in a fear-inducing situation.
The process of understanding your fears, reconditioning your mind, changing your attitude towards the problem, and breaking free from the chains of your phobia become much easier under the guidance of an experienced specialist. After this, the regular practice of self-hypnosis can effectively continue the process of bringing positive changes to your attitudes, beliefs, feelings and behaviours.
It is useful to also know that hypnosis is not a single practice: there are different methods and strands including traditional hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis and relaxation hypnosis, all of which can be used in overcoming the fear of heights. Feel free to inquire which options may be suitable for you and to raise any questions you may have about the treatment with your hypnotherapist.
(Photo by Kristin Smith)