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Hypnosis and the Fear of Crowds
by Jon Rhodes
The fear of crowds is an anxiety disorder which can severely limit the lifestyle of the sufferer. Those who suffer from a fear of crowds often have several symptoms when in or approaching a crowd. These include heightened alertness, increased anxiety, nausea, headaches, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, shaking, chest pains and more.
This leads to those who have a fear of crowds avoiding situations where they may have to confront their fears. Crowded places such as public transport, shopping malls and busy streets are avoided at all cost. If this fear is left untreated, sufferers can find smaller and smaller groups of people affecting them to the point that they no longer leave the house. This is why it is so important to treat a fear of crowds quickly and effectively.
A cycle of fear is created, whereby a sufferer will feel fear when in a crowd of people and leave in a frightened state. This tells the subconscious mind that you were just in a dangerous situation. Next time you are in a crowd, the subconscious remembers this, and creates even more fear than the last time in order to help meet your survival needs. This can cause you to be more fearful and run away sooner when there are less people around than before. This cycle can continue many times, making the sufferer more and more fearful each time.
Hypnosis is a very effective tool for relaxation. It can help calm both the mind and body. A clinical hypnotherapist will typically relax the patient before gradually introducing suggestions of being around people. He will guide you to imagine being around a small amount of people. The hypnotherapist will then gradually increase the number of people when he is sure you are calm and relaxed before each incremental increase. This teaches the subconscious mind that it does not experience any dangers or alarms when around people, and thus breaks the cycle of fear.
The subconscious thinks that it has experienced a situation where you were in a crowd and there were no dangers or fears. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between what it has actually experienced and what you imagined in trance. Therefore it can quickly grow in confidence that it is perfectly safe to walk amongst people in a crowd.
This is a really effective method of treatment and borrows from the psychological technique of systematic desensitization. This is where a patient is gradually introduced to a fear stimulus one step at a time. In this case you might walk to the bottom of your street and back. Then you might go into a small shop, and so on, until you are in a busy shopping arcade with hundreds of people around you. Hypnosis has the advantage that you don’t need to go out and find differing sizes of crowds to graduate up to, which is practically impossible in the real world.
Hypnosis has a strong scientific foundation and is tried and trusted by many people around the world. Hypnotherapy is not just confined to stage hypnotists turning people into chickens. It is a safe, powerful and popular form of therapy which can help transform people’s lives in a positive way.
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About the Author
Jon Rhodes has worked with people suffering from severe mental health problems since 2001. He has been involved in the successful long term rehabilitation of many people, helping them to integrate back into society. He works with people suffering from such severe illnesses as schizophrenia, autism, personality disorders , and many secondary illnesses such as depression.
In 2002, Jon decided to expand his knowledge base, and studied to be a clinical hypnotherapist at the London College Of Clinical Hypnotherapy. He can be reached at www.hypnobusters.com.