Fears of heights, flying, driving, using public transport, spiders, exams and more

Phobias can develop from various psychological triggers, and so no person’s story and experience is the same. Phobias are essentially “learnt” behaviour, so the really good news is that in the same way that they are created through repetition, the phobic response can be successfully and completely overcome. Let me give some classic examples of how phobias can develop. Let’s imagine that I have a toddler child with me at home, and my child is happily playing sat on the floor. A spider runs across the floor, and my toddler, who is naturally curious, manages to pick up the spider and put it in his mouth, as he does repeatedly with all sorts of different things.

Now, even if my toddler were to eat the spider, it is extremely unlikely to cause him any harm whatsoever, because, as I tell my spider phobic clients, 99 % of the spiders found in this country are utterly harmless, and the digestive system is perfectly capable of dealing with it effectively. But if I am someone who reacts badly to spiders, and I am not thinking rationally about the situation, if I start shouting hysterically and gesturing to my toddler to stop what he is doing, he will start to make a strong connection in his mind that the spider is dangerous.

Once this has occurred, and if it is reinforced with similar instances over time, the response he develops towards spiders is more likely to become increasingly phobic. He has in effect “learnt” to be phobic of spiders by repeated exposure to my own (and others) irrational behaviour.

There is a very different way in which phobic responses can arise. Take the example of boarding a flight which unfortunately experiences bad turbulence or a near miss, or some other unpleasant event. Now rationally, this was just very unlucky, because incidents that are genuinely life-threatening are extremely rare with air travel. But if I was very distressed by this experience, life-threatening or not, and then I subsequently allow myself to dwell negatively on it, my subconscious becomes over sensitized, and I am much more likely to experience similar distressing physical and psychological when I next board a plane. I am creating a psychological pattern, a negative template of thinking and behaviour, and each time I go on a flight the pattern can become more deeply entrenched.

Alternatively, rising stress and anxiety levels in general can lead to unpleasant and debilitating phobias being almost randomly created. This is simply because the subconscious is on “red alert”, everything in my life is starting to become overwhelming and dangerous, and so the subconscious starts to “scan” my life experience for signs of potential danger. Thus it sometimes happens that after periods of high stress, a person may suddenly have panic attacks whilst driving, whereas previously they may have enjoyed driving or even been a professional driver. Or suddenly they feel claustrophobic walking around town or going into a supermarket, whereas previously they would carry out such mundane activities without any difficulty at all.

Hypnotherapy can successfully eradicate a phobia, by utilising techniques that persuade the subconscious that the feared experience is actually “boring” and “uninteresting”, so that no further emotional distress occurs during that same situation. Hypnotherapy is very powerful and safe, and it avoids the unhelpful technique of talking about previous traumatic events, which simply reinforces the message that the brain has a real “problem”. I have helped many clients to overcome phobias both commonplace and highly individual: everything from fear of flying, heights and spiders, through to buttons and a fear of bridges!

So why let your phobia distress you any longer? Give me a ring, let’s fix up a first appointment, and let’s get make your phobia a thing of the past!

Hi Rebecca, just wanted to let you know that my exam today went really well. I soon settled into the exam and had a clear head which felt like I could apply my knowledge. I almost vaguely enjoyed it! I wanted to say thank you for all your help. I sincerely cannot remember the last time I felt so able in an exam and much of that is down to your help
Jenny, Hereford
Hi Rebecca, the work you did with me has worked wonders. The improvement in my confidence in college has been unbelievable and I’m just about to get top marks for the course overall. Thanks ever so much and I will always think of you if problems pop up in the future
Dan, Hereford


Results may vary from individual to individual, and the outcome of any therapy session cannot be guaranteed.

Rebecca has clinics in Hereford and Malvern within easy reach of Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Kington, Ledbury, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcester and nearby villages in Worcestershire.

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