When people think of hypnosis in relation to phobias, most people would think of using trance to get over the irrational, debilitating fear. When I think of phobias and hypnosis, though, another thing also comes to mind.
One of the most important parts of hypnosis is imagery – it’s one of the most used and useful tools in a hypnotist’s arsenal, but it can harm as much as help the trance process.
One of the important things to cover with a subject in a pre-hypnosis talk is to ask them about fears and phobias that they have. If the goal of the hypnosis session is to alleviate some of these irrational fears, then some are apparent. Otherwise, though, a hypnotist might not think about what their subject is deathly afraid of, and that can be dangerous for the rapport and trust that the hypnotist is working so hard to build.
Imagine someone has just completed an induction, and proceeds into a staircase deepener. Rich imagery helps this deepener greatly, and often the staircase is described as a spiral staircase.
Fun fact: I once cried for 10 minutes at a tower in Casa Loma when my parents tried to drag me up a spiral staircase. Now, I was probably five years old at the time, but the point is that you don’t always know what will push people out of their comfort zone, and when you’re running a hypnotic induction, you’re definitely want your subject nice and comfy.
This goes for people looking to be hypnotized as well. Especially if you’ve had problems in a previous experience, make sure you let your hypnotist know about phobias or fears like claustrophobia before you start.
Full disclosure of phobias can make a hypnotic trance more enjoyable for both the subject and the hypnotist.