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It’s not uncommon for people to be a bit afraid of injections and needles when visiting the doctors or dentists, but when it is a full-blown phobia it can create a fear that is not only highly disturbing for an individual but can also stop them seeking medical or dental procedures when needed. True phobias are more pronounced than fears and develop quite often from childhood experiences leaving an individual with an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

Laura developed her needle phobia from a stressful experience when she was a child. She said that her fear was so extreme that, “I couldn’t even watch someone getting an injection on television. The thought of needles made me cry and it was an irrational fear I could not fight on my own and was frustrated that I couldn’t stop it.”

Like many others before her, she eventually sought help from a hypnotherapy.

According to the NHS, it’s estimated that around 10 million people in the UK have a phobia. Hypnotherapy can be one possible solution in helping people cope with the fear and anxiety. Laura’s anxiety was quite extreme. She couldn’t even let anyone, including friends, touch her inner arm which she associated with her childhood trauma. However, after two sessions this became possible.

Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, says people are sometimes reluctant to see their doctor about a phobia, because they’re embarrassed by it. “They may think they don’t want to waste their GP’s time with something as trivial as a phobia,” she says. “But there really is nothing trivial about it.Some phobia organisations offer clinical hypnotherapy, which isn’t available on the NHS. You’re not hypnotised in the same way that you see on TV shows,” says Lidbetter. “You’re put in a relaxed state of mind and asked to see yourself confronting your fear with confidence. It can be useful for people whose anxiety is so acute that they’re not yet ready for behaviour therapy,” she adds.

As for Laura, after four hypnotherapy sessions, she now feels she is well on her way to living free from this phobia and soon plans to donate blood – one of her long-held goals. She said of her experience of hypnotherapy, “Not only does Daniel work with you and help you to overcome a phobia, he also explains everything, which for me is not only fascinating but also reinforces the work that is done. I now have an awesome bumble bee tattoo and was able to have a blood test, things that were just not an option for me before. I have learnt so much and have made massive progress, achieving things that were impossible before.”

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