How can hypnotherapy and psychotherapy help with agoraphobia?
Well, each case is very personal and unique; the symptoms may be the same, however, the set of circumstances leading to the agoraphobia are very individualised. Using a mix of CBT, hypnosis and NLP, the sufferer can be helped to understand the condition and pinpoint it’s origin. The client and therapist work very closely together to uncover and eliminate the causes and triggers of the agoraphobia and teaches the client new ways of functioning.
Agoraphobia is a fear of losing control in an environment in which the sufferer either believes that he or she has no control, or with which he or she is unfamiliar, and should not be confused with the condition of a similar name, agraphobia. Agoraphobia extends to a variety of circumstances where the individual actually perceives a loss of control. In some regards, social phobia can also play its role in agoraphobia, since the individual fears the embarrassment of being judged by others, so the mere thought of losing control in front of other people is enough to illicit avoidance strategies in the subject. In certain cases, the fear is more generalised and can apply to range of unfamiliar locations even if there is no apparent link between such locations. However, in other cases the fear is more unambiguous and possibly linked, for example, to an upsetting or humiliating event that took place in a particular location. Ultimately, agoraphobia is caused by the irrational fear of places, or of going outside of the individuals’ comfort zone (their home for example), and the APA recognise three distinct phases of the condition (APA, 2000):
- A fear of going outside the region in which an individual lives, e.g. a city or a country.
- A fear of going outside the neighbourhood in which an individual lives within a city.
- A fear of going outside the home, or outside the boundaries of the home, e.g. beyond the garden.
In some ways, it could be said that there is a degree of separation anxiety, or at least an extension of it as the affected individual applies the same amount of anxiety to buildings and environments rather than people; in cases like this there is normally a degree of separation anxiety running concurrently regarding a specific person as well. Another common disorder that has an association with agoraphobia is thanatophobia, the fear of death, in which the individual thinks there is a likely chance or even an inevitability of death should they leave the safety of their familiar environment. Certainly, it is possible for this to be seen as a specific form of panic disorder in which the emphasis of the panic is on a particular factor, in this case a location, and attempts to control the panic by restricting the individual to that element. This may also be true of separation anxiety and other similar conditions.
Evolution Hypnotherapy, 64 Shackleton Close, Old Hall, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 9QE – 0800 849 9494 – 01925 354 820