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charlize burstein

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Can phobias be cured?

If you have any examples, please share. I'm interested in the psychology of fear.

Topics: fear psychology
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    Nov 18 2012: I used to be afraid of the dark. After buying my first house, I woke up one evening after dark and felt afraid, in my own home. I didn't know why I was afraid, so I decided to analyze what it was that I was afraid of. I felt that there was some sinister presence in the house. I knew that there was no one there, so I had to ask myself why I felt that there was something there. Was this something in my own mind? If it was, then I should be able to manipulate what I felt. I consciously tried to make it feel as if it were receding, and it did. I then consciously tried to make it feel as if it were approaching, and it did, along with a heightened sense of fear. I then consciously tried to alter its nature to something less sinister, like a disney character. Before long, I was imagining Daffy Duck bouncing all over the walls. I have never been afraid of the dark since. I had to experience that I was conjuring up all this fear, probably because of stories I had heard as a child. Once I knew that the fear wasn't based on something real, it went away.

    There is a book "The New Primal Scream" by Doctor Arthur Janov. He presents evidence that many different kinds of symptoms can be the result of suppressed childhood trauma. The trauma resides in the brain, but out of the range of conscious awareness. Because it is there, it creates psychological effects, but because it is outside of awareness, the reason for the effects is hidden from the victim. No amount of reasoning can cure the patient. The trauma itself must be exposed and discharged before the symptoms will go away.

    If my first suggestion offers no help, you may want to invest in the book. At any rate, it explains a lot about why some people do irrational things. Many of his patients have gone on to live fulfilling lives.
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    Nov 17 2012: Not all phobias represent medical conditions, so the term 'cure' may not apply to all of them.

    Fear is part of our instinct of self preservation so if that was 'cured' our life expectancy may shrink faster than we would wish it to... :o)

    The pathological side of fear is different though, yet also highly individual. Personally I don't know of any 'cure' with a success rate of 100% but to those who got healed, this statistic doesn't really matter.
  • Nov 16 2012: Hi Charlez

    to answer to your main question, I would say: YES, it can.

    I have several experiences:
    First time I have tried fast phobia cure on my ex. she was phobic of spiders. whenever she was cleaning the house, I had to have earplugs, because she would scream her head off. it took me two weeks to convince her that it is possible to be cured, I finally got her on "psychologist couch" (well it was in our living room): I made her to go into hypnotic trance and used NLP's unconscious suggestions and mind programming. within 20 minutes she had a spider walking on her arm and a big smile on her face.

    a young student who was scared of mice, I could find out that she liked Jerry (from Tom and Jerry) and I helped her to see all the rest of the mice just like that cute one, Jerry... It worked.

    and university student whose biggest fear was public speaking and presentations, well, We met a three time and about an hour each time... he broke that fear, he went to do his presentation, they kept him talking more than an hour. he made it!

    if you are interested in this, I can give you some names to check up: John Grinder and Richard Bandler (founders of NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming) Paul McKenna, etc

    Derren Brown (British mentalist and illusionist) uses psychological suggestions and linguistic techniques in his performance. lately he had a TV show called: Fear and Faith

    This is the link of part one. (Part two is actually tonight on Channel 4)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfDlfhHVvTY&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLSrVPXhDOjuhNva1dH1I53g

    anyway... there are a lot of ways to overcome fears!
    Remember FEAR stands for: False Evidence Appearing Real

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself!

    Wish you the best
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      Nov 17 2012: thank you a lot Edwin. I have one more question about hypnosis, is it really possible to be cured by that kind of tool?
      • Nov 17 2012: Charlize,

        as a great believer in this approach to cure phobias I would say: YES, it is possible.

        say, you go to a psychologist and they give you placebo ... (do you know what it stands for in Latin it means: I shall please") and it contains no medical effect whatsoever, it gives a false signal to your brain as if you are talking pills for certain treatment and your brain activates the belief system to cure you. so who does the work: the psychologist? the placebo? or, your brain?

        doctors say that to give up smoking isn't an easy job... you know why they say so? to sell they treatment and pills. but in actual fact it is just a matter of decision.
        as a joke I tell smokers: "to give up smoking is easy, I do it every day" (actually I don't smoke)
        it is the shortest story I tell them while I am using embedded suggestions: (your tone needs to be changed when you say it)

        "..give up smoking.." is a commend
        "...is easy..." comforting and programming their belief system
        "..do it ..." is a commend

        try to find some materials in internet, there are many sites that offers step by step fast phobia cure process... if you have any phobias, first try on you.. then use the steps on someone else, see how it goes.

        cheers
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          Nov 17 2012: I have tried so hard, psychologist even couldn't treat me, so I'm helpless but I'm steal fighting with my fears. I do not know what to do, this fear do not allow me to live as I want to live
      • Nov 17 2012: Maybe you haven't tried hard enough yet.

        TRY? what kind of action is that?

        Now try to stand up!

        when you finish tell me what you have done please.
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    Nov 19 2012: Possiably, but what would you want to cure it. I would think you would want to bring it back into normal healthy fears.

    It is not abnormal to hate snakes .... it would be abnormal to faint everytime you saw one either in a photo, movie, real life, etc .... To cure the abnormal fear is good to remove all fear would be endangering you.

    So the question is what do you mean by "cure".

    All the best. Bob.
  • Nov 19 2012: I believe that phobias can be controlled but I don't believe that it can totally be cured.
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    Nov 19 2012: I would think that phobias usually stem from exacerbated natural fears or repressed/traumatic events sometimes imposed on things. So if you confront the stem of your fear (your traumatic event or remember repressed event) then yes a phobia could be cured.

    There are many people who talk about thins Freud for example.
  • Nov 17 2012: Yes.

    My wife was so scared of spiders that she would become hysterical at the sight of one. One night she had a dream that recalled the time she spent at Bible camp. This triggered a memory that completely explained how she became so frightened of spiders. Since that dream she has been able to face her fear and has gradually overcome it.
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    Nov 16 2012: Yes they can. I would look at health resources from credible organizations that are not trying to sell you anything.

    Here is a start: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Phobias/Pages/Introduction.aspx