The fear of heights, also known as acrophobia, is an extremely common phobia experienced by men and women of all ages. In fact, researchers have shown that to some extent, a fear of heights is natural to many people and animals. What turns a common fear of heights into a phobia is that the fear is so extreme that it is considered irrational, or it interferes with a person's daily life. In an effort to avoid heights, people with acrophobia are often forced to avoid tall buildings, balconies, and other common areas and situations. In some individuals, the mere thought of heights can be enough to trigger an anxiety attack.
The fear of heights can be triggered in any elevated location that makes a person feel uneasy. This includes ladders, rooftops, staircases, roller coasters, bridges, and many other places we encounter in our daily lives. Some people with a phobia of heights may feel comfortable in some areas, like their own two-story home, but get scared in other situations, such as when they are climbing up a ladder.
Acrophobia can trigger very intense symptoms, including anxiety attacks, dizziness, nausea, fainting, shaking, sweating, and many others. Unlike some other common phobias, many people with a fear of heights do not respond by getting "hysterical," but instead become "petrified" or frozen with fear. For instance, a person might climb up a ladder, but suddenly feel too nervous to climb down and become trapped this way.
Acrophobia can be particularly debilitating because sufferers may find themselves emotionally overwhelmed in situations where they need to stay calm and relaxed in order to stay safe. People who find themselves in a high up place, such as the top of a staircase or a ladder, may suffer a panic attack resulting in an injury. Or, a person might start trembling so hard that they risk falling and getting hurt. It is thus important for people whose acrophobia is potentially dangerous to get treatment for their condition.
In the past, treatments included repeatedly exposing a person to heights so they could try to "face their fear." This approach proves traumatic and ineffective for most people. Other, more successful treatments include anti-anxiety medication and therapy. Hypnotherapy is a particularly good treatment because it is safe, effective, and non-invasive.
Traditional hypnosis works by using direct post-hypnotic suggestions to "tell" people what to do. In this day and age, this method often proves ineffective. These days, people tend to be independent thinkers and will resist direct suggestions by unconsciously rejecting their instructions. Experienced hypnosis practitioners now use more sophisticated Ericksonian hypnotherapy techniques to circumvent this problem.
Ericksonian hypnotherapy, as developed by Milton Erickson, MD, is a much more effective form of hypnosis than conventional methods. It uses indirect suggestions hidden in stories, metaphors, and conversation to guide the unconscious mind into a new, phobia-free thought process. This works because it is much harder for the unconscious to resist suggestions hidden in a dialog, than direct post-hypnotic suggestions that are apparent to the conscious mind.
A good hypnotherapy program combines a multitude of different techniques to ensure its effectiveness for every individual. The combination of several Ericksonian hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques is perfect for virtually everyone trying to rid him or herself of a phobia.
The combined program begins with a relaxation therapy session. Once your mind is calm and clear, NLP techniques can be applied to eliminate a phobia. All phobias stem from the same type of thought process, so all it takes is a single hypnotherapy program with the correct formulation to vanquish any phobia, or even multiple phobias.
Summary: Many forms of therapy rely on conscious effort to resolve a phobia, but this often does not work because phobias are rooted deep within the unconscious mind. The techniques available in Ericksonian hypnotherapy and NLP are particularly good at curing phobias because they operate at this unconscious level. Phobias are triggered when the emotion of fear is unconsciously connected to a mental image, such as looking down from a high place. By separating or disassociating the feeling of fear from the image, certain hypnotic and NLP techniques can permanently cure a phobia very rapidly.
Hypnotherapy sessions can help a person quickly and easily conquer a fear of heights. It is one of the safest forms of phobia treatments available, with no negative side effects. For people looking to overcome acrophobia or any other anxiety disorder, hypnosis offers a well-balanced form of stress-free phobia relief.