Fear of People Hypnosis and Self-Hypnosis
Imagine standing in the checkout line at your neighborhood supermarket. Nothing is wrong. Yet you are almost rigid with fear again. And this sense of impending disaster is a familiar feeling.
Hesitantly you look around. As you suspected, all eyes are on you. They can see right through you.
Your vulnerability is as plain as if you wore a sign that said, “I am afraid of you. I am different.” The man behind you says something. You try to respond. You try to say something. You try to say anything. No words actually come out. ‘You stammer.”
He says, “What did you say?” You know he must be sure that you are a complete fool. Your mind has gone blank. All you want is to be alone in your room.
A nightmare? Well, sort of. It is a description of a typical incident in the life of people with social fears. When a true phobia, it is defined as an irrational and excessive fear of other people. The Social Phobia Association estimates that 7% of all Americans suffer from it. Shame and embarrassment are their most common emotions.
Severity ranges from discomfort to immobilization. Sometimes the phobia centers on people in particular situations or particular kinds of people. Large gatherings. Strangers. Authority figures. Dating situations. Other times it is more generalized extending to family members and other people supposedly close and non-threatening. The social phobic feels as if he or she is being constantly judged, and found lacking.
How do people who fear other people and social situations cope? Often they respond in a very understandable way. They avoid any potentially threatening social interaction. They turn down invitations. They isolate. Often they lead lonely lives of extreme avoidance and self-inflicted isolation.
All the Lonely People. Where do they all come from?
What causes fear of people and genuine social phobia? Probably a combination of an innate sensitivity and lack of emotional support perhaps even oppression, in childhood. Social phobia is a learned emotional response. Just as we learn to speak, ride a bike, read and handle the myriad challenges associated with life, we learn how to perceive ourselves in relation to other people. The social phobic defines him or herself as less than others.
They see themselves as uniquely socially inept. They become preoccupied with what they regard as their defect. And they endow others with an aura of exaggerated prestige. The problem stems from childhood and is aggravated by the young social phobics experiences growing up into society. A painful self-fulfilling prophecy is acted out in a series of reactivating, highly emotional encounters. These crystallize the sufferer’s identification of himself as separate from and less than others. These situations might be job interviews that go poorly, social situations such as parties, romances gone bad, or downright bullying. These reinforce the social phobic’s view of himself as “less than” others and in danger of losing control of him or herself at a moment’s notice. They come to see other people as threatening and themselves as lacking any power for self-defense. Falling apart in public is a common worry of socially phobic people. They fear social situations where they will simply cease to function appropriately and make a fool out of himself or herself. Unable to speak. Incapable of thought. Utterly humiliated. Destroyed. Paralyzed with fear.
It is a lonely world.
All the Lonely People. Where do they all belong?
The good news is that there is hope for the socially fearful person. If you are not formally diagnosed as a genuine social phobia and require medical attention, hypnosis and self-hypnosis can help you break free. Even if you are under a physician’s care, hypnosis in conjunction with psychiatric treatment can accelerate your progress and I am happy to work with you, your physician and/or licensed mental health counselor to help you break free.
Sadly, support groups are few and far between so one-on-one hypnosis and hypnotic coaching may be your best answer for support to complement medical treatment. This is possibly due to nature of the phobia. If you are interested in starting one yourself, you should visit https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/successful-social-anxiety-groups. They offer support for people including starting and running support groups. You might also try www.socialanxietysupport.com and www.socialphobia.org for information and support.
How hypnosis can help you overcome fear of people
and social situations
Hypnosis adds another dimension by implanting new thinking patterns as post-hypnotic suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions can help the client raise their self-image as they learn to see themselves as worthy, whole, complete and equal to any and all whom they might meet. Hypnosis and visualization also allow the client to “practice” new behaviors within the safety of a hypnotically induced sensation of relaxation and peacefulness. In this way the client can gradually desensitize him or herself before reinforcing these ideas in real life.