Module 5 discuss relationship between stress, anxiety, habits and phobias.
WORDS 2017 Justine Dickinson Module 5 GUILD1A“Discuss the relationship between stress, anxiety habits and phobias anddescribe how you would treat these issues with hypnotherapy”StressDefinition from on line encyclopaedia: In psychology, a state of bodily ormental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existentequilibrium.In short, stress is our body‟s natural reaction to fear or change. Some levelsof stress are normal. They help us to achieve at a higher level when we needto. They can also help us to make decisions that have become necessary duethe “stress” that a situation has caused. It is common for stress to come froman outside cause like, work issues, overloaded or long hours and demandingchildren. But stress has also been proven to be a learned behaviour. We canpick up stressed behaviours from a parent, we find ourselves stressed by thesame things our parents get stressed by and find it hard to deal with thesame issues without help.There are 6 different types of stress:Hypostress – a type of stress that comes from being under stimulated boredand can lead to depressionEustress – A type of positive stress brought about by a deadline orcompetition - Leads to the mind becoming stimulated to achieve.Acute stress - A type of stress that starts to physically affect the body.Episodic stress – A longer term stress that can have serious health impacts,such as, heart attacks.Chronic Stress – Very serious and long term stress – Has been linked tocancer and other life threatening diseases.1
Traumatic stress -Usually brought on by outside seriously stressful incident-Needs to be treated by a multi-disciplinary team.Stress can affect many parts of our lives left unchecked, the sufferer mayfind it difficult to concentrate, planning and motivation may start todeteriorate. Sleep may become disturbed and sex drive can also decrease.Stress can be triggered by a particular event like giving a speech or it can bebrought on by a constant situation for instance a relationship issue thatnever gets dealt with. The latter of these instances can also be evidence of alow self-esteem or confidence issue. Stress can lead to panic attacks.AnxietyWikipedia definition: Anxiety (also called angst or worry) is a psychologicaland physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, andbehavioural components.When working with anxiety it is imperative that we find out the underlyingcauses of the anxiety as an ethical therapist would be very concerned thatthe symptoms may be a sign of psychosis, schizophrenia, Bipolar or mentalhealth issue that could not be treated with hypnosis alone. It is criticalduring the initial consultation that we discover whether the patient issuffering from neurosis rather than any of the previous conditionsmentioned.Anxiety can be a positive thing. It helps us react in a survival way when facedwith danger. It can help us to fight or flight (run away). The problems startwhen our belief system takes over. Our subconscious can misinterpret amemory or an incident as always being a threat. For instance we get bittenby a dog when we are young; we then always find all dogs a threat. This isour subconscious triggering a response to a situation that has happened andcould be a threat in the future but is unlikely to always happen, but ourresponse is always the same. The subconscious cannot be a little bitthreatened, It only sees things in black and white. This can become lifeaffecting if we allow it to go too far. Eg avoiding parks, crossing the street2
when we see a dog or letting it stop us going out at all. Unchecked anxietycan lead to phobia. Anxiety is a self-perpetuating syndrome; you haveanxiety either about something or just generally, you allow yourself either tonot face the thing that you are anxious about or if you feel generally anxiousyou change your life to try not to feel anxious and this is turn makes youmore anxious. It is a vicious circle. Anxiety can also lead to panic attacks.The physical symptoms of anxiety are increased muscular tension that cancause discomfort and headaches. Breathing rapidly may make you feel light-headed and shaky, and give you pins and needles. Rising blood pressure canmake you more aware of a pounding heart. Changes to the blood supplyaffecting the digestive system may also cause nausea and sickness. Theeffects on your nervous system may manifest themselves in an urgent needto visit the toilet, and butterfly feelings in the stomach. Some of thesesymptoms could also be signs of potentially serious illnesses so as an ethicaltherapist I would conduct a thorough investigation to identify the cause ofthe symptoms during my initial consultation. It is always helpful during thetreatment of anxiety to discover the ISE “The initial sensitising event.” Thiswould help the therapy to be successful although from personal experience,I have suffered general anxiety disorder. I found that the relaxation andinformation I gained from therapy enough to be free from anxiety. I didn‟tever pinpoint the cause of the ISE, although I can see that the ISE would helpfinalize treatment as the cause would be known and would be helpful toidentify the cause of an issue to help deal with it once and for all and moveon without the questions how and why it happened in the first place andtherefore reassured it would not come back.PhobiaDictionary definition: 1. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of aspecific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite theawareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. 2. A strong fear, dislike,or aversion.3
It is impossible to list every phobia because they can develop around anyobject or situation: from fear of cotton wool to a fear of vomiting. In practicethey can be roughly categorised into two groups:specific (simple) phobiasThese are phobias about one thing; for example, spiders or flying. Theyoften develop in childhood or adolescence, and for many people they willlessen as they get older. It is difficult to group specific phobias intocategories.If you have a specific phobia about something which you do not come intocontact with in everyday life then it might be easier to cope with than aphobia about something which you have to face often. However, this is notalways the case. If you have a very severe phobia it can cause fear andanxiety even when the object or situation is not present.Complex phobiasComplex phobias tend to be more disruptive and disabling than specificphobias and often develop after adolescence. Two of the most commoncomplex phobias are social phobia and agoraphobia.Social phobia: If you have social phobia (sometimes called social anxiety)then you will feel very anxious when you have to be around people. Youmight worry that they are going to be critical of you, and that you will dosomething embarrassing. For some people, social phobia can be connectedto one specific activity, such as public speaking, but it can be much moresevere. It can become incredibly debilitating and a seemingly impossiblechallenge to engage in everyday activities, like shopping, eating out ormeeting friends. Panic attacks also come into the context of social phobias.Agrophobia:Agoraphobia is a very complex phobia usually manifesting itselfas a collection of inter-linked conditions.For example many agoraphobics also fear being left alone (monophobia),dislike being in any situation where they feel trapped (exhibiting4
claustrophobia type tendencies) and fear travelling away from their „safe‟place, usually the home. Some agoraphobics find they can travel more easilyif they have a trusted friend or family member accompanying them, howeverthis can quickly lead to dependency on their carer.The severity of agoraphobia varies enormously between sufferers from thosewho are housebound, even room-bound, to those who can travel specificdistances within a defined boundary. It is not a fear of open spaces as manypeople think.HabitsA habit is something we do unconsciously. Some habits are good andnecessary, we get in a routine about how we get ready for bed, cleaningteeth, washing, putting on cream etc. When we leave the house we check theoven is off, hair straighteners are off, we have keys, phone and purse. Theseroutines become a habit. Some bad habits may be smoking when stressed;during pre-menstrual tension eating chocolate for comfort and nail-bitingwhen we feel nervous or bored. Habits are created as a way of dealing withavoidance, creating comfort or generating a feeling of joy. Some habits areformed as a baby as in thumb sucking. This is a perfectly normal behaviouras a baby and child but becomes more and more unacceptable as we becomeolder. To change a habit we have to firstly become aware of it and it is nolonger effective for us and secondly we must make the decision and takeultimate responsibility to change it. The challenge with habits is to find theunderlying need that is being served by the habit and then to find moreconstructive and useful way of serving the need. Eg identifying that duringpre-menstrual tension, there is a need for more calories and replacechocolate with less fatty and sugary foods therefore breaking the habit.Treatment strategiesAn ethical therapist will take into consideration even the most apparentlysimple and shallow issue to ensure that there is not a deep rooted and moresinister problem other than neurosis. The common factors with all the issues5
discussed in this essay are that they all need proper investigation into the ISE“initial sensitising event” for a truly meaningful and deep therapeutic result.Also if unchecked all the issues may result in panic attacks occurring whichcan be utterly debilitating or other serious health implications like heartattacks or even cancer.When dealing with stress and anxiety the use of metaphors can be helpful.The induction should always be a very relaxing one as this in itself is part ofthe treatment. People suffering with stress and anxiety often have tensemuscles and stomach discomfort so some reference to these issues can behelpful. The metaphors that can be useful are writing the worry‟s on ablackboard and erasing them or as in “Hypnotherapy a practical handbook”the client is asked during hypnosis to imagine writing their worries on piecesof paper and then throwing them in a stream and watching them drift away.These types of metaphoric imagery need to be repeated many times but area pleasant gentle way of effectively facing worries in a detached fashion.When approached by a client to deal with an unhelpful habit it is helpful tobring into the conscious mind what has been an unconscious action. It canbe useful to identify what the triggers are for indulging the habit. Withsmokers it may be helpful to identify where and when and why they smoketo identify and bring into the conscious mind the triggers for smoking. Forexample if the client smokes when they are stressed, then the challenge is toidentify those situations and then replace the smoking with a more helpfulreaction to stress.When dealing with phobias; the cause can be recent, orit could have been anevent over a year ago that has caused the initial anxiety, the client didn‟tdeal with the anxiety, the anxiety increased the client started to change theirlifestyle with avoidance tactics and the clients issue has then developed intoa phobia. The identification of the ISE is imperative for effective treatment. Itis also worth pointing out that that a phobia can be learned and may notresult from a direct personal experience. Once the ISE has been discoveredthe script would have to confront the situation. As with all the issues6
discussed in this essay the client may be in an agitated state and thereforethe script would have to be of a relaxing nature, using a PMR first, a rapidinduction would not work well with an anxious or agitated client. Dependingon the severity of the phobia a metaphor that detached the client from faceon dealing with the issue could be very helpful. Asking the client to imaginea cinema screen and asking the client to imagine watching the situation fromthe projector room for example would be a gentle and non-threatening wayof exposing the client to a phobia without upsetting them so much thetherapy cannot take place.ConclusionIn summary all the conditions mentioned in this essay can lead to oneanother. Someone who is stressed, unchecked, can then suffer anxiety whenunchecked that issue can manifest as a phobia and so on. Someone with anunhelpful habit, unchecked can become stressed that may lead to anxietyand then onto panic disorder. There is a close relationship between all theseissues and indeed the same event can develop into any of the other issues,therefore illustrating the need to identify what happened in the first placeand what impact the situation is having on the client.7