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  • Harry

Facing your worst fears

I have traditionally used hypnosis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help clients better manage their irrational fears and phobias - spiders, blood, needles, flying … Maybe it's now time for me to get a bit more high tech?

Following a trial carried out by researchers at Oxford University, the NHS in England is trialling the use of virtual reality (VR) for phobias and other conditions such as OCD. What happens is that sufferers use VR goggles to realistically experience their problem triggers. A programme of maybe six sessions over a couple of weeks has been found to significantly reduce a phobia to a level that was manageable.

One of the difficulties with CBT has been the practicality of applying a regime of progressive exposure, i.e. exposing the client to increasingly more complex or fearful scenarios such as being higher and higher off the ground for a person with a bad fear of heights for instance. A client with a fear of snakes or big hairy spiders would probably need an accompanied visit to the zoo! Now these things can easily be produced by VR software in the consulting room - or even more easily perhaps using the power of the subconscious mind during a session with a professional hypnotherapist!

Maybe I'll just stick to what I know?

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