Agoraphobia and Hypnosis

Another common phobia is agoraphobia. It’s a form of specific phobia or a feature of panic disorder with agoraphobia. People can develop agoraphobia, however, as a specific situational phobia through traumatic conditioning. For example; someone trapped in a specific environment for a period of time. Panic attacks can ensue from a traumatic experience.

The initial panic attack usually is not caused by the environment itself but from a perfect storm scenario. First, the person tends to be a worrier…second, the person is experiencing a period of chronic stress… third, the person is in a situation and becomes aware of intense body sensations associated with high physiologic arousal and then makes a catastrophic misappraisal of physical symptoms, such as ” I’m dying or I’m going crazy” and then the person has the panic attack, a sudden rush of fear or terror. The cause may be unknown , or the incident could stem from other stressors in the person’s life. But after the attack the feeling of panic is connected to the site of the attack. The fear may then spread to similar environments—from shopping malls to any atrium like space…or from bridges to freeways to even neighborhood streets. The person’s zone of comfort becomes smaller and smaller, and in extreme cases she may fear going any distance from home.

Hypnosis can help with some agoraphobias through gradual exposure in imagery to the environmental triggers. The client can learn to tolerate uncomfortable situations and feelings in a safe environment. The client gradually learns to tolerate uncomfortable situations and situations in a controlled setting. The client learns that these feared physical sensations aren’t dangerous and she becomes increasingly confident when approaching situations she used to avoid.

If you suffer from agoraphobia or a specific phobia, please feel free to contact me with questions at 361.442.9590 or