Medical Fears and Phobias are more common that you might think:
When I was a little girl of about 8 or 9, I fainted when I had an injection at school.
It was a very cold school hall, I had had nothing to eat all day, the lad in front of me had been sick so there was that plus the smell of disinfectant, and I had watched all of my classmates have their injections before me, administered by a school nurse who in reality was probably a nice lady, but in my memory was very unkind and dismissive, bordering on the sadistic.
That was in the days of going to the dentist for all sorts of treatments (usually fillings), none of which involved any sort of pain relief or numbing – and I had been absolutely fine with that until the day I fainted having the injection.
After that it was pretty much down hill to the point that I couldn’t watch anything with blood etc or operations on tv and just the mention of injections brought me ought in a cold sweat with heart pounding and a face the colour of putty.
Over the years I got better with the dentist to the point where I could have injections in my mouth so long as I had my eyes shut and I could have an injection, preferably not in my arm; however, having my blood pressure taken or giving blood was far more challenging.
Fast forward a few years and I was told that I needed an MRI scan and might have to have an injection as part of the procedure – this took my medical hysteria to a whole new level!
Luckily for me this was whilst I was doing my hypnotherapy training and I was able to deal with the issues using a combination of positive mindset techniques including hypnosis, breathing and tapping techniques, together with reiki. I used all the techniques I had and the procedure seemed to be over in minutes.
Over the years as a hypnotherapist I have worked with so many clients with medical fears and phobias – the client who was so terrified of everything medical that she couldn’t even open letters from the hospital, the terminally ill client who had felt unable to have the tests and procedures necessary and so missed the opportunities for intervention, the client who needed an MRI scan and many clients with white coat hypertension…
What other medical procedures and situations come up as issues?
- Optician appointments
- Giving blood
- Blood pressure cuffs
- MRI scans
- Wearing a plaster cast
- Hospital environment – the lights, the sounds, the smells etc
- Medical uniforms and paraphernalia such as stethoscopes
- Smear tests
- X rays
- Accidents involving loved ones, including pets…
One of the most common fears is going to the dentist.
Why are so many people afraid of the dentist?
Well, think about how other people react when someone says they have a dental appointment; it’s usually grimaces, “ouch” or “eugh” or “Sooner you than me”, or someone throws in their own horror story – it’s never smiles and words of encouragement, is it? That does not help someone who already fears the experience!
It’s the same with injections and medical procedures; other people’s comments (often well intentioned) simply feed the fear.
Unfortunately, as we age we are far more likely to need some sort of medical procedure, whether that’s as simple as a flu jab or more substantial such as surgery, so having strategies to eliminate or minimise the fear or phobia is really important. Some people live with it until they become a parent or grandparent and realise that they do not want their children to learn these responses.
The first step is to acknowledge the issue – even if your nearest and dearest belittle it or tease you about it.
The next step is to take action: speak to your GP for advice and if appropriate look for a reputable and experienced therapist.
When I work with a client with a medical fear or phobia I first of all offer a free consultation; that’s just an opportunity to get to know each other a little, to ask and answer questions and also to test out the Zoom link etc as I work online. I am not medically qualified so I encourage my clients to see their GP if they have any symptoms which concern them.
I create a program which is the best balance for them using positive mindset techniques, breathing and tapping techniques – whatever is appropriate for that person.
Hypnotherapy is a really useful tool because it can help you to change the way you think and feel about your phobia so that you are no longer anxious and you’ll be able to think about it in a more positive way.
Remember though, hypnotherapy is not an alternative to seeking medical advice and treatment; always consult your GP if you have concerns about your health and do share with medical professionals how you feel. Using the nhs website or speaking to a pharmacist may also be useful.
Contact me to book that initial consultation and make that medical fear or phobia a thing of the past.