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Trypanophobia – meaning fear of needles?

A few moments ago, I was listening to a talk show on the radio about people dreading their vaccinations, as they have a phobia of needles – otherwise known as trypanophobia. When a fear is extreme it becomes a phobia.

All sorts of people were giving their opinions, ranging from: “Don’t be a wimp”, “it’s a very fine needle, you won’t even feel it”, to “just sedate yourself”. None were really constructive and probably left some listeners, with this very genuine phobia, feeling unsupported at the very least!

Phobias reside in the reptilian part of the brain – setting off the fight, flight or freeze subconscious reaction. It is the part of our brain where there is no value judgement, and our brain simply follows pre-setup neural pathways.

Our conscious awareness is always a 1/3 of a second behind our subconscious – so by the time we are aware of what’s happening, it’s already triggered. This is why any sort of change is difficult, we are always reacting to a series of templates in our brain.

One of the most amazing tools we have, is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between past, present and future. So, we can create a future memory and our brain will ‘store’ it like a regular memory. For example, if we have a needle phobia, using Brain Working Recursive Therapy (BWRT), we create a future memory of how ‘we’d like to feel instead’. Over-writing the phobic reaction. Another way of explaining it, is like ‘updating your out-of-date software’. It really is as simple as that! This process can be used to ‘update’ your self-confidence, update the type of leader you become in a crisis, update negative thoughts and reactions…

Don’t let a phobia rule your life – it can be resolved in as little as an hour, using the right techniques.

Irena-Marie Makowska is a Mind Coach & Workshop Designer / Facilitator. She specialises in emotional intelligence; neuroplasticity of the brain & change; self awareness; resilience; accelerated performance; well-being and mental health…

She uses a combination of visual mental imagery, mindfulness, BWRT® and transformational coaching. Email

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