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Addictions, Phobias, and How They’re Alike

Addictions, Phobias, and How They’re Alike A hypnotherapy teacher I once had shared her belief that drug addicts and people with severe fears/phobias have “entities” attached to them. Instantly, a picture flashed in my mind of slimy gremlins with teeth and claws, clinging to innocent humans. I...

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Addictions, Phobias, and How They’re Alike

Posted by healthyhabi | Posted in healing, Mental Health | Posted on 08-01-2017

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Addictions, Phobias, and How They’re Alike

A hypnotherapy teacher I once had shared her belief that drug addicts and people with severe fears/phobias have “entities” attached to them. Instantly, a picture flashed in my mind of slimy gremlins with teeth and claws, clinging to innocent humans. I began getting freaked out, and had to ask her to explain! According to the teacher, addiction itself becomes like a person—a parasite, really—that is secretly running the life of its host, sapping all their joy. The same is true for someone who lives with acute fear(s), which completely overpowers them and controls their behavior, emotions, words, and decisions.

I can’t say I’m willing to think of a drug addict or fear-ridden person as plagued by a parasitic entity…that’s a couple steps into the realm of “too weird” for me. However, in my work with clients over the years, I have come to understand what my early teacher was talking about.

For example, someone with a strong fear of driving is compelled to check in with that phobia before making any plans requiring travel. Person to Fear: “Would it be okay if I go visit Grandma on Saturday, or will you cripple me with terror and make me hyperventilate when I get in the car?” Fear to Person: “NO! You can’t go! What are you thinking? You would have to drive on the freeway, and I won’t let you do that!” At this point, the sufferer crawls into him- or herself and starts feeling anxious before they’ve even gotten anywhere near the car. They’re defeated once again, and their life just keeps getting smaller. In addition to that, they now have to make an embarrassing phone call to Grandma explaining (i.e. making up) the reason why they can’t come and see her.

Drug addicts have it even worse, as that drug, or more accurately, the need to keep that drug flowing through their bodies, literally consumes most of their waking thoughts. The fear of not having access to that drug totally runs their lives. I include food addiction in this category, as anyone who has an issue with food will tell you that thinking about it takes up a huge amount of their time. The only difference is that food addiction is quite a bit less destructive than drug addiction—or at least, less immediately destructive.

To make matters worse, in both cases, people around the afflicted person do not understand why that individual can’t “just stop” taking the drug or overeating. Why can’t that phobic individual “just get over it”? People who don’t have these problems simply don’t comprehend how difficult it is for people who do.

If you suffer from an addiction or phobia, what can you do? Get professional help. Like a weed planted in your back yard, either one of these issues will grow like crazy unless you do something early, when they’re less deeply rooted. From my experience with clients, it’s apparent that if ignored, these problems fester and get bigger—one small, mildly annoying fear can blossom into five huge, debilitating ones. With drugs, it’s even worse. These days, there are illicit drugs that can hook users after just one dose. Others may take longer, but it’s unsafe to experiment.

Both addiction and dysfunctional fear, which as you can see have certain similarities, are not only devastating to the person affected, but to everyone around them, including their family and loved ones.  Getting help might be easier if you consider that these issues affect more than just you. I, myself, am the daughter of a person who suffered from severe fears and phobias, and over time I’ve had to confront the detrimental effects this had on my own psyche. Please! Love yourself and your family enough to do the work to heal, because all of you deserve the best life possible.

And if you need help, Give me a call today!

Jill Thomas 760-803-2841


Help, I’m Afraid of Peacocks

Posted by healthyhabi | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-23-2016

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peacockI received an unexpected voicemail message from a man claiming he needed to schedule an “Emergency” appointment.

Firstly, the word “emergency” always makes me nervous because I’m afraid the person is suicidal, and they think I am a psychotherapist. Before calling him back, I grab the number for suicide prevention and google who I have to call if he really is. I was very relieved when a young sounding man answered the phone and told me he needed to schedule an emergency appointment to handle a fear. The fear in question… a fear of peacocks. “I’m sorry, did you say peacocks?” I thought he was joking. I have to remind myself to assume everyone is serious so I don’t start laughing.

“Yes, peacocks. I hate those stupid peacocks. I’m afraid of them, and I need this handled by Saturday.”  

“I am sure I can see you before then, but just out of curiosity, why Saturday?”  

“Because I am going to the San Diego Zoo with a bunch of friends, and they have peacocks there. I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of them.“ He explained that he was in the military, and they were on leave. Someone had gotten a bunch of zoo passes, and they were going.  

I have a zoo pass and have gone many times over the years. I hadn’t even noticed there were peacocks, but that’s how fears work. A person afraid of spiders can spot a spider from a mile away. I have a relative who finds money everywhere; he can spot a dime from a hundred yards away, whereas I could trip over a $100 bill and not see it. This is probably why he is richer than I am, but that’s a different story.

I have worked with clients’ fears of just about every barnyard animal that exists, so I have heard many versions of this story. Most frequently geese are the offending animal, although I have heard about quite a few horses as well. My client, who is stationed at the local camp Pendleton, is originally from Ohio. He grew up on a farm and had a very bad relationship with the peacocks they kept. They chased and pecked at him every time he was in the yard by himself.

For a long time, he was smaller than they were, but he still found them pretty scary even when he was quite a bit taller than they were. The fear was already locked in place. Even now when they chase him, he often screams involuntarily, which is fine when you are 6 but not so much when you are 25 and in the company of fellow marines. For some reason animals you are afraid of always seem to know this and will chase you no matter how old you are. It’s like you are marked. Similar to how cats always seem to know to jump into the lap of the one house guest who is allergic to them.  

In this case, we had to work on helping him release his fear and also let go of the habit of responding to peacocks in an embarrassing way. His response was just as much a habit as his fear was, and I hoped to help him not respond to anything in that way.  

The session worked well. I had a few extra passes to the zoo that I wasn’t using to give to him, so his session was basically free. Later, I got an email from him saying he had a great time at the zoo and for once the peacocks left him alone. Several weeks later I went to the zoo myself, and while enjoying a cup of coffee at one of their cafes, a group of peacocks came over to me and one pecked at my foot. My client was right. There are peacocks at the zoo, and they are mean… Stupid peacocks. 

Jill Thomas CCHT
Healthy Habits Hypnosis


“I accidentally made myself impotent, and I need your help.”

Posted by healthyhabi | Posted in healing | Posted on 10-16-2014

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“I accidentally made myself impotent, and I need your help.”

One of my first paid hypnosis clients was someone moving here from another state and looking to continue the work he had started with another hypnotherapist. Since at the time most of my clients were coming to me for common fears and phobias this man’s statement really intrigued me.

“I accidentally made myself impotent, and I need your help.” This was a deeply religious man, and in his religion, it was considered infidelity to even think about a woman who was not his wife in a sexual way. Unfortunately, in his occupation as a commercial photographer, he would often take pictures of women wearing little to no clothing. Even though he was married, these women would flirt with him making it nearly impossible NOT to think of them in a sexual way. Since he didn’t want to spend eternity in a very hot place (in his mind), he had created an interesting yet equally destructive way of dealing with this problem. He put on weight, a lot of weight at the time I was speaking with him. He was almost 400 pounds and had not been able to have sex for some time.

None of this was done on a conscious level. So for a long time he couldn’t figure out what had caused the problem. One of his friends had suggested hypnotherapy, and under hypnosis it was revealed that he was creating his health problem as a way of saving both his marriage and his soul.

I asked him how his prior hypnotherapist had help him discover the problem and he said “Well, after a few sessions, I came in one day, she hypnotized me and just asked, ‘What am I getting out of this?’ Saving my marriage was the first thing that came to mind. It seemed ridiculous at the time because in reality it’s actually making my marriage worse but in a different way.” He had actually created a real medical physical problem as a way to solve an emotional one.

That is often how our unconscious mind works; it looks at the bigger problem and tries to solve it, not noticing that it created another problem as a result of that unconscious decision. It’s a bit like a dark fairy tale where a person gets a wish granted. They wish for money, gain a lot of money but only because someone close to them died.

While I was working with him under hypnosis, this man was able to make a different decision about how he would solve this problem, one that would allow him to lose the weight and be healthy. In time, he was able to fix some hormone imbalances which were a part of his problem, lose the weight and return to healthy sexual function, as well as maintain a healthy, happy marriage without giving up a career he loved. All of this started when he stopped looking at the symptoms of the problem (weight gain, impotence) and looked at the underlying problem itself. So often we only focus on the physical, and we miss the underlying emotional benefit we receive by creating and maintaining this problem.

If you have an issue you can’t seem to get rid of, ask yourself, “How am I benefiting from this problem? What am I getting out of this?” Your first reaction will likely be an angry, “Nothing! This is all bad,” but try to go deeper, play devil’s advocate and look at things like, “Am I getting much needed attention because I have this problem? Am I getting to avoid something I don’t want to deal with because of this problem?” Having the answer may not automatically solve it, but you will be much closer to the solution than you were before. Love yourself enough to take a deeper look at the “why’s” of your problems rather than just the “what” of your issues and don’t be afraid to seek help. It may be closer than you think.

Jill Thomas CCHT
Healthy Habits Hypnosis
Author of the book “Feed Your Real Hunger” & “30 day weight loss Jumpstart” Hypnosis CD
For more information and free hypnosis meditations visit www.healthyhabitshypnosis.com