Let’s just get this out there to begin with – I am a massive fan of sharks. I’m not even quite sure why. And I appreciate you may want to stop reading now if this is already giving you the shudders! I love ‘Jaws’, both the film and the Peter Benchley book. And, although unfortunately they did quite a lot to encourage a (mostly unnecessary) fear of sharks (which Peter Benchley worked tirelessly to counteract), I found that they engendered an entirely different response in me. Sharks are incredible creatures, and generally they are shy and keep their distance from us. They have a fairly unwarranted fearsome reputation, at least as far as humans are concerned. We do so much more harm to them than they do to us – it’s not even close.
So on Shark Awareness Day, maybe we can take a moment to appreciate the glorious shark. Here are a few sharks facts….
- Sharks’ skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone, making them different from other fish.
- Sharks have eyelids (other fish don’t).
- They can only swim forward.
- Shark have been around for over 450 million years.
- They have up to 7 rows of teeth with around 40 teeth in each row.
- Counting the rings on a shark’s vertebrae will tell you its age.
- Sharks can hear prey up to 3000 feet away.
- Sharks can move their upper and lower jaws.
- The Megalodon was a prehistoric (now extinct) shark measuring 50 feet long!
- Humans kill around 100 millions sharks a year. They kill only 4 of us.*
There. I told you they’re amazing!
So now you’re a shark fan. That’s great. But anyway, what have sharks got to do with therapy? Not much really. Only that so many people are afraid of them. And this seems to be the case even if they have never encountered a shark in ‘real life’. It goes to show how we can create a fear or phobia of something despite the lack of our own negative personal experience. Sometimes a film, news report, or third party account can be enough. So we needn’t have been nibbled by a great white while scuba diving to be wary of these magnificent sea-dwellers.
And I suppose that brings me to the relevant point: Other than slowly converting you with amazing shark facts (which I know worked for some of you…!), how can we remove a fear or phobic reaction?
Luckily, in hypnotherapy we have a relatively simple technique to do just that. For a straightforward specific phobic response, we can work with you for four sessions to calm down the fear and allow you to do what you want to do, be it swimming with sharks, removing spiders from the house, giving a presentation, travelling on a plane, etc.
We needn’t be held back by our fears. There are ways to downgrade that fear to something much more manageable, or even to remove them entirely.
But wait, you say. Isn’t a fear of sharks, or heights, or snakes, entirely rational? They could, after all, cause us harm….? Well, yes. That is a reasonable point. There is a sensible argument to be made for exercising a degree of caution when encountering potentially dangerous situations. But being appropriately wary, and taking the necessary sensible precautions is not the same as being utterly terrified to the point of fainting (whereupon the shark may decide you look like a tasty floating crouton in the Pacific soup and eat you anyway!) I jest, but you get the point.
So downgrading the knee-trembling, stomach-churning fear is probably a good move. And when you consider that phobias extend to all areas of life, logical and otherwise, it becomes especially relevant. Some people have phobias of slugs, buttons, birds, being sick, cotton wool, as well as the more common ones of public speaking, flying, interviews, exams, and so on. And, yes, we can work with all of these phobias.
If you have a phobic response you want to work on, please do get in touch. I offer a free initial consultation where we can discuss the process, and I’ll give you a free relaxation CD to get started.
(Also, if you are a shark fan and want to start a shark appreciation society or similar, do also give me a shout!)
- Great shark facts from https://www.sharksider.com/50-amazing-shark-facts/