Touch Not The Cat

Are you scared of cats? A surprising number of people are.

When my brother was a child he was scratched badly by a cat after he pulled its tail. You might think it served him right, and maybe it did. He didn’t suffer any lasting harm and grew up to be quite happy around cats, but my mother was very wary of them for a long time afterwards.

But some people are terrified of cats for no apparent reason.  Deep down they know that cute little ball of fluff rubbing itself against their is legs is harmless.  But it might as well be a hungry tiger – it has the same effect on them.

Fear of cats is known as ailurophobia and it can be very inconvenient.  After all, cats are pretty common.  Maybe you have friends who own them, or a child who longs for a cute kitten as a pet.  However hard you try to avoid them you’re almost certain to come across a cat fairly frequently.  And cats themselves seem to be strangely fascinated by people who are scared of them.

The good news is that – of course – fear of cats can be overcome.

Beat your fear of cats

There are various approaches to this.

Desensitisation involves gradual exposure to the thing that scares you.  So if you have a really severe phobia of cats you might start by looking at pictures.  You would then move on through holding the pictures, watching videos, being at the opposite end of a room from a cat to eventually being able to have one in your lap.  You’d go through this process very slowly, and learn breathing exercises to help control your anxiety.

Restructuring your thoughts involves changing the way you think about cats.  If you make a list of all the negative thoughts you have about cats, you can start to challenge them.  So if your automatic thought is that a cat will scratch you, reminding yourself that millions of people have cats without ever getting scratched can be helpful.  If you keep doing this you will eventually change the way you think and feel about cats.

You can read more about desensitisation and restructuring your thoughts here.   You can try these approaches yourself if your fear of cats is relatively mild, but if you have a full-blown phobia I advise you to get professional help.

Hypnotherapy can be used on its own or combined with the other two methods I’ve described to help you overcome your fear.  The therapist will guide you into a relaxed hypnotic state before gently helping you change the way you feel about cats.  The exact way they do that will vary depending both on you and the way the therapist works.

So if you’re scared of cats – or anything else – there’s help for you out there.  All you have to do is ask for it.

Fear of Therapy

It’s all very well for me to keep telling you how I can help you overcome your fear, but what if you’re scared to come and see me?  You really want help but you don’t know what to expect.
Just reaching out and asking for help can seem like the scariest thing in the world, especially when that involves phoning a stranger.  Believe me – I really do understand how hard that can be.  That’s why I want to make it as easy as possible for you.
First Contact
Maybe you don’t know where to start or what to say. That’s why all you really have to do is tell me you need help and leave the rest to me. I’ll just ask you a few questions to find out what I need. That way you know exactly what to tell me.
And if talking on the phone to someone you’ve never met is just too scary for you then why not contact me by text or email?  You can tell me everything I need to know and even make an appointment without ever having to speak to me.  You’re completely in control.  You get to decide when to contact me, how much to tell me, and even when you’re ready to come and see me.
First Meeting
But eventually we have to meet – and I’m a stranger.  But I won’t be.  If you at my About Me page on this website, and my Facebook page you can find out loads about me.  By the time you make an appointment to see me I’d like to think you feel like you know me.  I might not seem like an old friend but I won’t be a stranger either.  And it might help you to know that I get a little bit nervous the first time I see a new client so you won’t be alone.
But What’s Going to Happen?
Maybe you’re scared of what might happen during a session.  I get that – you’re taking a step into the unknown.  So let me give you a rough idea.
You’ll sit in a comfortable chair and we’ll talk for a bit.  I’ll probably ask you to go over everything you’ve already told me again, just so I can be sure I’ve got it right.  I might ask you a few extra questions but you don’t have to answer anything you’d prefer not to.
Then we’ll start work.  I’ll talk to you very gently and ease you into a lovely relaxed state.  You might have your own ideas of what a hypnotic trance is like but really it’s just like drifting off into a daydream.  While you’re in that state you’re very receptive to the things I say, so I can talk directly to the part of your mind that’s causing your problem.  But I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to, so you won’t be dancing the funky chicken!
At the end of the session you’ll feel relaxed, refreshed and alert – ready to carry on with your day.  We won’t talk too much about what’s just happened because that can interfere with the work.  But I will make sure that you’re feeling okay before you leave.  We can make another appointment there and then, or you can give me call later if you prefer.
How Much Will It Cost?
But maybe it’s not knowing how much it will cost that scares you.  I know what that’s like too – wondering if you can afford something and being too embarrassed to ask.  That’s why I make my prices very clear on my website.  I charge £50 per session and most people need three or four sessions to achieve lasting change.  If I think you need less than that I promise I won’t try to get you to book more.
So there you are.  I hope I’ve managed to explain away some of your fears about working with me.  If there’s anything else – anything at all – that worries you, just get in touch.

Santa Baby – Aaaarghhh

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re scared of Santa Claus!  And that particular fear isn’t as rare as you might think.

Because while adults are all aware that the man with the bag is a kindly benevolent old soul, to a surprising number of children he’s distinctly scary.  And that’s bad news at a time when he seems to be everywhere.  So how can you help if your child is afraid of Santa?

Talk about their fears

What is it that scares your child about Santa?  Is his voice too deep?   Is it his beard?  Or do they see him as a stranger?  It’s hardly surprising that some children are afraid of Mr Claus.  We teach them to beware of strangers then we tell them an old man in red will come into their home on Christmas Eve while they’re asleep.  A sensitive child could find lots to worry about in the discrepancy here.

Once you know why your child is scared you can tackle that fear.  You can explain that Santa only comes into the house when you’re there to give him permission.  You can talk about how kind Santa is and what a lovely old man is hiding behind the beard and the deep voice.

Don’t push too hard

You might think the best way to tackle a child’s fear of Santa would be to get them to sit on his knee and see how kind he is.  But would you force someone who’s scared of heights to stand at the top of a tower?  Hopefully not.  Forcing a child to confront a fear isn’t going to help anything – it’s more likely to make matters worse.  Work with your child’s feelings if you want to change them.

Read stories about Santa

There are lots of lovely children’s stories about Santa Claus.  Sharing these with your child will help to show him as a friendly figure who loves children.  And don’t forget to talk about how kind he is to his reindeer.

Keep them away from negative images of Santa

There are , of course, comedy films that show Santa as a bad-tempered old curmudgeon.  While those of us who know the truth can laugh at these misrepresentations, children may believe them.  Only let your child see films that give an accurate picture of Santa’s personality.

Take your child’s fears seriously

You wouldn’t like to be told your fear is silly, would you?  So don’t do that to your child.  It’s very tempting to say “Don’t be silly sweetheart, Santa’s nothing to be scared of.”  But to your child that fear isn’t silly.  Take it seriously and ask how you can help.

Christmas is a special time for children.  Don’t let fear of Santa take away any of the magic.