By Charlene Ackerman, C. Ht., C.I.A.


(This hypnotist's favorite subject)

Caroline had a tremendous fear of turtles. Because of this she avoided activities where she would have to go near water. It was hard for me to image not being able to enjoy the tranquility of sitting by a river or lake. This was unthinkable for Caroline because she always feared a turtle might appear. Even driving along a country road with a ditch along the edge created fear and anxiety. What if one came out of the ditch onto the road?

As luck would have it, her daughter, Megan was very interested in Marine biology. On several occasions it was necessary for Caroline to take her to the Aquarium for her to study and do reports for her classes. Needless to say this just made matters worse. She would have to wait for Megan outside.

Caroline was a student in one of my Advanced Hypnosis Training Courses. I was looking for someone to do a demonstration of age regression. I had asked the class if anyone had a phobia, because "I love a good phobia". As she was telling the class her story, you could see the anxiety in her body language and by the tremble in her voice. She willingly volunteered to let me work with her in class. Under hypnosis I had her re-experience the last time she had this fear. Once she had gotten in touch with the feelings and emotions, I asked the subconscious mind to take her back to the first time she had experienced these feelings. She immediately went back to a fishing trip with an Uncle. She recalled the scene vividly, then she saw herself pulling on the pole, bringing up a "big" fish, with the help of her uncle. When she pulled the fish out of the water, a turtle was hanging on to it, eating away at its flesh. That was IT! The ISE (Initial Sensitizing Event) was found. After that it was simply putting things back into their proper perspective. She could let go of a fear that had been instilled as a 3 year old.

After the session she immediately said she couldn't wait to take Megan to the Aquarium when she returned home. This time "I can enjoy it, too!"

The next day in class another student quietly came up behind her and placed a very real looking plaster of Paris turtle on her books. She jumped up immediately, with turtle in hand, and said "Oh, thank you! I looked through magazines and flipped channels last night trying to find a turtle, but couldn't find one." Another phobia banished!!!



Similar to the fear of turtles, Virginia had a problem of not being able to enjoy the outdoors because of her fear of snakes . She had absolutely no recollection of when it began. Under hypnosis she recalled Danny had always been her favorite cousin. Virginia constantly followed him wherever he went. Because of this she was called "The Shadow".

She was able to immediately go back to a scene where she was tagging along behind him in a field. Apparently, he'd had enough. When he came across a snake in the field he picked it up and threw it at her. It landed on her shoulders and she had to shake it off. A very logical explanation to her fear of snakes. She now has a comfortable respect for snakes, but no longer lives in fear of them.



Nancy had a fear of heights, especially balconies or rails. She remembered an event as a 12 year old when she nearly stepped through a hole in a wooden bridge high above a river in Milwaukee was when her fear began. Even though she was aware of this consciously, it took a hypnosis session to help her "rerun" this event until she became totally bored with the whole scene. That evening when she went home, she took her husband upstairs to a balcony off their bedroom and walked over to the rail and leaned over it. This was the first time she had ever stepped foot out there.



Jennifer was one of the most interesting cases regarding a fear of Dentist. She was so frightened that when she was in the dentist chair with her mouth open, she would gag, and while gasping for air, actually pass out. She had an upcoming appointment with a new dentist and was hopeful hypnosis could help her.

While in hypnosis, much to her surprise she said "I think I've gone back to my birth". She felt as though she was suffocating, so I had her view the scene from above. She soon realized that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she was gasping for life. This was where the fear of gasping for air had originated.

I spoke to Jennifer after this session and she said she had sat through a three hour dental appointment without a problem. Her new dentist wasn't even aware she had ever had a problem.

She had also gone to her mother and asked her about her birth. Her mother said it had been a very difficult birth, however, had not been aware that the cord was around her new daughter’s neck, but at one point she had been told by the attending physician, "I think we have lost her".

While this experience of going back to birth was hard for Jennifer to grasp, the results were none-the-less phenomenal. As I have stated before in my article on past-lives, "real or imagined, it doesn't matter. Jennifer got the result she had hoped for.

Fred also had a real problem with going to the dentist. It caused him a great deal of fear and anxiety, just thinking about seeing a dentist. He needed dental work and had tried nearly everything to overcome his fears.

The event Fred recalled was going to the dentist when he was 7 years old. His mother had taken him to the dentist, then left. I'm sure the mother thought it was a routine visit, however, the dentist began drilling on poor unsuspecting Fred's teeth. He became very frightened and couldn't begin to understand what was happening, and mother was not around to reassure him. When the drilling was finally over and Fred left the dentist chair, expecting to find his mother, she wasn't there. He waited outside for her to come feeling very frightened and alone. By reviewing this event and being able to go back and comfort that 'little boy', Fred was now able to let go of those negative feelings.

Phobias have proven to be one of the most fascinating and instantly rewarding areas that I have had the privilege to work with since entering the hypnosis field. That is why every time I teach a class in hypnosis, whether it is the Basic or Advanced, my students will verify that "I love a good phobia", and will work with them at relieving the cause and therefore the symptoms. Of course, not every phobia can be totally relieved in just one session, but it is possible to obtain a very high rate of success using hypnosis.

Other areas where hypnosis is extremely helpful is working with habits such as nail-biting, lip-biting and stuttering. In these situations there is an event that had set-up the atmosphere for these behaviors to begin. Prior to going into hypnosis, I was not aware of how many people bite their lip. It is a habit that is easily concealed.

One lady who came to me for lip-biting, went back to an event when she was 14 years old.. A group of kids were driving around in the family snowmobile. An inexperienced driver was driving recklessly and ran into a fence with her on the back. It destroyed the snowmobile. As if this wasn't frightening enough, the lip-biting began when they had to go back to the house and tell Dad that his snowmobile was demolished.

Someone else began lip- biting while waiting several days to hear that Dad, a traveling salesman, had been rescued from a motel that had been destroyed by a tornado

If you or someone you know has been struggling with any similar problems, may I suggest you seek out the help of a hypnotherapist that is trained in age regression. By getting in touch with the original event that set off the behavior, people are now free to make more logical conscious choices. It's a wonderful freedom to someone that has been plagued by needless fears throughout their life. And so painless, too.

Charlene Ackerman is an Instructor of Hypnosis with the National Guild of Hypnotists, the world largest hypnosis organization. She was awarded Member of the Year, and has taught hypnosis internationally. She has a private practice in Janesville, WI, and teaches classes in Wisconsin and Illinois.