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A therapy for Trypophobia: How to cure it.

Trypophobia is a term used for a symptom where sufferers experience a high aversion towards certain shapes, such as clusters or holes. 

This phobia has gained some unfortunate popularity by a spread of pictures where Lotus pod seed shapes have been photoshopped onto the skin of people, making the skin look infected or diseased. Similar pictures have been made up over the years, sometimes along with compelling stories of the weirdest diseases the sufferers in the picture supposedly have. 

Most people who see the photos have some degree of disgust and will just keep on browsing the Internet. But a minority of people will develop all sort of strange symptoms afterwards, such as an itching of the entire body or the inability of letting the mental images go. The picture will haunt the sufferers for hours if not days, sometimes even leading to a compulsion of "having to see more pictures" that trigger the Trypophobia in the vain hope of experiencing relief by desensitization. 

Common symptoms of Trypophobia are also a queasy feeling in the stomach area, panic attacks, sudden and excessive sweating and actual physical sickness / revulsion. 

The term has not yet found its way into the official diagnostic manuals of psychotherapists, such as the DSM IV (mostly used in the US) or the ICD 10 (commonly used all over Europe.) Yet, it's only a matter of time until we will find Trypophobia in the medical literature since it's a symptom that's very real - and very harmful to its sufferers.

What causes Trypophobia?

Two academics from Great Britain (Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins) suspect an ancient, innate biological revulsion that causes Trypophobia. The holes and clusters found with Trypophobia triggering images can also be found with dangerous animals (such as certain reptiles) that could pose some serious harm to our ancestors. Cole and Wilkins think that Trypophobia is a primitive part of the brain associating the pictures we see with something dangerous.

How can you heal Trypophobia - is there a cure?

Modern psychotherapy does offer a lot of powerful tools in order to combat isolated phobias, such as Trypophobia. One way to get rid of the phobias is Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy (CBT), in which the process of exposition and desensitization is used in order to defeat the symptom.

Many therapies commonly used for traumatization can also have a strong effect. And then there's NLP (neurolinguistic programming) as well as Hypnotherapy - two methods most commonly associated with healing phobias.

A rather new branch of therapy uses a psychosensory way of dealing with these issues much rather than "just talk". As practical evidence suggests, these methods can many times not only have a much stronger effect than talk based therapies alone, but will also actually last. The most commonly known ones are EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), TFT (Thought Field Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reintegration Technique). But wait, there's a new kid on the block ...

Havening: A new way of healing.

Havening is a revolutionary new therapy that has been developed by genius medical doctor Dr. Ronald Ruden from New York. It is a very simple, yet stunningly effective process that combines touch and therapeutic patterns (such as counting and humming) in a very specific way that enables clients to bust right through many phobias.

The Havening technique (or Amygdala Depotentiation Technique ADT, as it is referred to in a clinical setting) has been successfully field tested with more than 10.000 clients so far and as the evidence so far suggests may very well be the most effective as well as efficient way to get rid of phobias!

And the best thing about it is: You don't have to believe it or book expensive sessions. If you're suffering from Trypophobia, the following video will walk you through the exact process of doing Self-Havening. If you follow each step closely, Trypophobia may very well be a thing of the past which won't bother you anymore in the life to come!

Why does Havening work?

It may seem like a miracle cure, but has in fact a scientific and explainable background. Havening aims at actually delinking the memory (images of trypophobic triggers) from the emotion (panic, itching, etc. - the aversion you get whenever you see images of trypophobia). 

This has to be done on a neurological level - actual changes in the brain will have to happen. This is done by first focussing on the feeling you want to get rid of (trypophobia, in this case) and afterwards giving strong impulses to the brain that will de-link the symptomatic reaction. One way this is being achieved is by activating different areas of the brain by counting, humming, etc. . Havening uses a very systematic, straightforward process for this that makes it easy to reap the results - all one needs to do is follow instructions closely. Then, there's the so-called Havening Touch: A process where different areas of the body (such as the head, or the arms) are being touched in a way that will trigger the immediate release of "feeling well hormones" - such as oxytocine and serotonine, for example. This will create the biochemical brain landscape necessary for immediate and lasting change to happen.

For clients, doing the process is an amazingly simple and enjoyable experience: Most people having experienced Havening report a sense of well-being and relief right away.

Therapy for Trypophobia: How to do Havening.

Here's a Step by Step guide on how to do Havening. Read it first, then watch the video.

  1. Prepare for the session
    Even though this is a video you're watching on the Internet, it's still a highly effective therapeutic intervention. Therefore, you should only attempt on using it if you find yourself in the right surroundings, which means: Don't watch it at work. Make yourself comfortable at home and make sure you won't be interrupted whilst undergoing the Havening process.

  2. Think about - and set - your goal
    Many sufferers from Trypophobia hope to find a way of not reacting to Trypophobic images anymore at all. This goal is unrealistic since most people react to trypophobia trigger images with some disgust (they are disgusting, after all). The goal is not the absence of any feeling, but the amount of it. A normal reaction would be to feel some disgust (that may even last for a couple of minutes), but - being able to move on and let it go.

    If you expect to not feeling anything at all anymore, you won't find success. Be crystal clear about your goal: What you want is being able to cope with trypophobic trigger images in a NORMAL way. Feeling disgusted is normal if you see a disgusting image. Getting panic attacks or suffering for hours if not days is NOT.

  3. Start the video
    Therapist and Certified Havening Techniques Practitioner Olf Stoiber will walk you through the Havening process step by step. All you need to do is follow the instructions closely. Most people doing the process will feel a huge relief right away - for some others, the effect will take a few days to set in but grow continually stronger.

And here's what is happening during the process:

  1. Focus on the symptomatic feeling
    Close your eyes and think about your phobia for about half a minute. You can either think about trigger images, or you'll just focus on the sensation and the feeling you would get if you WERE watching a trigger image. Rate the feeling of uneasiness on a scale from 0 (not affecting you at all) to 10 (affecting you in very strong way). Remember that number.

  2. Pause. Open your eyes and distract yourself.

  3. Counting, Visualizing & Havening Touch
    Now, apply the so-called Havening Touch. This will immediately trigger the release of beneficial hormones (such as endorphines and serotonine) in your body that will enable your neurology to actually deconstruct the phobia so former triggers won't be able to have any effect on you anymore. There's three different ways of applying Havening Touch:
    1. Arm Havening: Cross your arms and stroke with your hands down from your shoulders to your elbows
    2. Hand Havening: Rub your palms against each other.
    3. Face Havening: Apply the Havening touch to your forehead (starting from the center of your forehead) and your cheeks

      Whilst applying Havening touch, imagine talking a walk on a nice beach, skipping rope or walking up a flight of relaxing stairs whilst counting form 1 to 20 in your own rhythm and pace

  4. Humming
    Now: Hum a melody you like! This will activate a different part of your brain, therefore aiding in the de-linking of the former symptom. Don't feel shy about it, no body is watching or listening ... just hum away, no need to get self conscious about it. 

  5. Close your eyes, then open your eyes widely

  6. Look from the very far right to the very far left - and back. Repeat at least five times. This again will stimulate different regions in your brain, assisting in losening the neurological connections causing your Trypophobia.

  7. Now, close your eyes and repeat from step 3 with the Havening Touch and the counting.

  8. Re-scale: On a scale from 0 to 10, where are you right now if you think about the feeling you used to get associated with trypophobia? If 0, stop and celebrate. If still above 0, continue from step 3.

Repeat until the subjective scale number (0-10) has significantly decreased. For most people, this will happen after one to three rounds max. As soon as you've memorized the steps, you can keep your eyes closed while running the process (with exception of step 6 where you will have to open your eyes).

Trypophobia Therapy Video

Here's the video that will guide you through the Havening process. Repeat the steps (Counting 1-> 20, humming, eye movement whilst applying Havening touch) as many times as necessary. The first time, you can keep your eyes open for guidance. As your repeat the process, it's advisable to close your eyes so you can fully enjoy the benefits of the Havening technique. Feel free to rewind the video if you need any further instructions.