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Malminder Gill MNCIP
Integrative Psychotherapy Counselling & Hypnotherapy for individual & corporate clients
96 Harley Street, Online & Home Visits (UK & Internationally for intensive work)

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world, celebrated by several countries all over the globe. From wearing costumes to trick or treat, this celebration has come a long way from being a pagan ritual. Not everyone though enjoys celebrating Halloween. This is especially true for those with phonophobia and samhainophobia. Published by Hypnosis in London on 24 October 2016, written by Malminder Gill.

What is phonophobia?

Phonophobia, which is also known as acousticophobia and ligyrophobia, refers to fear of or aversion of loud noise.[1] It can affect people from all age groups.

People with phonophobia may end up in panic or shock when exposed to loud noise. Hence, they end up avoiding activities or places that will expose them to noise. These include engaging in sports, socializing, joining celebrations like New Year or Halloween, and places like busy highways and marketplaces.

Aside from panic, people with phonophobia may also experience nausea, profuse sweating, and fainting when left with a sudden burst of noise. They may also feel the strong urge to leave the place immediately.[2]

Like other phobias, the intense fear of loud noise may be rooted to a traumatic incident associated with noise. In response to that fear, the brain makes use of the same conditioned response in order to protect the person.

Traumatic or scary information are stored in certain areas of the brain. When a person is confronted with a similar event in the future, the brain automatically recalls what was stored in it and make the body respond to how it used to.[3]

Phonophobia is also associated with conditions like hyperacusis, adrenal insufficiency, and misophonia. These conditions can make a person more sensitive to sound stimulus.

What is samhainophobia?

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween. The celebration of Halloween is believed to originate in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Over the years and several influences, this festival has become more of a holiday about community. This is why Halloween parties have become common in this time of the year.[4]

Halloween may be something some people look forward to but not for those with samhainophobia. As people start to decorate their homes with scary stuff, those with samhainophobia experience difficulty falling asleep. They may also suffer from panic attacks characterized by nausea, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. For kids with this phobia, they may express this fear through tantrums or crying.[5]

There are different possible reasons why a person develops this fear of Halloween. It can be rooted to a conflict in one’s religious beliefs or it can also be based in other forms of phobias associated with Halloween. It can be phobia on darkness, spiders, loud noises, clowns, and many more.[6]

Overcoming Phonophobia and Samhainophobia

The fear of loud noise (phonophobia) and of Halloween (samhainophobia) can be debilitating especially during this time of the year where Halloween parties and display and wearing of scary costumes are all over the place. However, there’s good news. Like other forms of phobia, phonophobia and samhainophobia can be overcome.

Psychotherapy is one of the standard forms of treatment for phobias. In psychotherapy, a person with a phobia talks with a trained mental health professional to deal with his/her phobia. Psychotherapy can be in the form of exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

In exposure therapy, the person is gradually and repeatedly exposed to the source of fear. Its aim is to help the person change his/her response to a particular thing, event, or situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy also makes use of exposure therapy. It is exposure therapy plus other techniques to help the person learn new ways to cope with the anxiety-provoking thing or event. This form of therapy makes use of techniques that help a person master and control his/her thoughts and feelings of a thing or situation.[7]

Hypnotherapy can also be an effective way to overcome phobias like phonophobia and samhainophobia. There are several studies suggesting that hypnotherapy can be as effective as desensitization in overcoming phobias.[8]

Guided hypnosis works with phobias as it gets into the cause of the phobia and changes the person’s conditioned response to it. In my practice, I help people in dealing with different types of phobia. Normally, the initial session would be about discovering the cause of phobia. It’s only after discovering the causes of it that the client and I can work together to change the conditioned response towards it.

If your phonophobia or samhainophobia keeps you from celebrating Halloween, then don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you deal with your fears.

[1] “Phonophobia”. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[2] Phobias, Top et al. “Fear Of Loud Noises Phobia – Ligyrophobia Or Phonophobia”. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[3] “Causes Of Phobias”. Phobics Society. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[4] Halloween, Bet. “History Of Halloween – Halloween – HISTORY.Com”. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[5] Phobias, Top et al. “Fear Of Halloween Phobia – Samhainophobia”. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[6] “It’s Not A Trick Or A Treat — This Phobia Is Very Real!”. Verywell. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[7] “Phobias Treatments And Drugs – Mayo Clinic”. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[8] MARKS, I. M., M. G. GELDER, and G. EDWARDS. “Hypnosis And Desensitization For Phobias: A Controlled Prospective Trial”. The British Journal of Psychiatry 114.515 (1968): 1263-1274. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

Image: Kevin Dooley

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