Overcome with crippling fear, Alex Rosales just could not face getting a COVID-19 injection, until he met hypnotherapist Mark Stephens from Little Forest Health Retreat.
When the Sydney resident attempted to get his COVID-19 vaccination recently, he was overcome with fear. His body froze and then he ran.
Support from the locally based Mark and Jessie Hoang from the Ulladulla Respiratory Clinic helped Alex concur his Trypanophobia.
Trypanophobia is the extreme fear of having injections or medical procedures, and is estimated to affect one in 10 adults.
The symptoms range from a racing heart and dizziness to breathlessness and feeling nauseous.
"I tried to get the vaccine, but as soon as I felt the needle touch my skin, I became highly anxious and felt like I was going to be sick," Alex said.
"My body locked up, my stomach was in a knot and then I went into flight mode. I got out of there as fast as I could."
Research shows fear of needles often has its roots in childhood - a traumatic experience at the dentist or doctor while getting an injection is often the cause.
For Alex this was not the case.
The 57-year-old grew up in Argentina during the 1970s. The country was overrun with crime and violence. Kidnappings were common practice. Alex left for school one day and never made it home. He was 11 years old.
During the 1975 military coup, both Alex and his father where abducted and held for ransom. Alex was tortured with syringes.
Eventually he was released in the early hours of the next morning. The family were given refugee status and fled to Australia.
For almost 50 years Alex was unable to get an injection. No blood tests, no dentists, no vaccines but he was desperate to get his COVID-19 jab.
He sought the help of hypnotherapist Mark from Little Forest Health Retreat. to overcome his extreme phobia.
"Reprogramming the subconscious mind is the key. Phobias are a learned experience, so it's a matter of being able to teach a person with a phobia to relax and feel in control," Mark said.
Mark, to help Alex let go of his past, used a variety of techniques including mindful self-hypnosis.
"Meditation helps you stay calm, and self-hypnosis techniques help you change the way you think and feel," Mark explained.
After two hours Alex was ready to get his jab.
Dr Jessie, at the COVID-19 clinic, further put Alex's mind at ease. Alex looked the other way, took a few deep breaths, and couldn't believe it was all over without him realising the injection had been administered.
Mark is giving away a Phobia Free manual, along with a recorded mindful self-hypnosis session that he has made available for anyone who needs help overcoming a fear of needles.
"I recorded the exact needle phobia session I used with Alex to help him beat his phobia and I have made the recording available for free to anyone, who like Alex, needs a little help," Mark said.
Next up for Alex is the blood test his doctor has been wanting him to get for years.
Alex's story also appeared on A Current Affair this week.
To access the needle phobia mindful self-hypnosis recording, visit www.mindfreeapp.com
Mark's Five Steps to Beat Your Phobia
- Breathe deeply and slowly as you count back from ten to one. The aim: to maintain a state of relaxation.
- Have a mantra. Breathe in calm, breathe out control. Repeat 10 times as you relax your body.
- Control your state. Tune into feelings of calm, strength, confidence and control as you face your fears. Change your physiology from fear to one of calm and in control. Apply your anchor, by pumping your fist, and your body will remember positive feelings. Put your focus somewhere else and the problem will no longer be a problem.
- Change the way you think. Tell yourself you are strong and in control. Come up with a funny name for your phobia that makes it seem silly. Laugh at the fear and watch it disappear.
- Visualise your final moment of success. See yourself doing whatever it is that represents you having overcome your fear.
Mark Stephens' bio
From the age of eight, Mark Stephens used meditation to help control his severe asthma attacks.
Throughout his teenage years and 20s, he studied meditation under Chinese teachers, Japanese masters and Tibetan monks.
A Ju-jutsu Black Belt, Tai Chi teacher, bestselling author and leading hypnotherapist, in 1990, Mark was given a possible six months to live with a rapidly growing second-stage lymphoma. Mark used a wide variety of eastern healing methods and complementary treatments that he combined with the best of western medicine to overcome his health challenges.
With a clean bill of health 30 years later, Mark inspires people to transform their own lives through his seminars and ground-breaking hypnosis and motivation programs.
- Meditation teacher - 50 years' experience
- Ju-jutsu Black Belt - 40 years' experience
- Tai Chi teacher - 40 years' experience
- Qi Gong (Chi Kung) teacher - 40 years' experience
- Master Practitioner of Hypnosis (ABH) - 30 years' experience
- Author of Think Slim and Think Quit, both published by Allen Unwin
- Creator of the ground-breaking Think Slim, Think Calm, Think Sleep and Think Quit
- programs, and the Phobia Free audio program
- Creator of the MindFree app. www.mindfreeapp.com