This phobia of crowds has become more prevalent in the last 15 years throughout the western world.
Once, years ago, we could creep to our small corner shop, ask quietly for a few household items, then back to the safety of our homes.
Nowadays with a lot of the small, intimate and friendly stores having been run out of business, we are left with large intimidating shopping malls and out of town huge shopping complexes. Little wonder that if we are intimidated by crowds we will be terrified of huge cavernous buildings with hordes of people rushing around, and so this may drive us to a nervous disposition and so create Ochlophobia.
Add to this the isolated environment in some of our homes where we draw the curtains and sit huddled around our TVs, or even as a motorist, isolated in our cars, with a frenetic life rushing past us.
Take Molly, as I shall call her. At 70 years of age, she came for help as she could no longer tolerate the crowds milling around the checkout and aisles in Tesco’s. Never a great socialiser, but gradually she withdrew more and more until she had to telephone Tesco for home deliveries as she was terrified of people, so even meeting two or three people sent her into a panic mode.
Eventually, one of her friends who used to meet her for lunch dates suggested she came to my clinic.
I first had to set about restoring her confidence in herself, which meant listening to hypnotic tapes made for her personally. Once she felt a bit safer, she then started to venture out of her house again with her friend at her side.
As her phobia began to lessen and her confidence crept back, she recorded her steady progress on special forms I gave her so she could view the steps forward.
Eventually, under my guidance in hypnosis, she could visualise herself going to checkouts and remaining calm. She is now completely cured and can go into any shop however large, but better still, socialises regularly at the Brangwyn Hall and the Grand Theatre, and you may know how full that can get.
The essential is to always stay with your therapist until you are “bomb proof”.
Many years ago, one caring husband would accompany his wife through the treatment and all was progressing well as she went from just passing in front of restaurants to actually eating in crowded rooms. However, her husband decided to test her. As a “treat”, and before I could stop him, he took her to “Barons Nightclub” but as the doors opened, the hundreds of people, smoke, loud noise, and heat freaked her out into a severe panic and she ran away.
I then had to virtually start again until we achieved total control and then she could regain her old self and party whenever she wished, even in crowded nightclubs.
Moral: “Don’t try to run before you can walk.”