The fear of elevators is the typical textbook case of a phobia, right after spiders. There are many jokes about people with elevator phobias – but if you actually have one, you already know that it’s not a joking matter.
People with a fear of elevators often suffer from both claustrophobia and acrophobia. Claustrophobia means that one feels anxiety when being in a confined space. Acrophobia means that one is afraid of heights.
There are many ways to overcome this fear, but some are faster than others. Behavioral therapy can be effective, but it might take many months for the effects to set in, and costs thousands of dollars. It’s a tried and tested way that works for many people if they are willing to do the training that’s involved.
And in fact, your motivation levels are probably high. For some people, this can be a serious problem in their life. I know of cases where highly qualified experts take on low-paying jobs because they can’t work in a high-rise office building.
Fear is an important psychological mechanism in our lives to protect us from danger. However, if you are afraid of elevators in general, this fear is out-of-control. Instead of preventing you from engaging in a dangerous activity, it’s preventing you from making the most out of your life.
Basically, behavioral therapy makes use of something that is called desensitization, or exposure therapy. In the case of someone with the fear of elevators, it means that a therapist would make you ride an elevator.
If actually getting into an elevator isn’t possible because of intense panic, then a therapist might instead make you imagine riding in an elevator, or even just watching a movie of other people riding one, or play a computer simulation in which you control a character that rides in an elevator.
Then, the therapist will give you instructions to perform certain mental exercises that can help you to calm down and counter your fear of lifts.
As previously mentioned, this method helps many people to overcome their elevator phobia, but they are quiet cost- and time-intensive. Oftentimes people need to do a lot of work over the course of several months (oftentimes 8 months).
Hypnosis is a great way to overcome your elevator fear because it basically creates a much more powerful “virtual reality”. With hypnosis, you can directly control your subconscious mind – which is were fantasy and imagination reside.
Neurologists found that the subconscious mind does not distinguish between imagined and real experiences. So when you have the imagined experience of riding calmly in an elevator, your subconscious mind actually takes this as “the status quo” and concludes that it is not necessary to be afraid in elevators.
It depends on the vividness of this imagined experience how many repetitions are necessary to overcome the fear. Hypnosis creates an extremely vivid experience in your (subconscious) mind. What’s more, since the hypnosis session is quiet short it doesn’t take up a lot of time. And since it’s a hypnosis recording, you can re-play it whenever you feel the need to do so.
But why are people scared of elevators in the first place?
Well, some people (as already mentioned) have a fear of small, enclosed spaces – this is called claustrophobia.Other people have that Hollywood horror-scenario in their mind of the elevator cables ripping apart, and the cabin falling down 20 floors and smash the ground and kill everyone in it. For others it’s a fear of other people standing close to them in a confined space. For others it’s about germs that might be in the elevator. And others are afraid that an elevator might get stuck, and that the lights might go out, and then they’re “trapped” in a dark, tiny little elevator.
How to get over fear of elevators?
- There are really many ways to do this. As already mentioned, there is behavior therapy and hypnosis. But if your fear of elevators is not too strong, you might try other things as well, depending upon the cause of your elevator phobia.
- For example, if you are scared of elevators because the electricity might stop and it might turn dark, then you can simply get one of these little LED-light keychains. That way even if the electricity goes out, you still have a strong light source and aren’t trapped in the dark.
- I know of some people who have used this method: they went to a hospital and practiced riding up and down the elevator in there. For some reason, the fact that there were nurses and doctors and experts qualified and ready to deal with emergencies helped them conquering the fear of elevators.
- If you have a fear of elevators in high rise buildings, then hypnosis is really the best treatment because strategies such as closing your eyes or counting in your mind usually aren’t enough to keep you calm throughout the ride.
- Another small thing you can do is to categorize how scary elevators are for you. You probably find that some elevators are more scary than others. When you see an elevator, rate it scariness on a scale of 0 to 10 – 0 being not scary at all, and 10 is panick-attack level. This simple process of creating a hierarchy involves the left part of your brain more intensely and thus helps you to get a better grip on your fear.
- You can also use the fast phobia cure, a method from the field of neurolinguistic programming (NLP). Some people find it to be helpful, although results aren’t consistent.
How often do you need to be hypnotized to get over the fear of elevators?
The answer is: it depends. Our experience with this hypnosis download is that for around 5% of the people, listening just once is enough.
For about 80% of the people, listening daily for a period of 2 weeks, and then listening about 2 times a week for the next 2 months is what works. For the remaining 15% the hypnosis download wasn’t working (and of course they didn’t have to pay).
How Does Virtual Elevator Therapy Work?
This is part of the behavioral therapy approach. Basically people use a simulated elevator computer program, and they control this elevator with a joystick. This controlling element helps them to feel more at ease and comfortable. The joystick can make the elevator go up or down, and oftentimes also make the elevator slower or faster. After a certain amount of these virtual elevator rides, a therapist then helps the patient to ride on a real elevator.
Try watching this video of an elevator ride. For most people it’s a boring video, but many elevator phobics feel scared when watching it:
You don’t actually need videos or virtual realities – you can really do the same thing with self hypnosis, oftentimes with better results because you use the powers of your own imagination. Even if you consciously don’t experience the elevator vividly, your subconscious mind works extremely efficient when hypnotized.