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Telephone: 01582 484444
Mobile: 07875 751960

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Phobia Free – Seven Years Later


SOUP PHOBIA – Phobia-free Seven Years Later

Being able to do something as simple as looking at a tin of soup might not sound like a big deal to most people, but the day Sue Brearley managed to do it, was the day her whole life changed – for the better.

Since childhood, Sue had suffered from a fear of soup, which became more problematic as she began to raise her own family. But after just one session of Hypnotherapy with Elliott Wald, her fear was gone. And seven years on, she’s still phobia-free!

Life before Hypnotherapy

Like people with all kinds of phobias – from needles, to vomiting, to going outside – Sue used to experience the symptoms of a panic attack whenever she encountered the thing she feared so much:

“It was most noticeable in the supermarket,” she reveals. “I couldn’t even go down the aisle where the tins of soup were. As I was approaching it, my stomach would turn, I’d begin to sweat and then I’d be crying. And then the supermarket started putting the beans and spaghetti tins on the same aisle and I had to ask strangers if they’d grab me a tin of beans, just so that I wouldn’t have to look at the soup!”

Missing out…

Sue’s avoidance of soup didn’t end at the supermarket. At support group she attended for parents with disabled children, they’d serve soup for lunch and while everyone else was eating, Sue would be outside, desperately trying to escape the smell and sight of the stuff. One friend even omitted soup from her wedding menu, just so that Sue wouldn’t have to leave the room during the meal.

It’s common for people with phobias to avoid situations that might bring them into contact with the source of their fear. They know that this thing – whether it’s soup, heights, or public speaking – will bring about the symptoms of a panic attack, as described earlier, so they avoid it. The question is, why do they fear it in the first place?

The source of Sue’s soup phobia

As is so often the case, Sue’s fear developed in childhood. She grew up in a house where there were lots of mouths to feed and not much money to buy food. To address this, her mum would often serve soup – homemade and shop-bought, both of which Sue disliked intensely. As you can imagine, this caused a fair few arguments around the kitchen table and it’s those tense moments, Sue’s brain learnt to associate with soup.

Phobia-free – ‘As seen on TV!’

Then one day in 2009, a life-changing opportunity came Sue’s way. She was watching the ITV programme, This Morning, when they announced that they wanted to hear from people with strange phobias.

They were having a Hypnotherapist on the show the following week and wanted to put him to the test! Sue picked up the phone and made the call. One week later, she’d had the treatment and was eating soup for the first time since childhood – live on TV!

“Phil and Fern interviewed me and then I went off with Elliott, while they carried on with the show. I was only with Elliott for an hour or so, and then I was back on live TV. Fern brought out two bowl of soup for me to try; both tinned soups, which I’d always hated most and I just ate them. There was nothing to it. I even went to the local shop before I got home that night and bought more soup! I was cured and I still am!”

Phobia-free and serving soup!

Hypnotherapy isn’t magic, even though it sounds like it is when you hear a story like Sue’s. It works by re-programming the brain, so that the sufferer replaces their negative associations with the thing they fear, with positive ones.

For Sue, it was a case of switching her thoughts from ‘Soup = unhappy times with my parents and siblings’ to ‘Soup = something I like, something I can make and something I can feed my own family with’.

Still phobia-free, seven years on, Sue says “As far as I’m concerned, I’m 100% cured. And that’s a really big thing, because my fear of soup was ruining my life. I’m as grateful to Elliott as he got me out of a really bad place. Plus, I get to eat soup and it’s great!”