According to a recent article published in the Telegraphy it’s possible that phobias (or at least some) could be memories passed down through generations in the genes.
Initially, from a scientific perspective, this sounds like a wild claim, and indeed it goes against most of my experience where using hypnotherapy techniques, phobias are generally too easy to remove for something that is locked into the genes. This indicates they are more likely a learned experience.
However, apparently new research indicates that information could be coded chemically within DNA. A study showed that mice could generationally pass down non-verbal information about traumatic experiences. The mechanism would involve activation of DNA switches as apposed to actual genetic hard coding. This process is called Epigenetics and has been know about for some time. It explains how two identical twins can grow up with very different body types and personalities or how descendants of famine or holocaust victims may grow up with a weaker build.
The article went on to conclude that these findings may help to explain non-rational phobias such a fear of spiders or snakes – these may be based on the inherited experiences of one's ancestors.
While I can usually trace the source of a clients phobia to an event or influence within their own lifetime or a learnt response from a parent, I know that this is not always the case, so I’m open minded to this theory explaining at least some incidents.
What’s interesting is that, it’s equally possible to treat a phobia even when there is no apparent source within the patients life time. This could indicate that hypnosis can also be used to influence the epigenetic switches to make generational changes. In much the same way as a powerful environmental trigger, but without all the catastrophe and pain!
The ramifications of this are enormous. If hypnotherapy techniques can affect hereditary characteristics, imagine the potential for improving the lives or our children and descendants. This also gives greater credence to some of hypnotherapies other bold claims such as being able to influence biological and physiological processes through the autonomic nervous system, (part of the unconscious mind). In other words if we believe that hypnotherapy could improve the health or our offspring, before they are even conceived, imagine what it can do for our health in our own lifetimes.