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Do You Have A Phobia?

Spiders, flying, heights, needles, public speaking – or Arachnophobia, Aerophobia, Acrophobia, Aichmophobia, Glossophobia to use the correct terminology. Phobias – can be debilitating. However, there is any easy way to deal with your challenges…

you can untangle yourself from the phobia web so easily

Last week I had an email from a friend, telling me about someone she knew who suffered from a phobia of needles; his name is Chris. Chris had been suffering from health issues for some time and really needed to have exploratory treatment which began with blood tests. Because of his fear, Chris continued to suffer with his health as he absolutely would not attend for a blood test – even the thought made him begin to sweat, his heart pounded and he felt sick and his breathing became fast and shallow as he felt sheer panic rising within. If you have a phobia, then you probably recognise one or all of these symptoms. My friend asked me if I could help Chris – and I did, in under an hour.

Let’s consider what a ‘phobia’ really is. The word comes from the Greek phobos meaning morbid fear. Wiki says ”… a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.”

However – it’s really important to remember that a phobic reaction is a learnt behaviour; you weren’t born with a phobia – something has happened to trigger this reaction and just as you learnt to have that reaction, you can unlearn it! Fortunately phobia treatment has evolved over the years with the use of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and there’s a very simple and effective method called the ‘Fast Phobia Model’ which I use regularly with clients.

I met with Chris at his home and asked him to talk me through how he felt when he thought about even taking the first step and phoning to book his blood test appointment as I needed to understand exactly what was happening for him both in his mind and emotionally. We then chatted through the first time he recalled having experienced this reaction. We started with a quick process called “Anchoring” – more about this specific intervention in a future post – suffice to say that it’s a fantastic way to help someone evoke any type of emotion very quickly – happy, positive, confident, for instance – and in Chris’ case – calm.

We then went through the Fast Phobia Model technique – which in effect works to scramble neurological pathways and changes the emotional and physical response which someone has to a certain situation; in Chris’ case, his unhelpful and negative reaction to needles. We worked with the memory which he had of the first time that he experienced the phobic reaction – almost “dissolving” the feelings until all emotion linked with it became null and void. Yes, he has the memory still, however what he doesn’t have is the negative emotional reaction as his neurology has “learnt” a different and more positive way to respond.

As we finished the session, I asked Chris how he felt about that old needle phobia and making an appointment for a blood test. He smiled and shrugged nonchalantly, saying “Ah, I’m just gonna get on with it!” What a massive change in physiology from the man I’d first met who was nervously pacing up and down awaiting my arrival! And all within the space of an hour.

UPDATE 16 Feb 2012 Less than a week after seeing Chris, he texted me to say: ”Hi Faz, just wanted to let you know that I had some blood taken this morning. Faz, my needle phobia is at zero! Thank you so much, your infectious enthusiasm for what you do is very motivating. I’m extremely grateful. Cheers. Chris” What a great testimonial and evidence – it works!

The Fast Phobia technique is also very effective for neutralising the emotion around traumatic experiences someone has encountered in the past and also challenges such as PTSD. So if you have a phobia or fear about something which causes you anxiety in day to day life, doesn’t it feel great to know that there’s something you can do to change it, especially now that you can see how quickly and easily it can be done? Just imagine the relief of feeling calm, where previously you’ve thought about something and felt anxiety or perhaps sheer panic?

Speak with me on +44 (0)7932 060360 if you’d like to chat through how I can help you deal with phobias and fears which you’d like to be rid of – there’s every reason to do something about the things that hold you back, isn’t there?

Be outstanding …

FAZ COLBHIE