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Fears And Phobias


The height phobia that wouldn't move

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

This case is about a height phobia that wouldn't move UNTIL we cleared a seemingly unrelated issue. This "seemingly unrelated issue" feature doesn't happen very often but we need to be aware of the possibility. It turned out to be critical in this case.

About 3 weeks ago, Darlene Malott attended my 2 day EFT workshop in the Los Angeles area (Studio City). At the end of the first day (Saturday), I asked Darlene and a handful of people with height phobias to work with me on stage. As it turns out, our workshop room was located on the second floor of a building. Thus we had a way of testing our work--at least for those whose height phobias could be triggered by this modest height.

After a round or two of EFT, many of our height phobics began to reframe their fear of heights differently (e.g. fear of going over bridges, fear of things falling on them, fear responses regarding specific traumatic events, etc.). This "shifting" feature of phobic responses is fairly common and our awareness of it allows us to do our job more thoroughly. Sometimes phobias are covers for other issues.

In Darlene's case, I asked her to stand near an open door about 10 feet from the second story railing. Then, while I was having the rest of the group tap on their various versions of a "height phobia," Darlene was to tap for things like, "getting closer to that railing", "looking over the railing", etc. I've done this several times in the past with great success.

However, Darlene's fear of heights didn't budge and she remained very uncomfortable around that railing. To the inexperienced newcomer, this might appear to be a failure--an embarrassing El Flubbo causing one to give up on the client. It takes much more than that, however, for experienced EFT'ers to throw in the towel. Instead, they ask themselves questions like...

"Why isn't this working?""What's in the way here?""What issue haven't we addressed yet?"

So, at my suggestion, Darlene stayed after the workshop so we could pursue it further. We stood several feet from the railing and continued to tap for all the usual things, such as...fear of getting closer to the railing, fear of falling, fear response to converging lines as she looked down, etc. The result? Nothing. No progress whatsoever. So I began probing for other contributing issues by asking questions like....

"If there was another reason behind this fear, what would it be?""What does this fear remind you of?""If you had life to live over again, what person or event would you prefer to skip?"

After a few minutes of this probing, Darlene said that she had always felt restricted in her life. As I recall it, there were childhood/father issues contributing to this restricted feeling. So, even though it is a bit of a stretch to link "feeling restricted" with a "fear of heights," we began tapping on "restricted feelings" and related matters.

Part way into this series of tappings the phobia vanished. I mean her fear went poof! and she confidently walked over to the railing and looked over it with complete ease. Her posture was relaxed, as was her voice and general attitude. It was a literal transformation--a "now you see it, now you don't" relief of an important limiting emotion. It was spectacular to watch.

This work is often instantaneous. Darlene is not the only person to experience such rapid relief. On many occasions I have witnessed clients smile midway through an EFT tapping procedure and say, "Something just happened, it doesn't seem to bother me any more." And they were right. The issue no longer had any charge. Gone were the fear responses, the intrusive memories, the nightmares, the headaches and all the other symptoms related to the problem.

In Darlene's case, though, we had to find the real issue. The fear of heights only appeared to be the problem. It was, in fact, more like a symptom of a much deeper "feeling restricted" issue.

The next morning (just before we commenced day 2 of the workshop) I asked Darlene if she was OK with testing the quality of our work by going up to the fourth floor and looking over a railing. She was very relaxed about it and quite willing--quality evidence of the pervasive nature of her relief. As it turns out, we needed to go into someone's hotel room to pull this off. Since that would have been socially awkward, we passed on the opportunity.

However, Darlene subsequently tested our work on her own and just wrote me this letter. It speaks for itself.

Hugs, Gary

Hi Gary,

This is Darlene Malott writing. I attended and participated in your seminar in Studio City, Sept. 23 & 24. You worked with me on my fear of heights on Saturday. On Sunday we were going to test it from the 4th floor but the only way to do that was to go into one of the guest rooms so we decided not to go there. Anyway, I said I would be willing to test it sometime at a level above the second floor. So last weekend I got an opportunity.

Actually I was a little higher than the 4th floor level. I was with a group hiking up to the top of Eagle Rock in Sedona, AZ! It was FABULOUS! There was no fear in looking down, no vertigo. The only fear I had was when I could not get a foothold on the lip of one of the ledges. I consider that to be a reasonable and normal fear! It WAS a long way down!

Anyway, just thought you'd like to know I DID TEST the process....

Thanks so much....

Darlene Malott


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