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Fears And Phobias


Fear of entrapment and a useful way to uncover core issues

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

Debbie Herman gives us the details of a successful "fear of entrapment" case.

Hugs, Gary

by Debbie Herman

Hi Gary,

Here's a case of a woman with severe claustrophobia or "fear of entrapment" who, to my absolute amazement, needed only one session to completely knock out all the aspects. Since I had never worked with a phobia of this nature, I wasn't sure what the results would be.

"Elaine" had suffered for many years from a fear of being trapped--whether in elevators, small enclosed rooms, or outdoors surrounded by crowds of people. This severely limited her life. Since the triggers seemed to be endless and varied, I decided on two approaches; first to address the core issue(s) and then to try her in an actual situation -- an elevator.

Being an art therapist, I asked her to make a drawing of the fear(s). This not only helps me to see the "whole picture", but gives the client and I a concrete focus in targeting the core issue(s). This also provides the client an outlet to express the fear while having some detachment.

GC COMMENT: An interesting and creative way to uncover core issues. In the P.S. below, Debbie expands on her use of this process.

DEBBIE CONTINUES: While tuning into/looking at the drawing the client had a 10 for anxiety so we then tapped on

  • "Even though I'm terrified of being trapped...."
  • "Even though I don't believe I'll ever get out...."
  • "Even though I don't believe I'll ever get over this problem..."

After I got her SUDs [0-10 intensity] down from 10 to 0 and the picture no longer elicited any anxiety or fear, we did EFT outside of the elevator bringing her SUDs down from 10 to 0 until she was able to stand in the elevator without any sign of anxiety and tension.

GC COMMENT: I call this process "sneaking up on the phobia." It involves tapping on all perceived aspects while just thinking about the problem and then gradually introducing the client to the phobic circumstance. It is much more gentle than vaulting the client into the phobic circumstance and is particularly useful when you suspect the phobia has many aspects to it.

DEBBIE CONTINUES: However, we never got to test out the fear of being trapped because we were holding up the elevator for everyone waiting to use it (a minor inconvenience). Thus I really wasn't sure how successful the treatment would be. To my utter delight, and the client's, she notified me 2 weeks later (now a month) that the fear had completely vanished after that one session and she was taking elevators and so on (her testimonial letter is appended as a P.S.) Apparently, clearing the core issues had done it's work in getting all of the aspects in spite of the elevator interruption. What I thought was a possible unsuccessful/incomplete treatment turned out to be one of those miracles.

GC COMMENT: This is not unusual. We can often eliminate a phobia while just thinking about the problem and EFT'ing it in the office. If the client gets intense when in the real situation, the likelihood is that new aspects have come up that weren't there in the original session. Typically, a few more rounds of EFT will take care of the rest of the problem.

DEBBIE CONTINUES: Thanks for letting me share this,

Warm regards,

Deborah (Debbie) Herman

P.S. Here is the client's testimonial letter as well as more on my use of art therapy.


"For years, I've suffered from anticipatory anxiety and tension [phobic responses] before going in elevators, into any small enclosed room or in crowded spaces. Extreme fear and paralyzing thoughts of being trapped eventually succeeded in making me avoid any area that evoked those fears. The anxiety was sometimes so intense I had to forego many events, such as visiting friends that lived on the 11th floor or attending crowded parties. This avoidance pattern has limited my life further when we traveled, as the idea of being trapped in unfamiliar surroundings terrified me. It's by chance that I came upon a method/technique called EFT taught by Deborah.

After a one hour session where I was asked to repeat certain phrases and tap on several specific points on my body, face and head, I did not know what to expect next! What happened right after the session and the following week, was that all anticipatory fear had simply vanished. Also, when I needed to take an elevator, the thought of being trapped never entered my mind. It's almost two weeks now that I have lived free from fear. I am astounded and very grateful."


For anyone interested in using art to help them reach core issues, either for themselves or with clients, I would suggest they pick up any book by Lucia Capaccihione. She's an art therapist who designed user friendly techniques to help lay persons tune into their problems and intuition through drawings and writing.

One easy method that I use with clients is to get them to use their non-dominant hand - if they're right handed use the left (direct link to the intuitive/wise/feeling part of our brain) when making a drawing. That way they don't get caught up in how the picture looks. Then I have them write down any words that come to mind, again using the non-dominant hand. This usually produces simple yet honest, accurate answers on what the core issues are. Then they can tap from there.

I hope this is helpful.

With much affection, Debbie


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.