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Fears And Phobias


Bonnie's fear of stairs

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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 relatively straightforward but is filled with facets that merit our attention.

I had an appointment this morning with four members of the firm that mass produces our DVD training sets (this ability to mass produce is what keeps our costs so low). "Bonnie" was a new member of this team and had just seen our EFT Course. She was quite interested in the part with Becci and her fear of mice & rats and took me aside to ask for help with her multi-phobias. These included fears of heights, stairs and freeway driving.

This is an interesting set of phobias because all of them have one thing in common...converging lines. Looking off the top of a building OR down a flight of stairs OR down a long freeway brings into focus converging lines which, for some people, creates a sensation of being drawn toward or sucked down those lines. I asked Bonnie if she had any problem looking out of the window of an airplane. She said no. If looking several miles down from an airplane generates no phobic response then how can we assume one has a "height phobia" when looking off the top of a few hundred foot building. The likely alternative, of course, is a fear response to those converging lines.

I always like to test my work in real circumstances when possible. Since our time was limited (she was on company time) and since there were some stairs nearby, I chose to tap for her "stair fear." As it turns out, she avoids stairs at all costs. She will use elevators even though she has to go way out of her way to do so. The only she time she goes on stairs is when there are many people in front of her and, even then, she resists the experience.

We started in a room where she couldn't see the stairs and I asked her if she had any physical sensations just knowing we were going to work on this fear. She felt an instant tightness in her chest. Two brief rounds of EFT and the tightness in her chest became a pain in her abdomen. This movement of physical symptoms is typical and I call it "chasing the pain" (covered in detail in our Steps toward becoming The Ultimate Therapist tapes). It is symbolic of different aspects of the fear manifesting itself in the body. We tapped another round for the abdomen pain and I then asked her to vividly imagine going down the stairs. She could generate no physical symptoms or emotional upsets whatsoever so we proceeded to the stairs.

She stood at the top of the stairs and said she was amazed that her response was so low. It wasn't gone but it was way below her expectations. Since we were in a public workplace and she was concerned about her co-workers judgments, we went back into the room to do so more EFT'ing. This time I zeroed in on possible alternate emotional contributors to this problem and used my intuition to walk her through the following EFT Setup dialogue (again, this advanced procedure is profusely displayed in Steps toward becoming The Ultimate Therapist).

"Even though I still have some fear of those stairs and still feel like I am being drawn down them, I deeply and completely accept myself. I think I need other people in front of me because I'm not getting the support in life that I need. I feel alone on those stairs and nobody is there to help me. That may not be actually true, but it IS what I think."

We then used the shortcut sequence for "feeling alone, no support." I asked her when we were done if the "feeling alone and no support" comments were on target. With watery eyes, she nodded yes. Our intuition, by the way, is a superb tool to integrate with these procedures. We all have it and it is simply a matter of practice and trust that will allow us to develop it into a tool for mastery.

We went back to the stairs and she proceeded down them. She held onto the railing until I asked her to let go of it. She did and proceeded, somewhat unsure, down the stairs. At the bottom, she looked back with an amazed smile and a grateful thank you. This time I had the watery eyes.

She came back to the top and went down again, still a little unsure. I asked her why she appeared unsure and she reminded me that she rarely went down stairs and wasn't used to it. For her, it was a relatively new experience and took a little getting used to. This is normal and I suggest that all newcomers to these procedures be aware that some phobics will appear unsure, even though the fear is gone. This is because the experience of stairs, water, bugs, enclosed spaces, etc. is relatively new to them and they don't know what to expect.

A few hours later I called Bonnie and she said she had been up and down those stairs two more times without any problems. This is typical. I then asked her to close her eyes and imagine looking down a freeway. I thought our work on the stairs may have generalized over to her other phobias. Alas, she had some stomach discomfort about the freeway thought.

More work to do.

Hugs, Gary

Note: I followed up with Bonnie two months later and the fear of stairs was still nowhere to be found.


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