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Fears And Phobias


EFT for obsessive health fear

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

Suzanne Lerner explores an interesting OCD type case, complete with insights and humor. A quality read.

Hugs, Gary

By Suzanne i.b. Lerner, PhD

Hi Gary,

Here's a lovely session that really demonstrates the deep interconnectedness of our body and mind. It also demonstrates the Parts Model that I find so very effective, when combined with EFT.

It all started with a 42 year old male who approached me for help with anxiety, particularly around health issues. Apparently he had read some information on the Internet, 10 months before, and had become extremely obsessed about it. He had just graduated with a Masters degree, and was currently unemployed. I found him honest and engaging, yet also extremely distressed about his health. Because of his limited finances, he only had enough money for one session. Therefore the goal was both to help him lessen his anxiety, and also teach him how to begin to work on his own with EFT.

The issue at hand was an article that he had read about the possible correlation between creases in front of the ear, and a higher risk of having a heart attack. He had become obsessed with the fact that he had such creases, and he ruefully acknowledged that even though later intensive investigation had called into question the original study, this had done nothing to reduce his anxiety.

He also acknowledged that he had some other symptoms of being what he called "OCD'ish." (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Several years ago he was successfully treated for a "vomit phobia" (emetophobia). He also acknowledged that he had fears of germs, and washed his hands frequently, although not to the point of rawness.

Therefore, I spent some time looking for a general way that he could learn to work with his different fears, with the major focus being on the "creases," since that fear was by far the most prominent.

I explained to him how the part that was worrying, had a "positive intent" in that it wanted to protect his health. However, the way it was going about this protection, was actually getting in the way of his health. In a sense, it was like a sentry that was on duty far too long, who was getting "jumpy" at every single sound he heard.

I acknowledged how frustrating this could be to the more functional part of him, the part that wanted to accomplish things in the world. I then explained: "I imagine there's a part of you that would just like to get rid of this worrier, like if it could just go away, or you could learn to ignore it, or even surgically remove it, you would!" (He laughed in agreement.) "But actually, sometimes when we resist a part, it persists even more. What I have found, is that this worrying part of you probably feels like it's being ignored, and so it just keeps getting louder. So what we are going to do in this session is to let it know that its concerns are being heard, help calm and soothe it, and then help it find better ways to get its needs met."

It was clear from the way "Hal" talked about this issue, that he felt quite a bit of shame and embarrassment; like in his mind, he just couldn't understand why he was acting like such an "idiot." So we first addressed this in the tapping. He rated the embarrassment at 7-8 on a scale of 0 to 10 and his actual fear of dying due to the creases at a 9. Some of the phrases I used included:

Even though I feel so stupid that I keep worrying about this...

Even though a part of me feels like an idiot for worrying so much, I know it's not my fault, and I choose to...

Even though a part of my mind KNOWS that this study probably isn't accurate, but I still worry about it anyway, I choose to accept myself and ALL my emotions, including the part of me that worries, and the part of me that feels ashamed for worrying.

As his level of intensity began to come down around his embarrassment, I began to direct the phrases more specifically towards the creases. We did a few rounds of:

Even though I have these creases...

Even though I have these creases, and it may mean that I'm going to die...

NOTE: I always explain to my clients that we are working as "co-therapists" -after all, they can report what's going on inside of them better than I can. Therefore, I encourage them to feel free to interrupt me at any time. I want to know if something doesn't feel right, or if something suddenly comes to mind, even if it "doesn't make sense."

So at this point, Hal interrupted me, a bit sheepishly and reported that his "worrier" had just gotten scared. He explained that I had mentioned on my website that I work with my intuition, and his "worrier" was concerned over that last set-up phrase, that I might actually be "seeing" that he was going to die. I thanked him for speaking up and reassured him that I was just repeating what he had shared earlier about his fears, and that I didn't see anything of the sort.

His anxiety levels began to come down. He spoke gratefully about how good it felt to be able to finally name these fears out loud. I then was inspired to do a round:

Even though I DO have creases, they are not as deep as some peoples, and I choose to...
(He gave a real chuckle of appreciation, as his "observing therapist" saw how I was speaking the "worrier's language.")

He was starting to relax more, and what suddenly came to me was an improvisation from a phrase of a very popular childhood cartoon, that a cat used to say, and I sensed that he was of the age that he would likely relate. Trusting that we had rapport, I shared this rather strange phrase:

Eyebrow Point: "Meeces to pieces, I've got creases!" His delighted chuckle told me I had "hit home" and so I continued tapping around the points as he continued to laugh and repeat after me, SE: "meeces to pieces" UE: "I've got creases!" UN: "Yikes!" CH: "And they're on both sides!" CB: "Meeces to pieces!" UA: "Meeces to pieces!" Hal continued to chuckle and relax even more.

(Note: I am always careful about using humor in sessions, as I never want to risk having a client feel that I might be laughing AT THEM. Rather, it is crucial that humor only be used sympathetically, as was clear in this case, and also at the appropriate timing.)

We did a few more rounds, until his level of intensity was reduced, and then spent the rest of the session briefly addressing the downside of his getting over this obsession. Namely, now he would have to start looking for a job! We explored some phrases that he could tap on his own. I inquired about his internship, which had been a challenging one at the outpatient unit of a local hospital. He had really enjoyed his work there. I shared how I was sure, given what I had experienced of him, including his humor and authenticity, that he would have much to offer his future clients.

What was most interesting about this session was a completely unexpected side benefit. When I originally called Hal, he mentioned that he'd had a bad cold for a few days, and he was a little concerned that it might get in the way of our session. About a third of the way through, he reported:

"This is really weird, my nose has been completely congested, and after the work we just did, it's starting to feel much more clear!" And then, by the end of the session, he added, "I know you are going to think this is really strange, but my cold feels pretty much gone! I mean it! My congestion's gone and my throat feels just about clear!" This was even though we did absolutely no direct work on his cold, and I'm pretty sure neither of us expected anything to shift in his cold, as we were focusing so intently on helping his anxieties to reduce. Ah, the wonderful mysteries of Energy Psychology work!

PS. Two days after our session together, I received this spontaneous note from my client:

Thank you SO much for that wonderful and powerful EFT/therapy session, Suzanne. I feel like that ocean of anxiety, particularly around the ear crease issue, has significantly calmed. I'll continue to apply what I learned from you, and I hope to work again with you in the future.
Again, Thanks! "Hal" (name changed to respect confidentiality).

Warm Regards,
Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD


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