Phobia Help Processes live on the BBC/

Phobia Help Processes live on the BBC

Archive for the ‘Phobia Help’ Category

Phobia Help Processes live on the BBC

Posted on: June 1st, 2012 by Nick No Comments

A few years ago I received a phone call. “Hi this is Chris Sands, producer at the BBC. Would you come in and talk about your work this Sunday, live on the air?” I thought “Blimey that’s my birthday, do I want to work on my birthday?” I decided that it might be good to attend to raise awareness of my work and earmarked 1 – 2pm for the show. During the programme I mentioned that I specialized in seeing clients with phobias and anxiety conditions. Both the show host and producer’s eyes lit up and they asked if I would happy to return to work with members of the public live on the air. At this point I had no idea that I would be appearing for 26 consecutive weeks working with all kinds of phobic problems including public speaking, bird phobias, spider phobias, fear of heights, fear of flying insects among many other conditions.
Anyone who works in the field of Hypnotherapy, NLP or talk therapy knows that the real test of any practitioner’s skills is seeing clients in private practice. TV shows with celebrities like Paul McKenna and Derren Brown have popularized the idea of hypnosis and all manner of instant change. Live client sessions are of course quite different to any other situation as you never really know what is going to happen. During these radio sessions I was acutely aware that each week over 50,000 people would be listening in to hear if “Nick helped the client!” and I wanted as always to ensure each client received the best possible attention.

A phobia has been described as “an intense but unrealistic fear that can interfere with the ability to socialize, work, or go about everyday life, brought on by an object, event or situation” The secret to changing this response is not to analyze the problem, but rather to change how and person thinks and then feels about the problem. Any anxiety is created by four main ways –

1. What a person sees externally
2. What they hear externally
3. What they imagine or picture internally
4. What they think or say to themselves internally

I have never found the other two senses of taste and smell to be frequent triggers for the phobia; it’s mostly always the other four factors. In NLP the traditional “fast phobia process” is a good way to assist with phobias. This works especially well if the phobia is triggered by what a client sees or imagines. However I have found that often the trigger for the phobia is not simply what a person sees but rather what they then think to themselves. For example when a person sees a spider and feels fear it’s often not the picture that creates the fear but rather the person thinking “Oh my god!” in an unhelpful anxious tone! Over 90% of all phobias I have treated to date have this kind of auditory trigger and almost all the BBC clients responded well to changing this unhelpful thinking pattern.

During the 26 weeks I learned a great deal about how to work quickly and efficiently in resolving these problem states and never to assume anything when working with clients. A good practitioner has a flexibility to adapt and respond to a client’s needs and never to assume anything! Unusual phobias I have treated to date include fear of red brick walls and sharp edges and fear of balloons among other problems.

Seeing clients every week in Leeds, Manchester and on Skype has taught me a great deal about how people create these conditions and I teach these approaches all around the world. What I find fascinating is that it doesn’t matter if I am teaching medics in Japan, the public in New York or am presenting at a major conference in Spain, the triggers for these problems are always predictably exactly the same! To date I have seen literally thousands of clients with phobias and anxiety related problems. Most issues can be resolved in just a couple of sessions producing a very welcome and much needed improved quality of life.

Nick Kemp

NLP Fast Phobia Process – Does It Last

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by Tina 4 Comments

When helping my clients let go of their fears there are a couple of questions I am regularly asked.  The first is “does this really work” and the second is “how long will it last?”

Happy Memories…

These questions often trigger memories of my training to be an NLP Practitioner.  One of the most powerful moments of that course was when I realized that my feelings were created by a combination of thoughts; and that I could change the way in which I thought of something which in turn changed the way I felt about it.

Phobia Day

That day was known as Phobia Day.  This was the penultimate day of the course when the students were taught the NLP Fast Phobia Process and how to help people let go of their fears.  I was ready, I had a phobia and I wanted to get rid of it.

It All Seemed So Easy

I watched the demonstration on the stage by Paul McKenna & Michael Breen; amazed at how easy it all seemed.  So wanting to be able to stop being afraid.  I was scared of spiders.  I used to check rooms as I went in, I even looked in my bed at night to make sure they hadn’t crawled in between the sheets, I checked my shoes before I put them on.  I slept deep under the covers so “they” couldn’t walk on me at night.

I Wasn’t Scared!

On that day I went through the NLP Fast Phobia Process, helped by Steve Tromans, and learnt how to change my thinking.  After a while, I held the tarantula.  I wasn’t scared, I was curious as to how it would feel and it felt OK.  No it felt better than OK, It felt good, I was no longer scared.  I felt liberated!

How to let go of fear/anxiety

When Dr Richard Bandler was investigating ways in which to help people get rid of their fears/phobias he advertised for people who had already done this.  He spoke to hundreds of people and found out what they did.  They told him they got to a point when they had, had enough; they looked at their fear and realized just how ridiculous it was.  When working with my clients I first of all have them access a positive state, laughter is perfect for this.  When they have that state I’ll anchor it.

Anchoring a positive state.

Anchoring is the term we use when referring to a learned association between an external stimulus and an internal response. We are constantly creating and using anchors. It is an unconscious behaviour, one that we can make use of  create anchors that are more useful to us.

In the late 1900s a Russian scientist called Pavlov conducted some experiments where he would offer food to his dogs and at the same time ring a bell.  After a while the dog associated the bell with food and within a short while he would only have to ring the bell and the dog would salivate.  He had created an association between a bell and feeding time.  There was no logical connection between the two things, but through constant repetition, a neurological connection was created in the mind of the dogs.

Whenever we do something new, we create a new neural pathway so we can re-access that experience again more easily.  Each time we repeat a particular behaviour, we strengthen the associated neural pathway, just as when you walk down a path through a field it eventually becomes a clearer path.

To create a positive humorous anchor.

  1. Remember a joke or something that made you really laugh.  Fully return to it now – remember, see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how good you felt.
  2. As you go through this memory, remember that time and all the feelings associated with it, imagine making it brighter and more colourful, the feelings getting stronger, and any sounds become louder.
  3. As you feel these good feelings, squeeze the thumb and middle finger of either hand together.
  4. Now squeeze the thumb and finger together and relive that good feeling.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 several times with different positive memories until just squeezing your thumb and finger together brings back those good feelings.

Once I have the anchor set its time for the NLP Fast Phobia Process.

NLP Fast Phobia Process

I ask my client to think about what has been scaring them, if they can remember the first time they became scared we use this incident or one of the incidents when they were really scared/anxious and ask them to evaluate the incident.  “On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is that you are very scared and 1 is that you are feeling calm where are you now as you think about that incident?”

Now put that incident to one side for a moment and close your eyes and imagine walking into a cinema/movie theatre in your mind and sit down in the front row.  In a moment you will watch a movie of that incident on the screen but before you do, float up out of your body into the projection room at the back of the theatre.  You are now looking down from the projection room watching yourself in the front row watching the screen.

On the screen the film begins, as you get to the beginning of the incident freeze the film so you have still colour picture.  Staying in the projection room watching you, watching the film; look at yourself on the screen whilst the film now runs all the way to the end.  To the point where you are OK, now freeze this last frame into a still picture and drain any colour out and make the picture black and white.

From your place in the projection room run the black and white film backwards 3 times.  Everything is going backwards at triple speed.  When you get to the beginning, freeze that picture and then jump to the still frame at the end of the film and run the whole thing backwards again.

When you have done this 3 times, stop at the last frame of the film where you are OK and float out of the projection room and into that last frame.  Re-associate fully into the still picture and one it backwards once more whilst firing off your positive anchor.

Now walk out of the screen and sit back down in the cinema and white out the screen.  Turn the screen white, then black, then white, then black.  Repeat this a further 6 times.

Now check how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10 and if necessary repeat.

Future Pace

Once the evaluation is at a comfortable level its time to future pace the next experience and think about a time in the future when you repeat a similar experience only this time you do so calmly and in perfect control.  Run through a few occasions in your mind whereby you are calm, confident and in control.

I’m not sure when I realized that I had stopped checking for spiders.  Over time I have thought less about my eight legged friends, and notice them even less.  One day my daughter came into my bedroom and said “mum theres a great big spider on the wall above your bed”.  “Oh yes so there is” I replied.  It was my husband who pointed out the different response, but of course I thought its only a spider after all.

At that time I never thought that I would be helping people let go of their fears, nor did I consider that I would be working alongside my liberator.

That was over thirteen years ago, so I think I can safely say from my experience yes it does work and yes it does last.

Tina Taylor

Read an article about how Tina worked to help resolve a fear of spiders on live TV – Fear Spiders Article


How to overcome fear of needles

Posted on: May 17th, 2012 by Paul 2 Comments

Many years ago when I was doing my Paramedic training I discovered how people created their fear of needles and I’m going to explain how you too can also overcome your fear of needles. Even back then before I had learnt about how NLP and hypnosis can help you feel calmer about needles and injections I got interested in the differences between the people that were anxious and the people that feel calmer.

I was fascinated by learning as much as possible and one of the things that I noticed was how a surprising large number of people would unnecessarily put themselves through stress and suffering before anything had actually started. Now I am not talking about people who were already in pain, this was with people who were about to have an injection or some other straight forward simple procedure. Now as a child, like most children, I didn’t like injections either and obviously they’re not something that your supposed to like and in fact liking them would be stranger than not liking them. However there is a big difference between being scared of needles and feeling ok about them and many people are able to feel calm about having an injection. And so the curiosity started about how people can feel calmer about needles.

In many cases the pain associated with the thought of having injection isn’t actually caused by the needle as so many people with fear of needles have understandably but mistakenly thought. In reality most of it is caused by the tension, stress and fear that they have induced in themselves. Think about it, many people have experienced the fear of the pain in their mind before even getting to the doctors! And in over 90% of cases their amplified expectations of the fear are far worse than the actual reality of what it would be like having an injection while feeling calmer. Now I know some people may find that hard to imagine at the moment, but probably part of the reason why they are afraid is because every time they thought about needles it was framed around the notion of them being afraid.

The thing that was glaringly obvious was that not only do these two groups of people feel differently during the injection they also have a different experience in regards to the whole lead up to the injection and also afterwards. I starting thinking about how I can help the people who are scared & anxious to feel more relaxed and calmer just like the people who are able to take injections in their stride. I asked myself the question “As the doctors are teaching me the skills I need to be a Paramedic what skills does the patient need to have in order to to help them feel calmer both before and during an injection?”

I started asking people questions and listened very carefully not only to their answers, I also noticed what they didn’t say. In fact the majority of people that feel calmer and relaxed didn’t talk about it scary terms at all, it was as though the thought of being scared didn’t even occur to them! I then started paying very close attention to what they were doing in terms of whether their attention was focused externally on what was going on around them or internally with them lost in their own thoughts. And you know what, not only did it become obvious, the answer is also simple. But then when you stop and think about it that’s usually the case isn’t it because the most effective and best solutions are more often than not also the simplest! So I got the people who were scared by needles to adopt the same approach as the people who feel more relaxed and amazingly with a small amount of effort most of them were also able to put their fear of needles into perspective and feel significantly calmer. Here’s the outline of what I got them to do

Step 1. 

First just notice, when does your fear start? For large majority of people the fear starts before the injection / blood test has begun. Now at first this may sound strange but hear me out. The fact that the fear starts before the injection is a good sign because it actually means that its not the injection that was scaring you. It’s your expectations of what’s going to happen that was scaring you. And because of this you can regain control over how you feel.

Step 2. 

Pay attention to how you are thinking about what you imagine is going to happen. We all have thoughts constantly through out the day but have you ever taken the time to notice how you think about things? Are you picturing what you imagine is going to happen? If it is a picture are you watching yourself there or seeing what you’d see through your own eyes in the experience? Are you thinking through the experience in terms of how you imagine it’s going to feel? Are your thoughts telling yourself that it’s going to be painful or that you are going to respond in a certain way?

Step 3.

If you were looking at an image the first thing to do is to disassociate with it, or in other words step out of the movie. So instead of being in the experience you are watching a movie of yourself in that experience. Put a boarder or a frame around the image so you make it clear to your mind that you are watching a movie or what’s happening. Now inside your minds eye, shrink the movie down in size and push it further away from you so the movie and it’s contents look smaller and more distant. Drain a lot of the detail out of the movie and make the images look more and more faded as you look at it. As the detail drains out of the movie so your just left with a vague outline of what was there notice what has also happened to the feelings that were associated with the movie? Have they reduced and faded with the movie or just stopped?

Step 4.

If your thoughts (internal dialogue) were telling you that your going to be scared did you ever take the time to notice whether they sounded calmer and relaxed, anxious or scared. Almost invariably people who feel afraid have an anxious or scared sounding internal dialogue running inside their minds. Well if it is running inside your head that means you can have control over what you think to yourself and what it sounds like. How different would you feel if  your internal dialogue either had a ridiculous sounding tonality like Mickey Mouse or sounded really slow and very calm? Try it out and find out for yourself.

Step 5.

It’s not enough to just reduce the old feelings of anxiety, your brain has to be given something more useful to focus on. You could of course start by picturing yourself in your minds eye looking calmer and more relaxed about the idea of having an injection. However I want you go out further into the future and picture yourself looking back with hindsight at the fear of needles you had in past. Have you ever wondered what it is going to feel like once you have gotten to this point in time looking back at that old fear you had in the past?

So when you think about the last time you felt scared at the thought of having an injection were you running scary scenarios inside your minds eye or becoming rigid with fear because of how you imagined it was going to be? For many people the fear was because of how you thought you were going to react in that situation. How would things be different if you knew you’re going to feel calmer?

Although these simple things do work for a large number of people of course there are some people where I have to do things differently to help them feel calmer and more relaxed. So the question to ask yourself is not whether you can feel calmer and relaxed about needles but how do you need to think about it to feel calmer and more relaxed.

Paul Wright

The page on needle phobia on the main site is here – Phobia Of Needles