NLP Fast Phobia Cure – Does It Last

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 Cure 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 Cure, 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 Cure.

NLP Fast Phobia Cure

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 cure fear of spiders on live TV – Fear Spiders Article


 

4 thoughts on “NLP Fast Phobia Cure – Does It Last

  1. Gina

    This takes me back to the old daze too Tina, how time flies when your having fun. Over the years we have seen phobias cured thousands of times using the Fast Phobia Cure. As for does it last? Absolutely! For years I thought I had a fear of flying which I never cured consciously on one of the many seminars we assisted on – funnily enough I did not want it cured at the time. So some years later, and thousands of witness events of seeing people cured of their phobias, I recently travelled by plane to California which is a 10 hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean. I wanted to go to see this land so much that I was willing to go through the fear to get there. But to my utmost amazement, after a little emotional moment as I stepped on the plane, I began to feel calm. As I sat in my seat I continued to feel Ok and even through the very bumpy turbulence, I could not access any fear, as Steve said happens above. The whole journey there and back was more of the same calm feeling mixed with awe that such an amazing machine can do what it does. Needless to say I as very proud of myself. Love the phobia cure, it’s fun and quick and opens new doors for my clients that they otherwise would never have experienced. Thanks for this very up-to-date and informative article.

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  2. Tina Post author

    Nick, I agree completely this is just one way that you can cure a phobic/anxious response. As is says its actually a description of how my phobia was cured very successfully. When working with my clients my approach would depend on many factors.

    Reply
  3. Nick Kemp

    The fast phobia cure is a good approach, BUT I would respectfully suggest that it’s just one of many possible tools. On the recent BBC blog posting where I worked week in week out with members of the public, I only used it once! When a person “sees something” they have to do a translation in their heads in some way to make sense of it and create a feeling. This may happen very quickly so often it’s assumed that the picture directly creates the feeling, which I suggest is mostly not what is going on, not always but mostly! Of course the creator of the fast phobia cure works mostly in a visual manner (listen to any interviews or watch any DVDs) which is IMO why he always jumps to the visual element first. Ultimately of course what works is the key thing to consider and fortunately many in JBW have a great range of skills to help clients. What is fascinating is that wherever I teach other therapists whether in Asia, USA or Europe, the way in which people create problem states is always the same!

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  4. Steve Tromans

    Good grief, so it was 13 years ago we sorted that spider phobia, how time flies…
    I seem to remember we did some other things too, and got you laughing a lot whilst thinking about a really tiny spider, called Esmerelda, trying, in the distance, to walk on her 8 stiletto heels whilst batting her large eyelashes and giggling.
    The NLP fast phobia cure, and techniques like this, always utilise disassociation to reduce the feeling, and other resources the client has, such as the ability to laugh or feel passionate. This both overwhelms the old conditioned fear response and confuses the person, so that when they think about what WAS scary, whilst in this new ‘mixed’ state, they simply cant access the fear. Its quite an odd thing for a person, I have seen, when they try to think in the same old way about what used to terrify them, and now they are just giggling, smiling or looking a bit confused, and its lovely to be able to provide such an effective solution for so many people.

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