Tackle Phobias with EFT and The Rewind Technique
Below are some criteria to help you identify if you have a phobia:
- An excessive or unreasonable fear that is triggered by the presence of or the anticipation of an object or situation.
- Exposure to the stimulus provokes an immediate and excessive anxiety response.
- You recognise the fear is excessive and unreasonable.
- You will do anything to avoid the stimulus.
- The phobia interferes with normal routines, social activities, relationships, etc.
11% of the population experience a phobia at one time or another and they are likely to affect twice as many women as men. Some of the more common phobias are: spiders, snakes, heights, flying, enclosed spaces, open spaces, birds and dogs. Some more unusual phobias are: buttons, belly-buttons, fear of someone cracking their knuckles, empty toilet rolls, using a spoon, black olives and crumbs.
Whilst you might be thinking that some of these phobias are quite silly, they illustrate the fact that people can form a phobic response to virtually anything.
So, how does a phobia develop? Well, one of the more obvious answers is that it can be a learned behaviour. If a small child witnesses the mother standing on a table, screaming uncontrollably because of having seen a mouse, then this will raise anxiety in the child whilst at the same time giving off a signal that the mouse is in some way threatening to the adult.
Fear is a natural response to threats. Neuroscientific progress is providing us with helpful information about how the brain works and why we can become so psychologically vulnerable when in high levels of fright.
Our human survival mechanism has the ability to pick up information from the environment and translate it, consciously and unconsciously, into ‘safe’ or ‘threat’. This ability works by matching patterns with relevant past experiences and understandings. When patterns are formed under a high level of anxiety or fear, they are much more sensitively triggered than those that form in less emotional circumstances.
Take the example of walking down the street and a car driving past you. Perhaps there was an occasion when the car sped through a deep puddle and you were drenched in water. You might be irritated but you are extremely unlikely to respond in a highly anxious way, so your ability to match this pattern (learn from experience) would mean that in the future, when walking down the street on a rainy day you would be influenced to move aside to avoid getting wet. It is a pattern match because it doesn’t have to be the same car or the same puddle to activate your learning.
On the other hand, if you were walking along and there were bullets being fired from the car, your fear response might become so highly activated that the pattern of the situation would become embedded in the emotional centres of the brain. This increases the likelihood of pattern matching a fear response around cars or loud noises. In a small percentage of cases future events might have the fear response being activated inappropriately, and that person might find herself to be ‘car phobic’.
A phobic response can also happen outside a person’s awareness. Consider the person in a car accident waiting to be cut free by firemen. It is likely that the fear and pain of the situation would lock the person’s attention to the extent that they are oblivious to everything else going on around them. Let’s imagine that 20 feet away from the accident, there is a hot-dog stand and the smell of frying onions is in the air. The crash victim is not aware of smelling the smell because their attention is otherwise engaged. However, that person’s survival radar is scanning the area with all its senses so that it can pattern match this potentially life-threatening situation. Then, months later, when the crash is history and the victim recovered, he might be walking somewhere completely different and get a waft of frying onions. He has no conscious recollection of the pattern match but suddenly finds that the smell triggers a panic response.
So how do we fix it?
The Rewind Technique
The wonderful thing about the Rewind Technique is that the person does not need to know how the phobia (or trauma) occurred in order for the technique to be successful. Nor do they have to engage in a detailed re-experiencing of their fears. It has an excellent track record for being a fast, effective and safe treatment that can put an end to the misery of phobias, trauma and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.*