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The Phobia Self-Help Book


Keith Livingston

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved

The Phobia Self-Help Book


Keith Livingston

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents
Click on any item in the table of contents to go instantly to that page Introduction ...........................................................................................................1 About This Book....................................................................................................4 What Is A Phobia? ................................................................................................6 Types of Phobias ..................................................................................................7 The Reticular Activating System and the Amygdala .............................................8 How Phobias Work In the Mind...........................................................................10 Stimulus/Response .........................................................................................10 The Subconscious Mind ..................................................................................10 Are We Consciously Aware Of Our Thoughts? ...............................................11 Subconscious, Automatic Thoughts ................................................................12 Who's the Boss? .............................................................................................12 Phobias Are Run By the Subconscious Mind ..................................................12 The Languages of the Subconscious..................................................................14 The Secret Code .............................................................................................14 Emotions & Imagination ..................................................................................14 What Works.....................................................................................................14 Fears Are Learned and Unlearned......................................................................16 One Trial Learning...........................................................................................16 How Does My Brain Know When It's Time to Have a Phobia? ...........................17 Reprocessing Initializing Events......................................................................17 How Phobias Work .............................................................................................18 The Same Treatment for Different Phobias? ......................................................19 Frequently Asked Questions ...............................................................................20 Case Histories.....................................................................................................31 Kristine ............................................................................................................31 Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Fear of Doctors Hospitals, Death and Being Alone ...............................................................................................................33 Gerry - Fear of Public Speaking ......................................................................47 Tom .................................................................................................................48 Bill ...................................................................................................................49 Rachel .............................................................................................................50 Testimonials........................................................................................................54 NLP Techniques for Phobias ..............................................................................57 Overview: How to Use the NLP Phobia Cure Techniques...............................57 Fast Phobia Cure ............................................................................................58 Affect Bridge (Finding Root Causes) ...............................................................59 The Visual "Swish" Pattern..............................................................................60 Auditory "Swish" Pattern .................................................................................62 Anchoring ........................................................................................................64 Collapsing Anchors .........................................................................................65 Future Pacing (New Behavior Generator) .......................................................67
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved

Phobia Treatments..............................................................................................68 Psychoanalysis................................................................................................68 Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies ......................................................................69 Virtual Reality ..................................................................................................70 Drugs...............................................................................................................71 NLP .................................................................................................................76 Hypnosis .........................................................................................................77 EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) ...........................78 Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T. - Tapping) ..........................................79 Loren Parks .....................................................................................................80 Palm Therapy ..................................................................................................82 Factors for Successful Therapy ..........................................................................83 Pattern Interrupt ..............................................................................................83 Expectancy......................................................................................................83 Mental Suggestion...........................................................................................83 Startle..............................................................................................................84 Imagination vs. Conscious Understanding ......................................................84 My Recommendations ........................................................................................85 Confessions of a Social Anxiety Sufferer ............................................................87 A Phobia Sufferer Reveals Her Secrets..............................................................91 Conclusion ..........................................................................................................96

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved

Hello and welcome to The Phobia Self-Help Book. I'm Keith Livingston and I work with phobias on a daily basis. I decided to write this book for a number of reasons. First of all, there are a tremendous number of people suffering from phobias around the world. In fact, one source estimates that 12% of the world population will suffer from some fear-based disorder in the course of their lives That's close to a billion people! Many of these people are confused about what's happening to them and don't know where to turn or what treatments can help. You see, when I first got into this business I started looking around for information. Information about the effectiveness of phobia treatments was (and still is) difficult to come by. I started reading my wife's books (she's a Licensed Mental Health Counselor) about phobia treatment and they sounded pretty convinced about what treatment should be. The standard party-line is that it takes weeks and weeks (if not years) of therapy to produce results. The recommendations often include drug treatment in conjunction with therapy (I'm not totally opposed to this approach in certain cases, as a last resort). However, years earlier, I had taken some training in what is called NeuroLinguistic Programming. Some of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) proponents were making some outrageous claims about phobias and how quickly they could be cured. If it were true, I began to wonder, why didn't you see the NLP techniques in the psychology textbooks? I decided it must not be true. After all, you can't believe everything somebody tells you! But I began to test it in real life. I decided to focus my practice on phobias and helping people overcome them. I offered an unconditional money-back guarantee - lose the phobia or don't pay. Try getting a doctor or psychiatrist to do that! Eventually, my mind began to shift as I saw many examples of the NLP techniques being effective in a very short amount of time. I became a crusader for NLP techniques and scoffed at any other treatment methods! Whenever I heard about some other form of treatment that might work I stuck my nose up in the air and proclaimed "nothing could be better or more effective than NLP." Over the years I've come in contact with a LOT of phobics. It's my habit to talk to them about what worked and what didn't. Once again, my mind began to change. Some patterns began to emerge. It seems that drugs do not cure phobias (since confirmed by several prestigious government organizations). It seems there are several quick and effective ways to treat phobias. There is not any method for
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 1

ANY condition that works for every person, of course. And there are many methods out there that rarely work - but people keep on pushing them. So I decided to write a book explaining phobias, giving some advice on what methods work and what methods don't. I wanted to warn people about some of the problems that can be encountered with traditional phobia treatments and how to avoid them. I worked hard and ended up with a book with lots of advice and plenty of tips to help you decide what to do. This is a book of hope. The book contains information about phobias, fears, panic and anxiety. There are stories of people who have overcome phobias and gone on to lead happier, more relaxed lives with a greater feeling of selfconfidence having overcome their fears. This is a practical book. It can help you to decide where to turn - and what to avoid like the plague. Good quality information is just the beginning however. What about helping folks to overcome their phobias? I began studying the most advanced and effective phobia treatments. I found methods that worked and have utilized them on many, many clients. The question became; "How do I reach the most people?" I began working by phone to reach a greater audience. But there's no way that I personally could speak with enough people to make a significant difference in the millions who suffer. Another hard fact is that many people could not afford my personal session fee. My first thought was that I'd train therapists in the techniques I use. That way, through the multiplication of effort we could reach more people. But even if I train hundreds of therapists and they see dozens of clients it still barely makes a dent. (If you'd like more information on becoming trained in these techniques go to http://www.phobiascured.com/phobia_training_programs.htm). Another idea kept popping up in my mind... Wouldn't it be more empowering for people to be able to help themselves rather than to depend on a therapist or drug to "fix" them? A format where people could learn and help themselves - and feel that much more in control of their lives. You know, techniques that people could use comfortably in their homes. Something that wouldn't cost them an arm and a leg. My book began to expand... Thus, the techniques section of my book was born. The techniques section contains step-by-step instructions for procedures that countless people have used to overcome their phobias. I have taught these techniques to many via phone and have used that experience to make them as straight-forward and simple to follow as possible.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 2

I've also included information about other techniques that have been found effective. I've shown you where to go to get information - sometimes for free. Some of the methods are easy enough to do yourself and they're quite safe. You can use The Phobia Self-Help Book to discover more about phobias, help you make a decision about where to turn and to read case histories to give you a sense of hope. You can have access to the techniques I've taught to doctors, counselors, real estate agents, salespeople, stay at home moms, executives hundreds of people just like you. Its my wish that you find this book useful and through the knowledge contained herein move forward into a more relaxed and satisfying life. It's my desire to increase the knowledge and power available to those suffering from anxiety, panic and phobias. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

President: Advancing Ideas LLC http://www.PhobiasCured.com/

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 3

About This Book

Here's what's in the book...

Definitions of phobias The types of phobias How phobias work in the nervous system How phobias work in the mind Learn which therapies have produced results. Get facts and opinions about treatment methods including... 1. Psychotherapy 2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 3. Virtual Reality Therapy 4. Drug Therapy 5. NLP 6. Hypnotherapy 7. EMDR 8. EFT Frequently Asked Questions from email I receive Case histories from my files Some information about what I do to help people with phobias

In addition, you get the following techniques... The Fast Phobia Cure is a technique for dealing with memories of past phobic experiences and imagined future situations. The fast phobia cure comes from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), an extremely effective and fast form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Finding Root Causes is actually quite simple when you know how. Finding and resolving these root causes of phobias can reduce or eliminate a phobia. Many people don't know what experience "initialized" or caused their phobia. Use this simple technique to discover the root cause of your phobia. The Visual Swish helps get rid of disturbing images. The Auditory Swish decreases or eliminates discomfort from our internal dialog or other sounds. Often used in treating fear of public speaking (and other phobias). Collapsing Anchors allows us to put good feelings into situations that have felt bad in the past. Future Pacing Allows us to use role models, people who react like we want to react, as guides for our subconscious minds.
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 4

To navigate this book: click on any item in the table of contents to go instantly to that page or use the Bookmarks tab (to the left of the document) to navigate freely through the book. Any time your mouse is over a working link, it will change appearance, simply click on the item to be activate the link. This book is fully protected by the COPYRIGHT LAW OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA as well as INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAW. No aspect of this book, in part or in full, may be reproduced or sold by any means without the express written consent of Keith Livingston. Violations of this copyright will be enforced to the full extent of the law. Keith Livingston

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 5

What Is A Phobia?
According to the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, a phobias is "extreme fear of a particular thing or situation, especially one that cannot be reasonably explained." Dictionary.com defines a phobia as; "A persistent, abnormal, or irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid the feared stimulus." Some mental health professionals would add that a phobia is a fear that interferes in a person's life. So, if you have a fear of flying and it causes you to cancel trips or plan around your fear it would be considered a problem. Some estimate that twelve percent of the population will experience a phobia at some point in their lives. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, redness in the face, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea and an inability to speak or think clearly. Various sufferers experience various combinations of these symptoms (and other symptoms). If you experience some or all of these symptoms and the avoidance of the anxiety-producing situation is causing problems in your life you may have a phobia.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 6

Types of Phobias
There are three types of phobia - simple phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia (with and without panic attacks) - as well as panic disorder.

Simple Phobias
The most common of the three phobias is simple phobia, a phobia of some object or situation. Fear of spiders, heights and flying are examples of simple phobias. There are no proven drug treatments for simple phobias. The insight by most phobics that their fears are not justified doesn't necessarily help. This is why insight oriented therapy is not effective in the treatment of phobias.

Social Phobias
Social phobics are often afraid of being judged. People with social phobia often tell me that they are afraid of being the center of attention or "in the spotlight." The level of anxiety often corresponds with the perceived authority or importance of the social group. In simple English, it is more frightening to speak in front of a group of Nobel prize winners than a kindergarten class. Social phobics may have difficulty thinking clearly, remembering facts, or speaking clearly when in a social situation. A fear of blushing often accompanies social phobia.

Panic Disorder
People suffering form panic disorder are subject to episodes of panic that are unexpected and seemingly without cause. The person having a panic attack may fear they are going to die or lose control. Panic disorder is diagnosed when patients experience repeated episodes of such panic attacks. People with panic disorder can not predict when they will suddenly be struck by panic.

Agoraphobia comes from a Greek word meaning "fear of the open marketplace." Agoraphobia is often thought of as fear of fear itself or fear of having a panic attack. Some people who suffer from panic disorder go on to develop agoraphobia, which may prevent sufferers from leaving their homes unless accompanied by someone they know and trust. Agoraphobia may occur with or without panic disorder.

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The Reticular Activating System and the Amygdala

There is a brain structure called the Reticular Activation System (or RAS). One of the functions of this brain structure is to route sensory information to various places in the brain. When a person sees, feels, hears, smells or tastes something, a nerve impulse travels through the RAS. The RAS acts as a filter, deciding where to send this information. The RAS can categorize the sensory input as important enough to call to your attention. It may then send the sensory input to your thinking center where you'll notice it. The RAS can also send information to another, more primitive part of your brain. Let me give you an idea of how this works... Let's suppose you've just bought a shiny, new black convertible. Suddenly everywhere you go, there are black convertibles. You begin to notice them driving down the street, in parking lots etc. Your RAS has been set to detect these cars and attract your attention. The cars were always there, it's just that your filtering system hadn't been set to pick them up. The RAS also sends information with high emotional content to the Amygdala. The Amygdala is a structure of the brain and has to do with emotional learning. It is part of our older, more primitive brain. The Amygdala has projections into multiple brain systems involved in the production of fear and is one of the brain structures that helps control fear chemicals such as adrenaline (it connects to structures which can release stress hormones, suppress pain and produce the "deer in the headlights" effect). The Amygdala also has connections to various areas of the body; the heart, the intestines, sweat glands, breathing functions etc. These are the same areas in which phobics experience symptoms; shortness of breath, rapid heart beat, excessive sweating.... Basically, in a phobic situation the sensory input gets routed from the Reticular Activating System to the Amygdala. The Amygdala becomes excited and sends messages to release fear producing chemicals, speed up your breathing, increase sweating and your heartbeat. In simple terms, somewhere in the brain, there's a fork in the road. At the fork, a judgment call is made and things we see, hear, feel, smell or taste either get routed to the fear center or the thinking center. The decisions at this fork are usually based on past experiences. The problem with most drug, counseling or physiologically based phobia treatment methods is that they focus on what to do after the Amygdala gets tweaked. That seems to be too late in the process to do much good (As my

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 8

grandmother would have said "That's like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped."). Most of the anti-anxiety drugs are believed to work by damping the fear response. So, you sense something, the RAS categorizes it as dangerous and routes it to the Amygdala, the Amygdala attempts to send fear chemicals and signals to the body but the drug attempts to prevent this from happening. As you can imagine when the drug is removed the phobia still exists (in children this may not be the case). It's my belief that the most effective treatments for phobias are focused on the RAS. If you can train the RAS to route the sensory input to the cognitive, thinking center of the brain and away from the emotional center then you'd be fine. You'd think about the situation rather than react to it.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 9

How Phobias Work In the Mind

Maybe you know about Pavlov's dogs. Ivan Pavlov was a scientist who wanted to study the digestion of dogs (lord knows why). He hooked up a tube to the dog's mouth's to measure their saliva output (let's just call it doggy drool - shall we)? After a while, he noticed that the dogs would begin to anticipate their feeding times. We all know that right? The instant the dog knows food is coming they get all excited. But what he noticed is that the dogs began to produce more drool, even before the food got there. Now the drool was meant to aid the dog's digestion. Pavlov began to experiment; he fed his dogs and rang a bell whenever dinner was served. Just ringing the bell would get the dogs to salivate - their bodies would act as if they were about to get fed - even in the absence of the thing that was originally linked to increased saliva output, namely food. A bell (stimulus) actually caused automatic biological and emotional responses! This is called a conditioned response Let that sink in for a moment... Even though it isn't logical to salivate at the sound of a bell in the absence of food, the dogs would do it. It's the dog's "thoughts" that are causing the reaction. We do the same thing. In fact, some of you are probably salivating just reading this. Although dogs are smarter than humans, phobias work the same way for us. Some biological response (fear for instance) has been tied to some "trigger" or stimulus (usually as a result of some emotionally charged incident). This stimulus can be just thinking about the situation. In other words, the way a person thinks about getting on an airplane can have profound affects on his biology. These thoughts can trigger a variety of feelings - including fear and panic.

The Subconscious Mind

We are different than dogs in some ways. Our minds are more complex. We are able to think rationally and logically. Shouldn't we be able to simply think our way out of a phobia? The human mind can be thought of as having two sections; the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is responsible for all those things our mind controls but that we're not thinking about at the moment.

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Your conscious mind is the analytical, logical mind. The conscious mind questions things to find out if they fit with currently held beliefs. The subconscious mind maintains currently held beliefs and the physiological and emotional responses to go along with them. The subconscious mind controls habits, beliefs, emotional responses, physiological responses and learned behaviors as well as automatic body processes. The subconscious uses those tools to act in accordance with beliefs. Once the subconscious mind accepts an idea it acts as if that idea is reality.

Are We Consciously Aware Of Our Thoughts?

Have you ever... Found yourself in the middle of humming a tune and didn't remember starting it? While riding in the passenger side of a car, found yourself pushing on the floorboard as if there is a brake pedal located there? These are examples of thoughts and actions which are out-ofconsciousness. It's estimated that 88% of our thoughts fall into this category. People are constantly experiencing thoughts that they're unaware of consciously. I'll often ask people what color their car or house is - usually they'll tell me. They are literally making an image in their "mind's eye", looking at the image and noticing the color of the car/house from that image. Most times they're not consciously aware of the image - they believe they just "know" the color. When you have a phobic reaction, you are literally thinking thoughts that scare you. Often these thoughts are out-of-consciousness. You're very aware of the feelings they produce. These out-of-consciousness thoughts are usually in the form of images or sounds. If you ask most people with phobias, they'll tell you that they don't have any "thoughts" before they feel the fear. They'll say that the fear "just happens". It takes some careful examination to find the thoughts that occur immediately before a phobia strikes. Because phobias happen automatically and below the level of conscious awareness, conscious insight and talk therapy are often ineffective in eliminating this response. Drugs can be introduced into your system to dampen emotional responses or chemically interfere with the anxiety producing substances your body makes. This treats the symptom but does not remove the cause.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 11

Subconscious, Automatic Thoughts

The subconscious mind takes over thoughts once we learn things well. It's job is to do those things we consider automatic. A phobia is one of those automatic things. The thoughts we have in relation to phobias are often out of our conscious awareness. There's nothing mysterious about these thoughts, it's just that our conscious mind can only pay attention to a few things at one time - the subconscious takes care of the rest.

Who's the Boss?

If you put your hand on a hot stove how long could the power of your conscious mind keep it there? For most people the answer is "Not very long." Would you have to consider pulling it off the hot stove or would it just happen automatically? The subconscious mind has powerful programming built in to protect us. It automatically moves us out of dangerous situations without conscious thought. Our conscious mind is much too slow to do this effectively. When your subconscious mind recognizes a dangerous situation it automatically acts to protect us. One of the ways it protects us is by associating fear to dangerous situations. Trying to battle these automatic reactions is like trying not to breathe. You might be able to do it for a little while but the subconscious is much more powerful and determined than the conscious mind. The subconscious controls our feelings and can motivate us tremendously by creating pleasure... or fear. That's why people with phobias can't just "get over it" by consciously deciding to overcome their phobia.

Phobias Are Run By the Subconscious Mind

Remember, phobias are run by the subconscious mind. Many therapies focus on our conscious mind. Often the goal of therapy is insight or understanding of our phobia. To consciously gain insight or consciously understand the reason for our phobia is good - but it won't cure it. People with phobias usually have utilized all the conscious resources available to them to no avail. They've all told themselves "I'm not going to let it affect me this time, I'm going to tough it out." The reason this doesn't work is that they're not communicating with the part of the mind that controls the phobia. It's like complaining about a movie to the ticket taker. The message might get through to the powers that be, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 12

This is why some therapies that focus on conscious understanding of phobias take so long. The subconscious mind is responsible for maintaining phobias. If we want to get the job done quickly, we must speak the language of the subconscious mind.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 13

The Languages of the Subconscious

The Secret Code
If you were to go up to a dog and say in your sweetest , most friendly tone "Hello there doggie, I'm going to take away your food, make you eat cat food and talk bad about you to the other dogs," how do you think the dog would react? What would the dog base its reaction on? What if you were to say something nice in a very stern and forceful voice? Would the dog respond to the words or to the tonality? The dog would know what emotions to feel based on the tone of voice. Well, there's a part of your mind that works the same way. We all make images in our "mind's eye" and we all hear sounds and talk to ourselves internally. What emotions we feel and how strongly we feel them is based on qualities of the images we see and the sounds we hear inside our minds. These qualities are the "secret code of the mind" and may be different for each individual. Many of these images and sounds are what we call "thoughts" and are often outside of our conscious awareness.

Emotions & Imagination

While the conscious mind is rational and logical, the subconscious works based on emotion and imagination. It not only generates out emotions for us but can be reprogrammed through emotion. Emotions can be activated by imagination. To our subconscious mind, anything we imagine with enough vividness is real. An example the ability to image to this degree is a phobia.

What Works
Over and over again, I've seen that therapies that work use imagination, emotion and/or the "secret code of the mind" to communicate quickly and effectively with the subconscious mind. Some methods don't use the conscious mind much at all. As a general rule the less the conscious mind is involved, the faster the therapy works. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for instance, often has the phobic confront their thoughts logically. If you were a claustrophobic, they might put you in a closet and ask you what you were thinking. You might reply, "I'm thinking I'm going to suffocate." The therapist would then ask you to look around and logically calculate the chances of actually suffocating.

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Believe it or not, this method works. It just takes a lot longer than necessary because you're trying to battle the subconscious mind with the conscious mind (the subconscious is much, much stronger).

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 15

Fears Are Learned and Unlearned

Studies have shown that the only two natural fears are fear of heights and fear of loud noises. Since people jump out of airplanes and go to rock concerts we can safely assume that even these built-in fears can be overcome. Because we live in a changing environment the mind has made allowances to learn new fears and unlearn old fears that no longer apply. It's a good thing too! Though people learn and unlearn fears naturally, if you understand the language that the subconscious mind speaks, you can help it to make changes very quickly.

One Trial Learning

Most phobias are what could be called "One Trial Learning." By this, I mean that a Pavlovian conditioned response was learned in one incident. These events are called "Initializing Events" or "Root Causes." The brain is very good at associating feelings with situations. The brain can attach panic or anxiety to a situation in an instant. When you think about it, it makes sense; it's a great survival mechanism to recognize real or imagined dangerous situations without repeated exposure to them. Phobias are simply a valuable natural ability which has been linked up to the wrong situation. Although it's often not this simple, here's one way it can happen. Let's say somebody snuck up behind you and said "boo" and you just happened to be looking at the letter "L." Even though you're not consciously aware of what's going on, whenever you see this letter your unconscious mind could refer back to that earlier situation and get that scared feeling back. It has made the association between "L" and that feeling. Now this is just an example. You should know that phobias do not necessarily have to come from an outside source, they can be created solely within our own minds. They don't have to make sense (as you can see by the example above) nor do they have to be the result of a traumatic event. Phobias can be created in an instant. Fortunately, what the brain can learn in one instant can be unlearned in another instant. But you must know how to communicate with the part of the mind which runs the phobic behavior in order to do this.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 16

How Does My Brain Know When It's Time to Have a Phobia?

The brain contextualizes. What I mean by this is that we think different ways about different situations. For each type of experience the brain creates something like a folder. This folder contains emotions and thoughts. When something reminds us of that same type of situation, our brain opens the folder and gets the emotions. Here's an example. Let's suppose we had a wonderful experience at a restaurant named "Fred's Place." Whenever we think about "Fred's Place" we may feel some of the wonderful feelings we felt earlier. Now let's suppose we were attacked by a bear. Our mind would create a folder called "bear attack." Whenever we thought of that event we would probably feel some small percentage of the negative feelings we had when being attacked. In fact if we saw a bear in a zoo, it might be enough of a reminder to open the "bear attack" folder and get some of the old bad feelings. For some people, seeing another large animal my open the "bear attack" folder, for others a picture of a bear might cause the feelings to arise. For some unfortunate folks, just being outside would be enough of a reminder for the mind to open the "bear attack" folder and get the negative feelings. Many times the mind is not consciously aware that it is going back to these earlier experiences. It is just aware that bad feelings are happening. The thing is, it doesn't have to be something as traumatic as a bear attack to set up this chain of events. It can be something as simple as a momentary instant of panic when speaking in front of your high-school English class.

Reprocessing Initializing Events

Using some phobia techniques, you can discover and reprocess memories with special techniques designed to take the emotional sting from them. Although, with most phobias, you don't need to remember the initializing event you can use these techniques to make memories more comfortable. You'll get to a point where, when you think of an initializing event (or other formerly uncomfortable memories) you'll feel neutral. That way, when something reminds you of the initializing event and you open the folder, all that will be there is neutral feelings. This process is actually enjoyable to most people. You only have to feel a small portion of the anxiety and soon that will feel different.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 17

How Phobias Work

In a nutshell, here's how it works. At some point you are in a situation or imagine a situation. The subconscious mind perceives this situation is dangerous. It generates fear and links the fear to this situation. This link is now automatic (a conditioned response). Each time you are about to get into the situation or imagine getting into a similar situation the subconscious automatically generates fear. The way it knows to generate fear is based on some quality of the thoughts you are having. We must now retrain the subconscious and use its ability to generate automatic thoughts and generate feelings automatically to help you feel more comfortable. Using techniques you'll find out about in this book you can remove the linkage between your current situation and those old memories and feelings. Alternately, you can go back to those initializing events and take the sting out of them. A third plan of attack is to take the thoughts themselves and modify them permanently so they don't create the feelings anymore.

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 18

The Same Treatment for Different Phobias?

People who contact me often want to tell me the history of their phobia. I guess people are conditioned to think of therapy as all about digging through the past. Well, I don't do therapy. What I do is teach people a set of methods so they can overcome their phobia. When using most of the phobia treatment techniques that work quickly, treatment does not vary based on what type of phobia it is, how severe the phobia is or how long it's been going on. For the treatment, it is literally not important what the phobias is. Our thoughts are made up of our senses. We all think in pictures and sounds, tastes, smells and feelings. That's how you wouldn't recognize your friend's voice when you hear it, or your front door when you get home or the kiss of a loved one - you compare it to an internal image, sound or feeling. When a person has a phobia they are literally thinking thoughts that scare them. The thoughts typically take one of two forms; internal imagery and/or internal (imagined) sounds. The images or sounds create the negative feelings. The phobic is usually not conscious of these thoughts. Many effective phobia techniques use ultra-quick methods to permanently interrupt or replace those thoughts. Now, if you wanted to interrupt someone, would it matter what they were saying? When I work with a phobic and we discover they have an mental picture that creates a terrible sensation of fear, I don't care what's in the picture. I don't care if it's a picture of a spider, snake, speaking in front of a group or their mother-inlaw. I'm going to teach them a technique to remove that picture and put another one in its place - permanently. That's why it doesn't matter what the phobia is. There are some techniques that use regression to get back to the root cause of a phobia. Once again, it's not important what the memory is but how it feels. We're going to use a process people use naturally to change the way that memory feels. Have you ever been hurt by someone and been very upset about it but years later, it doesn't seem so important? Well, your brain knows how to do that, you just have to apply the same techniques to the phobia.
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 19

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some examples of typical emails I might receive asking about what I do. I've changed the names, details and edited to protect people's privacy and respect confidentiality. Most of these examples are combinations of several similar email inquiries.

I have an overwhelming fear of driving across bridges. I try to overcome it but I go in to a panic just thinking about it. Am I crazy? Hello, Thanks for writing. Many people who suffer from phobias begin to think that something is wrong with them or that they're crazy. This is simply not true. One source estimates that 12% of people will experience a phobic reaction in their lives. Millions of people all over the world are suffering from phobias. In fact, in a strange sort of way having a phobia proves that your brain is working. The more primitive parts of our minds are designed to keep us alive. One of the mind's functions is to keep us away from dangerous situations. A very powerful way to do this is to create fear and link fear to dangerous situations. So when your subconscious mind perceives a situation as dangerous, it motivates you to get out of it by creating fear. When you experience a phobia it is proof that your subconscious mind is working properly by creating fear in a situation it thinks is dangerous. The key is that your subconscious thinks the situation is dangerous. The difference between a phobia and a "reasonable" fear is that, with a phobia, the subconscious perceives a danger that is not real or blows the danger out of proportion. So you are not, in fact, crazy. Your subconscious mind just misunderstands the level of safety in crossing a bridge. Feel free to call, email, order one of my videotapes or my book to find out how I can help you to educate your subconscious mind. Keith Livingston

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"I saw from your web site that you work with fear of spiders. I have a fear of snakes. Can you help me? Kim" Hello Kim, Thanks for writing. Fear of spiders, bugs, frogs, needles, doctors, worms, heights, public speaking, butterflies, birds, claustrophobia, heights, flying, snakes and most other phobias all work the same way. I would be happy to help. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

"Hello, I'm actually writing for my husband. He has a fear of flying, and has to fly for his job. His fear is getting worse, and he hates his job more and more by the day because of this fear. Do you know of any classes in New York that he could take? thanks, Ellen" Dear Ellen, No. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

"Hello, I am curious about Neuro Linguistic Programming...is it hypnosis? Can you explain it? I would like to get a clearer understanding of what it is and how it works specifically for my fear. Have you had special training in this? Thank you, Bill" Hello Bill, Thanks for writing. One way of looking at Neurolinguistic Programming is as the study of how the subconscious mind communicates. The techniques are used with full conscious participation. NLP's techniques are simply, in my opinion, the most powerful change technology in existence. NLP has developed what they call a "fast phobia cure" which has been found as or more effective than standard lengthy desensitization or drug treatments. To quote one study (this is a profound
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understatement) - "Treatment outcome compared favorably with more conventional treatments." Believe it or not, this method is reasonably easy to learn. Over time I've picked up other techniques, from other treatment modalities that are useful in overcoming phobias. Some of them are taken from NLP and some I've picked up from other places. I've adapted many of them so that a person could perform them on his or her own. I'm a Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming I have a private practice in Seattle. I received my initial Neurolinguistic Programming certification from the NLP Learning Center in 1993 and have done extensive training since (including my Master Practitioner certification with Bennett/Stellar University). As I mentioned, NLP is done with full conscious participation and awareness. If you have any further questions please feel free to call or email. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

"Hi my name is Erika & I've had phobias for years. I'm afraid to go into buildings. Also I'm afraid to stay home by myself. When I think I might be left alone I feel a panic attack coming on. When I try to go into a building I feel like my body temp. is rising & I feel like I'm going to catch on fire. I'm tired of being like this & I want help! I am currently seeing a counselor that comes to my car to do an hour session. But she wants to get me on medicine, and I would have to to go in a building to get the medicine. I can't make myself. But if the medicine would help I'd want it or anything I want it. Can you help me?. Thanks, Erika" Hello Erika, Thanks for writing. Medicine has helped many folks deal with fear, anxiety and phobias and is necessary for some people. It seems to me that, since medicine can have sideeffects, it should be used as a last resort. I have worked with folks in your situation before, sometimes with success, sometimes not. My book may give you more information about my methods, feel free to read it. I am not a doctor so I do not have any advice for you on whether or not you should go on medication. If you are receiving advice from a competent health professional please take that advice. If you are uncomfortable with that advice get a second opinion from a different qualified health professional. Good luck, Keith Livingston

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"Can you really help with phobias? I have a major fear of doctors/needles/medical treatment that is keeping me from going to appointments. Just the thought of even going to a doctor and just TALKING to him, for a consultation, scares me to the point of bursting into tears. I feel like an idiot, but I can't help it. Jenny" Hello Jenny, Thanks for writing. Yes, I can help. You should know that a lot of people share your same situation. In fact I recently worked with a man who hadn't been to the doctor in 15 years because of his fear. We were able to get him through a doctor's appointment - thankfully he checked out fine. Feel free to download my book to learn about what I do or call or email for more information. Keith

"I just went to your website, and read it. Although, what you are saying is true in some cases, in other cases, phobias (especially "agoraphobia"), and/or anxiety disorder can be caused by a biochemical imbalance. I am convinced that many "specialists" overlook this fact. I just thought I would share with you my opinion on this subject. Sincerely, Frank" Hello Frank, Thanks for writing. In my opinion biochemical imbalances are caused by certain types of thinking. There are ample studies showing the effect of thoughts on biochemistry. The problems of anxieties/phobias can be approached from either a cognitive viewpoint or a biochemical one. Cognitive seems much less invasive to me. Many people disagree with me on this point, it's just my personal opinion. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

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"Hello..My name is Sherry...and I was recently checking out some websites on arachnophobia. I'll tell you a little about my phobia with spiders...It's to the point now that before i walk into a room...I have to turn the light on a look on the floor, ceilings, and walls and any articles that are in that room..I do this every time i go into a room weather i was just there or not..I am to the point now where my phobia runs my life...I cant feel safe going anywhere...I've been scared of these yucky things ever since i can remember...I've tried to confront it and the fear for me is just so overwhelming that I completely freak...If somehow it became close to me or if I were to run into just a web...sometimes I scream and 100% of the time my body clenches and im frozen and cant move my arms or legs or even talk sometimes...Please I definatly need some help... Thank you for your time, Sherry" Hello Sherry, Thanks for writing. You should know that a lot of people share your same situation. I have worked successfully with arachnophobia before. Many people are convinced that their phobia is too severe or too deep-rooted or too long-lived to cure by these methods. I have found no correlation between these factors and ease of treatment. Feel free to download my book to learn about what I do or call or email for more information. Keith

"Hi i have a friend who has had agoraphobia since 1979... She visits her doctor every six months and has a very difficult time leaving her home. she uses more anxiety medication so she can make the trip to the doctor. Shes told me that there is treatment for people now but it's too late for her. She says she even panics going near the door. I sent her this link but I am curious to know if there is a chance for her to rid herself of this problem so she can enjoy a normal life once again. thank you for your time. Jack" Hello Jack, Thanks for writing. Your friend only has a chance if SHE is interested in pursuing this treatment (or some other treatment that works). I have had less success with folks that were convinced by other people to come into treatment. If someone is convinced that they can't be helped, they don't put the effort that is required into the techniques. If she is interested feel free to have her give a call or email. Keith Livingston
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Hello, "I am a 26 year old female and I have emetophobia, or fear of vomiting. This has totally interfered with my life. I began starving myself 2 years ago, and I lost a total of 50 lbs. This is how intense this fear is. (I have since pretty much stabilized my weight--although I still fluctuate a little). With your "Phobias Cured" program, how long to the results last? Will they last a lifetime? Thank you, SG" Hello SG, I first must ask if you've seen a doctor about your weight loss. Starving yourself can have affects on your health. You must get checked out by a physician! To answer your question, typically the results do last a lifetime. In fact, you should feel fine just as consistently as you felt fear in the past. Keith Livingston

Hello Mr. Livingston, Thank you for the free information you sent me. I am a college student working on a paper for my class. I have some other things that I would want to know more about. Please send me all of the free information you have on symptoms, medications, holistic approaches, how phobias affect people, statistics, treatment methods, etiology and recidivism of the various treatment methods and causes. It would really be a great help for me. I need it as soon as possible. Thank you, Pete Hello Pete, Thanks for writing. I have taken countless hours writing and compiling my web site about phobias. Feel free to use any information you find there under the condition that you credit the information properly and that you send me a copy of your paper (along with permission to use it on my site).
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Regards, Keith Livingston

"I have suffered from claustrophobia most of my life and I am now 69 years of age. I have read dozens of books on the subject and have also seen a psychiatrist. I have searched the past for the start of it all and the only clue I have is that, according to my brother, when I was about 12 years of age I was stuck in a closet. The effects on my life have been varied. I cannot use an elevator nor get into an airplane so my opportunity for travel is limited. It is not the type of claustrophobia so many people talk about as the fear of being closed in but more the fear of a lack of control. At its worst when I was driving my car I would start to panic if I was stuck in a traffic jam. For over 15 years I could not travel by train. I would like to go on a cruise or even better travel to New York on a ship but cannot make it. With this history and background is it really possible to climb out of this restriction and get on with my life? I have adjusted my life accordingly but it would be nice to be free of it and travel at will . I search various sites from time to time it seems to me that the types of phobias which are curable are relatively mild and not the deeply ingrained variety which seems to affect me. There are some web sites that recommend saturation techniques in aircraft simulators where you experience all the feelings of flying and being in a plane for several hours. Is there really any hope? Roger" Hello Roger, The saturation techniques you speak of are usually called de-sensitization or flooding. They involve exposing the phobic person to the phobia for extended periods of time. They can work (although it's not the most pleasant experience). In fact, a few weeks ago I worked with a man who was afraid of driving. Previously he had attended a several day seminar costing several thousand dollars to rid himself of his fear of flying. It had worked very well for him. It took us a couple of sessions to take care of his fear of driving. There is hope, Keith Livingston

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"Hello my name is Sally and my fear is getting worse and interfering with my life. I have a deep fear of worms. I can't remember a time when I wasn't afraid of them and as time goes on the fear is getting worse. My son is four and I'm finding I can't do certain things he wants to do because of this fear. I knew I had to get help when my son was about to fall in the pool and I couldn't go get him because I would have had to walk in the grass and I didn't have shoes on. I couldn't jump in the pool because I did not check it for worms. I very rarely go out at night because Once a couple of years ago before I had my son I came home late one night and I couldn't bring myself to get out of my car for fear I would step on a worm. I spent the night in my car. How can I be helped? My family makes fun of me because they don't see why I am so afraid. I can't even tell them why. All I know is when I see a worm I find it very hard to breathe. Please let me know what I can do. This fear is only getting worse and I do not want to transpose this fear on my son. Thank you, Sally." Hello Sally, It is wise of you to be concerned about how your son might react. Children of phobics are much more likely to have a phobia than the general population. While some feel that this is because of genetic reasons I have not found this to be the case. I think it's good to think about what kind of lesson he'd learn from you overcoming your fear. Feel free to call, email or download my book to learn more about how you can be helped. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

"Hello, My fiance & I are marrying soon. He is terrified of flying. He is worried that he won't be able to get on the plane and is sure he will die on it. This will obviously spoil the wedding day if he has this on his mind. The doctor prescribed diazepan which he just tried just to see the effects. While it has relaxed him a little, he is more frightened than ever that it didn't work. Is there a drug you can recommend? I realize this is not a long term solution but he is not a believer in self-help etc and time is short. Please help. Thanks.

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Ms Akins" Dear Ms. Akins Congratulation on your upcoming marriage. I am not a doctor and do not advocate drugs. If you wish to pursue this avenue please consult with your physician. Good luck, Keith Livingston

"I have been extremely afraid of birds ALL MY LIFE! I can't walk down the street if I see one, get out of my car if they are around and I once left my daughter and ran across the street because a bird flew near me! I have to cure this. A few years back, I went on a holiday and had a rotten time because of the birds - they were everywhere - and of course most restaurants did not have glass on the windows so eating out was impossible. I believe this fear started when I was very small (2 or 3). A bird flew into our front window. My mom picked it up and brought it inside. Of course once the bird was inside, it panicked and "flapped" around and kinda "pecked" at me. I remember it thoroughly - the screaming and chaos - it was horrible. I have tried (unsuccessfully) different types of therapy - hypnosis, doctors - I tried to imagine if that was my own child who was "pecked" at and what I would do, I've tried imagining birds as cartoons - it just doesn't work! I know this fear is real - I almost get sick when I see one - very sweaty and very agitated. This is my only fear - I could squish a spider with my bare hands if I had to or climb a ladder to the moon! Do you have any suggestions! I would love to cure this once and for all Thank you in advance, I look forward to hearing from you! Henrietta" Hello Henrietta, Thanks for writing. I deal with many people who have tried doctors, counselors, psychiatrists and several who have tried hypnotherapy. Most doctors don't have much in their toolbox as far as phobias go. The main medical approaches to conditions are either drugs or surgery. For some people the drugs don't work - and they aren't a

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great long-term solution. Thankfully there are no treatments for phobias involving surgery (that I know about). Though I don't usually use hypnosis for phobias I'm a hypnotherapist myself and have used hypnotherapy to eradicate phobias, so I know it works. Just like any other profession you have highly skilled hypnotherapists and those who have limited tools in their toolbox. Feel free to call me and we can talk about whether what I do would be appropriate in your case. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

"I have social phobia I have over the past 20 years tried several different therapists, but it has all been a total waste. I have been on different combinations of zoloft and effexor now. (anxiety treatment drugs.) Nothing has worked yet. I hope you can help." Most therapists are not familiar with the methods I use. Feel free to call and discuss it. Keith Livingston

I have had my fear of spiders for forty years. There is no way you can get rid of it so simply. I know you are some kind of fraud. You are bilking people out of their hard-earned money, you should be ashamed of yourself. Diane. Hello Diane, Thanks for writing. It doesn't matter how many testimonials I put up on my site or what kind of guarantee I produce there are some people who just won't believe that it is possible. At one point I even offered to teach people the methods I use via phone and included a guarantee that they wouldn't have to pay unless their phobia was cured. I didn't even ask for a credit card number until they themselves admitted a complete and total cure. You know what? People still thought I was a scam artist. They'd ask me questions such as; "Is this some sort of 976 toll number I'm calling?" On top of that, some people who admitted that their phobia was gone wouldn't pay me! I
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finally decided to quit spending my time arguing with people and start spending more time with people who were interested in actually using the methods I teach. I understand that you don't believe me or believe in what I do. I encourage you to use my book to gather some information on other techniques - perhaps you can find some help there. You might even find a treatment difficult and timeconsuming enough for your tastes. Whatever you do I would suggest doing something different. What you have been doing for the past 40 years has not been working very well. Good luck, Keith Livingston

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Case Histories
These are stories of my interaction with real people who have had to deal with phobias. It is rewarding work. This book is dedicated to them and written with the idea of providing hope to others who suffer similarly. The names and some identifying details of some of the case histories have been changed to protect the identities of these good people. These folks were all treated successfully using NLP techniques found in this book. I have found phobics to be intelligent folks who have often bravely fought down their fear in a phobic situation. Many of the people who come to me for help have tried drug therapy and less often counseling and found it to not be effective in their particular case. They kept trying. I thank them for what they have taught me about bravery, perseverance and the possibilities of the human imagination... Ever onward, Keith Livingston

If youve seen my video, A Single Session Phobia Cure you've met Kristine. I met Kristine at a seminar the weekend before I filmed her session (June 2001). I spoke with her for a few minutes and learned she suffered from a phobia of snakes. She said she would like to overcome her fear. Since I was looking to film an actual phobia session I asked if she would be willing. She consented to having her session filmed. Kristine had suffered a 20 year phobia of snakes. She is a kind person, one who likes living things and it was out of character for her to loathe one of God's creatures so thoroughly. She even felt some remorse at the fact she hated them. Her fear interfered with things she enjoyed such as gardening and being outdoors. On the video we visit a pet store. Kristine begins to feel symptoms (rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, stomach sensations, sweaty palms) even before we get through the door. In the video, you can see that Kristine is unable to approach an aquarium that contains some small snakes. As soon as she sees a snake move (from 20 feet away) she "freaks out" and begins backing rapidly out of the store. After witnessing her initial reaction, we went back to my office and started to work.
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As we talked, Kristine remembered a couple of incidents from her youth that involved snakes. At one point she was in a swimming pool that had a lip on it. Some snakes happened to be in the pool and were swimming in circles trying to escape (they were as afraid of her as she was of them). To her, it seemed as if the snakes were circling her. Her grandfather helped her get out of the pool. The second incident involved her parents telling her what to do in case she saw a snake. She was supposed to protect her younger sister. When she did see a snake, she froze. I felt like we had the "root causes" of Kristine's problem in those two memories. Often, one or two emotionally charged, related events lead to phobias. We took the memories and ran them through the NLP fast phobia procedure. Kristine felt some relief. Somewhere in the process I figured out that Kristine carried an image of a snake, ready to strike, in her mind's eye. I could tell because her eyes kept going to the same spot whenever she talked about snakes. I don't know if this image was a "snapshot" from a memory she'd had or one she just created internally. Whenever she thought about or saw a snake, this image would come to mind. This image was helping her drive the fear. We took this image and used a visual swish pattern on it. Kristine felt immediate relief. At this point, I felt it would be useful to test how far we'd progressed. We made some distinctions about her personal safety. Obviously, it's not safe to hold a poisonous snake, she didn't want to hang out with poisonous snakes - just to be in control of her mind enough to react with intelligence. I asked Kristine to imagine she was holding a (non-poisonous) snake in her hands. She said "It still feels 'yucky.'" I thought that was an interesting choice of words. Before this point she had been talking about her feelings in terms of fear - now it was more disgusting to her. I pointed this out and asked her if this was different than the fear she was feeling earlier. She said basically that the fear was either gone or reduced but she'd been feeling this yucky feeling along with the fear. This sometimes happens. Fear may not be the only negative emotion attached to something. Kristine apparently had fear and a "yucky" feeling attached to snakes. I had her get into the feeling and describe it to me in detail. We then used the affect bridge technique to locate the source of that feeling. The affect bridge is a
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useful way to locate lost memories that are the root cause of feelings. She remembered holding a caterpillar in her hands as a child and being disgusted and the way it moved (all squirmy). OK, it's easy to see how that connected up with snakes. The common thread was the undulating motion. I asked Kristine how she would like to feel when she was around snakes. This question usually gets me a blank stare. "What do you mean, how would I like to feel," people ask. "Snakes freak me out!" After a few more explanations, they get the idea. If you could wave a magic wand a feel however you wanted, how would you like to feel in the situation that caused your phobia? For Kristine the answer was awe, calm and a few other positive emotions. I anchored those positive emotions and did an anchor collapse. I had her feel the positive emotions while imagining holding the caterpillar until the old feelings shifted for her. I spent about 40 minutes working with Kristine in my office. Kristine was a nearly ideal client. She did everything I asked of her whole-heartedly. At the end of the session we went back to the pet store - she held and petted a baby python (or a boa constrictor - I never can remember). She reported to me that she felt awe and calmness when she held the snake. I spoke to Kristine toward the end of 2002. She's still fine with snakes. She reports she's seen 3 or so snakes out in the garden. She even saved one that was injured!

Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Fear of Doctors Hospitals, Death and Being Alone
Every once in a while, I run into someone who really needs my help and can't afford to pay me. Ashok (his name has been changed at his request) was one such person. Ashok lives in India and his multiple phobias were ruining his life. He had no credit card and no access to a bank account but he wanted help very badly. Things did not go smoothly with Ashok. There were lots of ups and downs. I think it's important to give people a true picture - not everybody gets over their phobia in 15 minutes! Ashok is an example of what you can do on your own, if you keep working at it, even with the most severe and pervasive phobias. I would like to point out that there were many times when he could have quit and decided it wasn't working for him - but he kept at it. He is very grateful to me but all I did
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was write a book. Ashok did all the work. I am grateful to him for showing me that even people with multiple phobias could make great progress on their own. I think his emails tell the story better than I could. I have included my responses and comments where they shed light on the situation. For the most part, I responded to each of his emails in basically the same way. I told Ashok to notice what thoughts immediately preceded the negative feelings and deal with those thoughts using one of the techniques in the book. Here's his first email to me... "Dear Keith, The information you provided on the net and the part one of your e - book are really interesting. I stay in India and am eager to make use of your techniques but I dont have a credit card. Is there any way you can bill me Please ! I am very very interested. Dont disappoint me by saysing no. I know there has to be a way I can get myself rid of Fear ! Do try and help.....God Bless You. Ashok" It took us quite a while to get him his book and password, here's what happened when we did...

"Dear Keith, May God Shower his choicest Blessingson you ! Thank you so much for the password. I ran home to read the book after I checked from my office that you sent me the password ! Keith , I will start applying the methods to all my fears ( I have many of them....doctors hospitals, death,being alone ....the list kept growing ...I guess I may have agoraphobia !....Heaven knows...) I am exteremely happy ....I am sure you are a great Spiritual person inside and want to genuinely want to help people.... I admire you ....Thank you so much ! May I be in touch with you ? for any clearification if reqd ? I shall mail again only with your permission ! Thank you once again....God Bless.....Ashok. You're welcome Ashok,
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You may certainly email me if you need any clarification (I'll be out of town starting tomorrow for a couple of weeks). Good luck! Keith Livingston

Dear Keith, Thanks a Million ! I have tried the fast Phobia Cure on some of my phobias....I am yet to test them out...in real life situations.....How should I treat my fear of being alone ? I have had many sad/bad experiences when i was alone so i guess my mind/brain now associates being alone to Fear and I ( used to ) get full Panic Attacks.....I dont stay alone now so much so I am Safe but with a very Limiting life style ! I am happy there is way out and I will try the methods you have suggested but is there any particular order / method for agoraphobia ? Please reply only when you have time ! Thank you and God Bless You ! Ashok Hi Ashok, Treat your fear of being alone just the same as the other fears. Find a safe way to test things out. Maybe you could arrange to be alone for just a few minutes. When you are and get any anxiety about it, explore what images or sounds coincide or precede the feelings. Use the visual or auditory swish on those images or sounds. I would use a lot of future pacing with agor. but try different things and find out what works best for you! There is no particular order though you might follow the suggestions in the overview section. Keith

Dear Keith, I was on a drive alone and went shoping just for a few minutes...and I did expect to panic and run away...but it dint happen .... I felt overjoyed .... I have often felt this way and then it all seems to be comming back ! I hope it just dosent recur ! I fear it will ...then I feel weak and tired ....The benefit though is that I have changed my attitudes towards life....I can see a great change in the days to come
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....Thanks again and God Bless You and your family.... Help the world and it will alll come back to you...Thanks again....I am out of station but i shall keep in touch ! Deep regards....Ashok Hi Ashok, Thanks for the update. Congratulations on a job well done. If it does recur you now have some powerful tools to deal with it. Good luck in the future! Keith Livingston

Dear Keith, Greetings ! and a Very happy Deepawali ! I am back from my trip with family .... and I met my brother in (information deleted) with whose help I would like to pay for the book you were so kind to give me.... Please send me your bank account no and Bank name with address with your full name and mailing address so i can try to get the payment thru .... Thank you Keith God Bless you I am doing better ....often i fail .....but I know one day I shall be FREE ! Ashok

Dear Keith, Namaste and Greetings to you from India . You will be shortly receiving a DD for 40 USD ( approx. ) from my brother in (edited out). His name is (edited out). Please accept this is as payment for the Book on Phobias. In the meant time I am daring ( I hope not intruding ) to ask you a few questions that are bothering me So Keith Please answer my questions. I trust you to give me good advice. 1. Keith since I have been doing the techniquess taught in your bookmy condition has gradually worsened !!! Surprisingly!!! I am going thru the same negative patterns ( sweting, fast pulse, muscle tension, head heaviness ,panicky
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even in normal situations , feelings like whats going to happen to me ?? At times the patterns seem to be in control. I think I have sort of stirred a hornets nest in my subconscious mind.I am fighting every negative image with the SWISH patterns but kind of get nervous at times . What do you think I should be doing now ? 2. Looking at it objectively, do you think I could have reinforced the old patterns? Or, arethey on their way out ? Please advice me. 3. On the whole I manage to smile and laugh (with effort) !!! Please answer my questions as soon as Possible God Bless You, Ashok Hi Ashok, Good to hear from you again. I have never heard of these techniques worsening a phobia. Remember, the object is not to force yourself through a tough situation but to get yourself comfortable in a situation. Whenever you feel some discomfort about facing your fear stop - take a step backward from the situation and explore what your thoughts were immediately before you felt the fear. Then take care of those thoughts via one of the techniques in the book. Tell your subconscious mind that you're not going to do anything dramatic or unsafe, you're going to help it make better decisions about what is safe. Tell your subconscious mind that you're going to give it some information and it can decide whether or not to be afraid. On other words, this is not about forcing your subconscious to behave a certain way or pushing feelings down, it's about teaching and explaining to the subconscious. Another thing to do is to ask yourself if there is any benefit from having the phobia. What is it that you don't want to do that you would have to do if you didn't have the phobia? What do you do now that you wouldn't get to do if you got rid of the phobia? Sometimes the subconscious mind makes decisions based on ideas which are not logical to our conscious mind. No one would consciously choose to have a phobia but the subconscious mind may have its reasons. If you find some subconscious reason for having the fear, you'll have to deal with that issue too. Just ask yourself "What is the reason for holding on to this fear," and pay attention to any images, sounds or feelings that come into your awareness.

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It is unlikely that you have reinforced old patterns. On the other hand, if your symptoms are not getting better then you haven't found the root cause of your problem yet. Ashok, What I would suggest at this point is to work slowly and carefully. Communicate with your subconscious mind an a respectful way. If you try something and feel worse as a result, send me another email and explain exactly what happened. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

Dear Keith, 1. I am really glad you replied. You mail have been really very educative. From your mail I learned the following I cannot reinforce a phobia by the methods used. I must communicate with my subconscious in a respectful manner ( I have been actually tearing it apart ) When situation worsens I must NOT rough it out ( I do it all the time and fail and end up depressed as a failure then have to take medication ) I must find the root cause: The images that come to my mind are the ones I have done fast phobia cures on and the images and sound I have used the swish patterns. I am now increasingly doing Future Pacing (My question : when and how should it be done?) I must ask myself what it is I get from holding on to the phobia ( answer at first thought is : Security )( Could that mean I am afraid of independent responsibility? If yes could future pacing be used here?) I must work slowly and carefully and that means that there is no failure every Panic attack is an attempt at getting better. So I must Hasten Slowly. 2. Question: My close associates tell me that I react to most situations in an emotional manner; like getting upset on someones passing remarks or not talking to a person avoiding him if I feel I dont like him. Or if its a tough situations like death feeling depressed paniky etc. How should I become Unemotional or Logical? 3. Question : I am a (occupation deleted) and for the last 3-4 years have been (personal information deleted) They report that I am a very good (occupation deleted) and speak excellently (information deleted). For some I am an ideal ironically. Yet in front of audiences I shudder .I never speak !!! I panic !!! How is that inspite of being a confident speaker in (information deleted) of 35 to 40
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people for so long my fears come back? ( I have not gone to (information deleted) for 15 days!) 4. (number 4 deleted) Do please reply as soon as you get the time .I apologise that my mails are geeting longer Its after long I met a person who can understand my problems. Good Luck and God Bless Ashok Ashok, There is no hard and fast rule about when to do future pacing. Do it as many times as it benefits you. If security is an issue for you, make sure your future paces include security. In other words, send a message to your subconscious that you will respect its wishes for security and when you future pace make sure you add the element of security into your scenarios. There's no need to become unemotional or logical. If you are having an emotional response that you don't want simply explore the images and sounds in your mind immediately before you experience the negative emotion. When you find the thoughts that are creating the emotion, simply swish them to thoughts that have you feeling more the way you want to feel. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

Dear Keith, Here is some Important Feedback that I thought Id give you, which you may find useful in helping others face their problem of agoraphobia: 1. Though Phobias are learnt in an instant ( I agree ) Agoraphobia is not just learnt in an instant. It is a series of instances and those who are in the process may not know that they are in the end going to end up as agoraphobics ( as in my case ). Hence for Agoraphobia may be the cure may not be dramatic but slowly and steadily after the constant application of the techs described one may actually be free. 2. Compare it to a sort of Incremental wave pattern and a drecremental wave pattern.

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3. Solving an Agoraphobia problem may be a bigger challenge as it requires more determination and continuous practice with techniques. 4. The Key is to understand that one is suffering and tackle the situation in the best manner possible. Increasingly the situations will seem to be less problematic. 5. Just like the sun rises and darkness is dispelled so also the more the techs are practiced the comfort level will rise ( you dont have to push yourself!!! ) 6. My Pick: a. If you can identify a Trigger event ( a phobic situation ) do the Fast Phobia Cure. ( It will cause a dent !!! guaranteed ) b. If every normal event causes and root causes are not known do the Visual Swish ( do it frequently and on all images that came to mind ) c. In case the trigger is a sound the audio swish will help. ( but as before just keep doing it again and again) d. For a more balanced and healthy life in the future just do Future Pacing. Until it gets ingrained in your subconscious mind. e. Dont rush it up; its a task; give yourself time and be your own friend. Dont fight or get angry on the results just let go and stop evaluating and pitying yourself. God Bless You Ashok I thought it was important to include this feedback here. Keep in mind that each person is a unique individual. The combination of these tools that work best for one person may not be the same combination that works best for another. In my experience, you don't need to keep doing swish patterns over and over - a few times in enough. For Ashok, that was not the case...

Dear Keith Thank you so much. I am now able to go out of house with a relative and alone for some time, however I feel sort of tightening muscles at the back of my neck and I feel faint, even so much that I feel acidic at times.... i am completely off medications except mild antacids...and though it is still a problem I am much more fearless than before. I have developed a sort of faith that I shall soon be OK. Question: Apart from images and sounds sometimes there are only feelings - no images no sound - a perfect blank state of mind - and fear feelings!! Does Swish Pattern work for feelings too ??? if so how ???
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Thanks and God Bless.... Ashok Hello Ashok, You can do what is called a kinesthetic swish. You start off by becoming aware of as many of the qualities of the negative feelings as you can. The location of the feelings in your body, the temperature, whether they move or are stationary etc. Then, shake that feeling off and think about a powerful positive feeling you'd like to have. Step into a time when you've had that feeling and get as much information about that feeling as you can. Where do you feel it in your body, does it move etc. Note the differences between the two sets of feelings. Let's say that the negative feeling is a cold, tense, moving feeling in your stomach and the positive feeling is a warm, open solid feeling in your chest. Start with the negative feeling and warm it up. Then make it still. Then move it up to your chest. Then make it feel more open. After you've changed the negative feeling to a positive one distract yourself for a moment (think about something else). Then start with the negative feeling and move to the positive feeling again. It usually takes a few minutes the first time you do it then it gets faster as you practice it. What you are doing is creating a strategy inside so that whenever you start to feel the bad feeling, it automatically "swishes" to the more positive feeling. It sounds like you are doing well and are continuing to make progress. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

Dear Keith, Hi, It feels just great !!! I am better Thanks to you. I feel much much better though I have lingering feelings of lack of Confidence. But when I do get out of the house I can with some degree of freedom and within a limited reach. I I now can see flashes of the swished image ( new ) on its own. I am aware of my thinking process. I even do swishes in my sleep on disturbing images. I want to tel the world that you speak the truth !!!

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Keith please advice me further ! How do I get rid of the feeling of " will it happen again " Often when I am strained or tired or not feeling well these feelings are greatest. How do I tackle them?? Thanks Keith God Bless You. Ashok Hello Ashok, The feeling of "will it happen again" is driven by images or sounds (just like a fear). Figure out what image or sound you are making inside your mind that drives the feeling of "will it happen again." Use a swish pattern to get rid of it! I hope that helps. Keith P.S. May I use your email as a testimonial?

Dear Keith, Thanks, Yes you may use my mails as testimonials for sure only keep me anonymous ( I hope you understand !!!) Good Wishes and Luck, A Grateful Friend... Ashok Thanks Ashok, Of course I will keep you anonymous. Keep up the good work! Keith

Dear Keith,

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Hi again ! I am doing well. Better and Better. I can now stay out of the house at Safe places and often with safe people for hours....and I have returned to a more or less normal life.... I have a question.... I often feel stressed out during the day and feel sick often even if it may be a sniffy cold or something .... Every physical discomfort puts me in the feeling of "I could be better at home resting" - not the panic run away sort of thing but just to rest....and I feel dizzy when stressed ( i still dont run away ) what should I do there are no images now. ( I find the kinesthetic swish diff to do ) Also .....I have been doing only the image swish - it works best - do I need to do anything more ? Please find time to answer me. God Bless You... Ashok Good work! Try an anchor collapse with those feelings. Another alternative might be an auditory swish for internal dialog. Especially if you are actually saying to yourself "I could be better at home resting." Thirdly you could use the affect bridge to follow those feelings back to their source and then use the fast phobia cure on the original incident. The techniques work differently for different people. Some find that one technique works best and stay with it. The way to judge whether or not you need to do anything more is by how you feel. I'm glad to hear you are doing well. Sincerely, Keith

Dear Keith, Greetings! and Joy for the year 2003. I am happy to write to you as I am doing quite well nowmuch better than the time I called you the first time. I am however writing to you as I have some selected problems than I am unable to deal with effectively.

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1. I often suffer from sinus problems/breathing difficulties etc ( since childhood ) but now whenever I have a cold my pulse rate speeds up and I get scared at times that I may repeat my panic history. I have done a root cause and found that once I had a panic attack when I was alone in a cab in Bombay and was suffering from a sever cold and since then I fear traveling alone. I repeatedly went to Bombay alone each time my fear became stronger until now I dont go very far from home alone. The memory is faint and I have done a Fast Phobia cure many times But I simply cant reduce the level of anxiety I feel when I have a cold. 2. Given the condition above ( racing pulse, hyperventilation and high anxiety level) my level of work stress also goes up, I get tense on job if I am not well. On one such occasion in the past I had to go to hospital to see my uncle and he passed away with a heart attack I got a Panic attack Result I fear death and hospitals ! ( I always had a slight fear of doctors and hospitals and now it went worse ) I feel highly stressed when there is a medical emergency.

All these factors sort of compounded in to agor. (heavens!) What picture do I swish to ? I dont have many strong fearless memories! Dear keith, with your help I am way better but I still feel more comfortable with a relative even when on job (the safety factor). Please reply as and when you feel comfortable. Thanking you for your kind help. God Bless you, Ashok Hi Ashok, Good to hear from you! In that case, you need to explore what thoughts are creating the fear. This fear probably goes something like this... 1) Have a physical sensation (such as difficulty breathing, stuffed nose etc.) 2) Have a thought about it (the thought is probably almost instantaneous and at this point, you're probably not aware of it) 3) Have the fear It is the thought that drives the fear and if you can slow your thinking down enough to discover what the thought is, you can do a swish pattern on it. If it's an image, do a visual swish, for a sound - an auditory swish.
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Yes, in times of stress things get worse. There are times when stress in response to a medical emergency might be a good thing. The fight or flight response is there for a reason. Adrenaline, blood flow changes etc. get your body ready for emergencies. If it's a situation where those things don't help, run the techniques you've learned on it. Future pace how you'd like to react in various mental situations. All these factors ARE agoraphobia. What do you swish to? It doesn't have to be a memory where you're not afraid in the face of danger. It could be a memory where you're relaxing wonderfully or when you found something funny. You can also use the future pacing technique to create an image that gives you good feelings. Think of someone you admire acting in a way you would like to act. Then step into that image, feel the feelings and pull some images from that experience. I hope this helps Ashok, keep working at it, you will get better and better. Keith

Dear Keith, Thanks a million for your advice. Yes you are right the thoughts associated with physical sensations are too fast for me to stop them and analyse them. Also at times I jerk out of sleep with racing pulse and sweting as if jolted from an unknown subconscious situation. I often dont know what it was. But that feeling of panic often remains at the back of my mind the whole day. For Now I do NLP ( swish ) even in the night on waking up. I am able to sometimes track the jerking thought at the source but it just does not make sense they are strange and Bizzare dreams !!! So how should I tackle these? Do you have people getting such kind of problems? Please reply at your convenience. I am always benefited by your replies and I even read and reread your mails to give me a better insight. Also my daughter is 5 yrs and she fears masked people at parties Can I teach her NLP at this age ? Thanks in advance..God Bless you.

Ashok Hello Ashok,

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Yes, your daughter can benefit from NLP at her age. Kids love it and have great imaginations. It doesn't matter if the thoughts you are having make sense. The subconscious mind doesn't operate with the same logic and the conscious mind. You can use the techniques on thoughts whether or not they make sense. As for the feelings of panic, when you have them, trace them back to the source using the affect bridge technique and run the fast phobia cure on that experience. Sincerely, Keith

Dear Keith,

Hope all is well. Its been long since I wrote to you. I thought Id just mail and let you know how I am doing. Also its always been a pleasure to receive your valuable words of advice and encouragement.

First of all a list of my achievements in the last 2 to 3 months!!! I have not taken even a single tablet of alprazolam !!! I gave a short welcome speech in front of 500 students in the auditorium. I gave a thank you speech when me and my wife were awarded the (information deleted) Award for the year 2002-2003 in my daughters (information deleted) program. I am more peaceful in waking life and sleep better at night. Now here is where I still have problems I have a great fear of Death !!! I am unable to attend Death Ceremonies !!! ( sad ! _ I have done fast Phobia cure on all death experiences and the sting is out but I cant get my self to attend to a death ceremony of people I know coz of fear I will get a spin in my head !!! or I will run away!!! I dont still travel alone.I always travel only very short distances alone .and long distances with my wife. I have problems going to the barber for a hair cut !!! I cant stand being imprisoned in the chair for 30 mins or lesser !!! ( Funny !!!)
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I dont go to houses of people I dont know as I feel I will feel uncomfortable!!! Dear Keith I have lots to thank you for.. I am confident that even these things will soon be a matter of the past but I guess I am not doing something right or these too should have vanished !!! Residual anxiety traces etc are now my target. I never knew how many phobias I picked up in my life but I am grateful to you for having been my guide. In case you have some feedback to give me or the experience in NLP in similar cases do mail me. I feel greatly relieved talking to you as I know you understand Warm Regards, Ashok You can see by his list of accomplishments that Ashok had made tremendous progress. Ashok could keep hammering away with the NLP techniques and may be able to take care of his remaining fears. We'd got a lot accomplished and Ashok has a set of tools he can use to better his life in many ways. I thought it was time to give him access to some new tools and techniques. Here's my reply. Hello Ashok, Sorry it took me so long to reply. Congratulations on your successes. As to the things you haven't been able to take care of yet, my answers are almost always the same. Become more aware of your thoughts and deal with those thoughts using one of the techniques in the book. You might try the whole lot of them on the residual anxiety you have. I'll give you another resource to go to as well. Rather than explain it. I'll just give you a link. It's something you can do yourself, let me know what kind of results you get. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

Gerry - Fear of Public Speaking

Gerry is a good natured, very intelligent man who had a fear of public speaking. I was teaching a seminar in Arizona and someone mentioned to me that Gerry had this fear. After I explained the fast phobia cure I asked for volunteers. I stared at Gerry, knowing he had this phobia. He didn't want to come up but enough coaxing from the class got him out of his seat. It wasn't until he was on his way
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up that I realized I was just about to attempt to cure a fear of public speaking in front of a crowd! When Gerry neared the front of the room I asked him to face away from the audience. I asked him how he felt and he said he was OK facing away. Then I asked him to close his eyes and face the audience - he was OK with that too. I turned him away from the audience again. Then using an NLP technique called anchoring I helped him get some good feelings in his body. I turned him around and had him open his eyes and he felt a fairly strong tension. We stepped back and "looked at the Gerry standing there in front of the audience being uncomfortable" while I used the good feelings anchor I'd established earlier. Gerry felt fine in that position. What he didn't realize at this point was that he was already in front of a crowd feeling OK! Just feeling OK isn't good enough for me so we used another technique designed to build a mental role model and create the same emotional and mental state that your role model has when speaking. After we stepped him in to his role model he felt pretty good up in front of the group. He even made a little impromptu speech! Sean Stephenson from Elevation Magazine was in the audience and interviewed me about my work. Here's part of what he had to say. "You turned public speaking from a fear to a calm feeling inside them. And it was absolutely incredible to see..." Sean Stephenson Connect to the internet and go to http://www.phobiascured.com/audio.htm to hear the rest of the interview. Visit Sean's inspirational web site. http://www.seanstephenson.com/

Tom was a gentleman who was so afraid of heights that he once fainted just from standing out on a balcony. His symptoms were typical, sweating, rapid breathing, shaking, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat etc. We talked, he said that he would consider treatment effective if he could go into a certain building at his school and look out of the window without fear, have dinner in a revolving restaurant many stories high and feel comfortable on a cruise he was soon to take (those ships sit very high out of the water). My first phone session with Tom was not that easy, we had a language barrier and it took several tries before he sufficiently understood what I was saying. Here is what he reported after his first session...
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"hi keith i went to the post graduate school and went to the top balcony were i was before with almost no anciety ,i climbed to the top balcony which is about 40 more feet up and i didnt open the door ,but i looked out trough the window , and i just could not believe that i made it to the top, i did feel some anciety, so i went to the bottom floor and i proceded to do it alover again and it felt a lot better , when i left in my car tears started because i felt relieved because i made it to the top even with anciety and so grateful to you, i feel that i am a least 50% cured i will call you at 3.30 on monday.bye tom" Tom felt he needed some additional work He had misunderstood some of the instructions I'd given him but it seemed to work just the same! We worked on the residual fear and straightened out the instructions and went over some additional situations in his past that he felt might have played a role in the formation of his phobia. Here is an email he sent after the second session. "hi ,again i just came back from the post graduate school and i went straight to the top but the balcony door was locked , so i went to this other lower balcony and i used the method of looking at my feet and that realy works great, every thing today was a breeze compaired to the last time, i will let you know how the cruise went, thanks again tom" We had a third session - a short one, I don't recall much about it. Tom went on the cruise and reported that he felt fine. Another one for the good guys!

Sometimes I feel like Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark; "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?" When teaching a seminar in Belize, I asked for volunteers from the audience who had a phobia. Bill volunteered. Bill had a longtime phobia of snakes. It seems that whenever I film, somebody with a snake phobia volunteers! Truthfully, Bill's fear of snakes was long-standing but not severe. His most noticeable symptom (besides fear) was a tingling feeling in his hands. Tingling or numbness in the hands or arms is a symptom I've run across many times when working with phobias but it is rarely mentioned in psychology textbooks. Bill and I worked for about 1/2 hour in front of the group. We found a couple of incidents in his life (using the affect bridge technique) related to snakes. We ran them through the NLP fast phobia cure. I was ready to test our work. No snake was willing to cooperate however. I asked one of the staff at the resort to catch me a non-poisonous snake (thanks Gonzo)! Within a couple of days we had our test. The snake, wanting to prove to Bill that he was cured, escaped and made us chase him. Much swearing ensued. This particular conference was being held in a sort of hut with a sand floor. The snake crawled behind an old soft-drink machine and made himself hard to reach.
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Gonzo had told me that the snake was not poisonous, so I reached behind the machine and grabbed him behind the head. I brought him out to see how Bill would react. You can see the results on my tape The Phobia Cure Video but I'll let you in on a secret. Bill was able to hold the snake and felt perfectly fine. Believe it or not, the snake then relieved himself on us. When I was training for this work nobody warned me about having to deal with snake poop! Later on, I found out that only 9 of the 54 varieties of snakes in Belize are dangerous. The Phobia Cure Video is of me teaching the phobia cure techniques to therapists and others, and is proof that it does not take 10 to 20 weeks to see a significant improvement in phobia treatment. Most of the folks attending paid several thousand dollars to be there. You can learn the same techniques I used to help Bill in this book...

Recently (December of 2002) I was asked to appear on a national television show (with over 2 million viewers). As I was sitting in my dressing room waiting to go on I started to get nervous. I began to think about all the people watching and about what could go wrong. My breathing sped up and I started to sweat as my inner dialog descended into a swirling cacophony of "what ifs?" I knew I had to do something to change my state of mind. I had been asked to appear as an expert on phobias. How would it appear if a phobia expert was nervous? One of the most common mistakes people make is to focus on what might go wrong. While there are times when it's good to consider possible roadblocks and dangers; when you're about to do something it's best to focus on what you want to happen. Do this little experiment to find out how important it is... 1) Stand about 1 foot from a bare wall, facing away from it. 2) Put your feet together and tilt your head back until you are looking straight up at the ceiling. 3) Close you eyes and begin concentrating on the thought of falling over backward. Make images in your mind's eye of falling backward and silently repeat "I'm falling backward" over and over. Imagine the sensations of falling over backward. If you can concentrate on this idea strongly enough, you'll find yourself beginning to fall backward! You see, the mind begins to carry out the things you imagine. So what happens if you concentrate on all the things that could start to go wrong? I think you get the point. Many phobias include this element, this fear of

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having the fear. Agoraphobics, for instance, often imagine themselves outside of their comfort zone, having a panic attack. I was making the same mistake. I wanted to focus my mind on what I wanted to happen - not what might go wrong. I wanted to use a powerful technique to make that focus and concentration even more powerful. Since I only had a few minutes I knew it had to be quick! I began to think about what mental and emotional states would help me be my best in this situation. The phrase "wonderfully calm, wonderfully confident, wonderfully effective" sprang to mind. Even before I started the technique my state began to improve (I had already begun focusing on what I wanted.) Since I've used this technique (a form of Future Pacing from this book) a number of times and am quite familiar with the steps I went through it very quickly. I then started repeating my "mantra" over and over to myself. I also began to visualize what I looked like when I was calm, confident and effective. At first I "saw myself" being calm, confident and effective. It was as if I was watching myself from a distance. I noticed how I looked, felt and sounded when in those modes. I noticed my posture and breathing when calm, confident and effective. Then I mentally "stepped in" to that image and took on the posture, breathing and internal sensations. Then I imagined myself going through the show feeling those positive sensations. The nervousness I had felt transformed to excitement. I was ready to go! Within a couple of minutes I was sitting down in front of the cameras ready to roll. It's a good thing I had decided to prepare myself because I was thrown several curve balls during the show. The most daunting task was them giving me 10 minutes to work with a woman (Rachel) who had a phobia of snakes so severe that she couldn't even watch TV for fear that she would see a snake by accident. She couldn't eat pasta because it was shaped like a snake! As we headed backstage to do the work my mind was focused on the task at hand. I knew that more than 2 million people were waiting to see what I could do. I knew that 10 minutes wasn't enough (even the NLP fast phobia cure takes about 15 minutes.) The American Psychiatric Association says you can expect "noticeable improvement in 10 to 20 weeks and a tremendous improvement within one year" in the treatment of phobias. I had 10 minutes. But inside I was saying "wonderfully calm, wonderfully confident, wonderfully effective" and focusing on the task at hand. Each time I ran in to a potential problem my voice came back to me; "wonderfully calm, wonderfully confident, wonderfully effective."

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But enough about me. Let's talk about Rachel. As I watched Rachel talk to the host of the show, I could see her react when he mentioned the word "snakes." She would hear the word, her eyes would shift to a particular location just before she would shudder with fear. I guessed she had an image of a snake in her mind's eye and that she was looking at it. Whenever she looked at it, she would feel fear. This may sound kind of odd but we all do it. People's eyes move around when they are talking, listening or thinking. One of the reasons the eyes move is to access different sounds, images or feelings stored in the memory or imagination. Since Rachel was consistently looking in the same place each time before she shuddered, I was reasonably confident she had an image of a snake there. This type of image is usually outside of conscious awareness. In other words, Rachel would not be aware she was making the image unless I called her attention to it. As the show went to break the host announced that I would go backstage to work with Rachel. As Rachel and I headed backstage, I introduced myself and apologized for not having the time to get to know her. I commented that we only had a few minutes so we'd have to move fast. We went back to my dressing room and I sat her down. I pointed to the direction that she had been looking in just before she shuddered. I said "you have an image of a snake there, don't you?" She started to get tears in her eyes and said "yes." It was a lucky break for me! I had guessed accurately. We then did what is called a "rubber-band" visual swish pattern (You'll learn the visual swish pattern in the NLP techniques section of the book). Rachel's eyes started to water even more. I asked her what was going on and she said that she had felt immediate relief "like a big weight came off my shoulders." We did a bit more work with the disturbing image as it was not completely gone. I started to do an anchor collapse (another NLP technique in this book) when one of the show's producers knocked on the door and told us we were due back onstage. I told the producer we needed another 30 seconds, I could hear her relay the information back to the stage through her headset. Within about 20 seconds we had done the anchor collapse (Rachel was an ideal client) and her relief was obvious. We went back out under the cameras and a live snake was brought out. Rachel didn't want to touch it but was comfortable being a few feet away from it. That's about the average person's reaction to snakes and a far cry from her reaction ten minutes earlier.

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I interviewed Rachel after the show, in her words her phobia was "98% better." Pretty good for ten minutes.

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These are all comments from people who have experienced or seen NLP phobia relief methods in action.

"Dear Keith, The talks (2of them) went smashingly. I got rave comments and felt totally calm and in control at every moment. I was a bit dubious that something so easy and simple could really work that fast---after all, we only had one 40 minute phone session together yesterday---but something sure clicked. Thanks so very much. Always Here, Walt"

"I saw an individual once, in once of your sessions, where you turned public speaking from a fear to a calm feeling inside them. And it was absolutely incredible to see..." Sean Stephenson Elevation Magazine http://www.seanstephenson.com

Keith: "Is there anything you have to say to people who have suffered from phobias for 20 years." Kristine: "It's easier than you could ever imagine to get over it." From A Single Session Phobia Cure: Available on video. Phttp://www.phobiascured.com/single-session.htm

"This book is a comprehensive resource for those seeking help for phobias. The techniques are well-presented and a lot of thought has gone into modifying them
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so that people can empower themselves for change rather than depending on some therapist somewhere. I would recommend this book to someone I love. Get this book to achieve Lasting Change." Rowan Peacock C.Ht., MNLP, BSBA Director and President Rowan Peackock.com http://www.rowanpeacock.com

"What Keith has put together in this book is no less than a compilation of the most powerful and dynamic techniques for personal change in existence. You can use the techniques he provides you with not only to get rid of phobias but to reach goals and remove roadblocks. This writing is the culmination of years of study and hundreds of hours of working with phobics. You could spend thousands of dollars and years getting that information yourself - or you could buy his book. I have worked with Keith extensively and have personally seen him do away with phobias over and over again - at a speed that traditional psychology would have you believe is not possible. I have seen for myself what these techniques can do. Prepare to be amazed - experience this book for yourself." Michael Bennett President Bennett/Stellar University http://www.imagineit.org

"I had the pleasure of witnessing Keith Livingston cure a colleague of his phobia of public speaking in less than 20 minutes- all in front of a live audience!!! Keith Livingston weaves his skill, humor and talent into magical interventions. If you have a phobia and want a fast, painless, and even enjoyable time getting rid of it forever, see Keith" Ben Goldfarb Director and Founder Paradigm Communications International

"hi keith i went to the post graduate school and went to the top balcony were i was before with almost no anciety ,i climbed to the top balcony which is about 40 more feet up and i didnt open the door ,but i looked out trough the window , and i just could not believe that i made it to the top, i did feel some anciety, so i went to
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 55

the bottom floor and i proceded to do it alover again and it felt a lot better , when i left in my car tears started because i felt relieved because i made it to the top even with anciety and so grateful to you, i feel that i am a least 50% cured i will call you at 3.30 on monday.bye tom" "hi ,again i just came back from the post graduate school and i went straight to the top but the balcony door was locked , so i went to this other lower balcony and i used the method of looking at my feet and that realy works great ,every thing today was a breeze compaired to the last time, i will let you know how the cruise went,thanks again tom"

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NLP Techniques for Phobias

Overview: How to Use the NLP Phobia Cure Techniques
If you have had or suspect extreme trauma or sexual abuse in your past, use these techniques only with a trained mental-health professional. In general, here is the best order in which to use these techniques. First, imagine yourself in some future situation where, in the past you, would have had a phobic reaction. Use the Fast Phobia Cure on this imagined situation. If you have an easy and safe way to test your work - do it. If youd like to hear a demonstration of me using the Fast Phobia Cure, Click Here. Make sure you test your former phobia in a safe way. The object is not for you to "tough it out," but to feel comfortable in a situation where previously that had not been possible. Keeping in mind that there will be some natural excitement and anticipation, you should be reasonably comfortable. Most people, when they use these techniques experience a profound shift in their feelings. I'm not talking about a 10% improvement but a radical improvement or obliteration of the old phobic response. Many people have told me that they are now bored in the situation that was formerly a serious problem. If you are not yet comfortable, you may benefit from using the Finding Root Causes technique to locate events which may have led to creating the phobia. Then use the Fast Phobia Cure on each of the memories you uncover. Future Pacing is then used to teach your subconscious mind how you want it to act. If you are still not comfortable, begin to become more aware of your internal thoughts; the images and sounds that are going on inside your mind when you enter your phobic situation. Move out of your phobic situation and then mentally recreate those same images and sounds. If, when you make those images or sounds inside your mind, you feel anxiety, use the Auditory Swish or the Visual Swish patterns to deal with those thoughts. The Collapsing Anchors can be used on residual anxiety, if any. If this doesn't take care of it, start again with the Fast Phobia Cure technique. If youd like to hear a demonstration of me using the Fast Phobia cure, Click Here. Different people respond to these techniques differently. Some people get better results with the fast phobia cure, others with the swish patterns or collapsing anchors. Your best bet is to use all of the techniques until you find one that works for you.
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Fast Phobia Cure

When to use this technique: Use this technique on any memory or imagined event that is causing anxiety. Make sure you have read the book and understand how phobias work before you use this technique. Remember these two important facts:

The phobia was learned in an instant and can be unlearned just as quickly. A part of the mind has been protecting you from something it perceives as dangerous - let's help that part of the mind understand more fully so it can help protect you more effectively.

1. Think of a situation where you would normally experience a phobic reaction. 2. Associate into the situation (put yourself there mentally). Rate your level of discomfort on a scale of 1 - 10. 3. Now dissociate and see the experience from a distance on a small black & white screen. Run your experience from before the you on the screen is uncomfortable until after you are OK again. See yourself on the screen as well as any others present in the event. Watch it all the way through many people learn something of value when watching from a distance. If you are still not comfortable watching the movie from a distance, you may benefit from dissociating one more level. In other words, you can imagine yourself watching yourself, watching the movie. It's as if there are three of you; One you is in the movie, another you is watching the movie, the third you is watching the you that's watching the movie. You are that third you and are separated from the action on the screen. 4. (Optional) Watch it again, make the scene silly (clown noses and floppy shoes on everyone, silly music). Change various aspects of the movie to make it more and more silly (I often add beanie hats to people). 5. At the end of the scene (when the you on the screen is feeling OK again) make it a still image. 6. Associate into that image (put yourself in that image mentally). 7. Quickly rewind (it's important to do this part at high speed and to go all the way backwards until you get to a point before the incident). 8. Blank out your "mental screen." 9. Now, starting again with the still image at the end of the film, associate in, and rewind even more quickly (2 seconds or less). 10. Repeat steps 5-7 several times. 11. Think about the situation again, rate your feelings on a scale of 1 - 10 Repeat the entire process until you're comfortable thinking about the situation.

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Affect Bridge (Finding Root Causes)

This is a technique designed to uncover any forgotten memories that may have played a part in creating your phobia. Phobias can be created in an instant, sometimes we don't remember where or when they started. Though it's usually not necessary to uncover these events, if you've done the Fast Phobia Cure and still aren't feeling comfortable it may be helpful to remember and reprocess these "initializing events." People often find that when these events are uncovered and resolved their phobia is drastically reduced or is gone completely. These initializing events could seem unrelated to the phobia so allow your mind to be open about what you remember. This technique comes from hypnotherapy. Only a small percentage of hypnotherapists know this technique and few of them are aware it is just as effective in the waking state. 1. Get the anxious feelings (think of a situation that produces the anxiety, put yourself in it mentally). Notice everything you can about the sensations. 2. Continue feeling the sensations in your body and say to yourself (silently, inside your mind) "Go to an earlier time when I had these same sensations." 3. Notice what memories you get. 4. Repeat the process several times finding different memories each time. 5. Repeat the process once again, except in step 2 say "Go to the earliest time I felt these sensations, the root cause of these feelings." 6. Deal with the root cause and each of the memories you found using one of the other processes until they are comfortable to think about.

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The Visual "Swish" Pattern

When working with phobias I often ask people to mentally put themselves in a situation in which they felt that fear. I ask them to pay attention to any internal images or sounds that come into awareness. I want to know what it is they are creating in their "mind's eye" or "mind's ear" when they are in their phobic situation. I was consulting with a client a few days ago - she had a fear of driving over bridges. I asked her what she imagined might happen if she did drive over a bridge. She replied that she thought she might drive over the edge or that the bridge might collapse. I asked her if she had images in her mind of those things happening. When she thought about it she realized that she was "imagining it," literally making pictures in her mind's eye. When she looked at those pictures (even when she wasn't on or near a bridge) she felt fear. Her subconscious mind was using those images to create her fear. If you take care of those images you can substantially reduce or eliminate the fear. The visual swish is for any internal images you might discover that lead to lessthan-resourceful feelings. It leads you from fear producing images to images that lead to positive feelings. For this exercise you'll need a mental image that gives you strong positive emotions. Many NLP experts recommend that you use a dissociated image of yourself accomplishing what it is you want to accomplish, feeling the way you want to feel. In other words, if you're afraid of speaking in public, use an image of yourself speaking in public, feeling calm and confident. Dissociated means you "see yourself" in the image (as if you're looking from the vantage point of a movie camera), rather than "be yourself." If you can't do that then use any image that helps you feel strong positive emotions. 1. Put yourself mentally into your phobic situation - notice what internal imagery and sounds are going on when you feel anxiety. For internal sounds you hear use the auditory swish, for images you discover go to the next step. 2. Make the image in your mind, if you feel some anxiety you've discovered an important component of your phobia. Blank your "mental screen." 3. Think of an image that helps you feel strong positive emotions (usually a dissociated picture of yourself accomplishing your goal just the way you want to) then blank your "mental screen." 4. Start with the anxiety producing image big and bright and your relaxing image as a small dark dot in one corner of the anxiety image.

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5. This is the "swish" part. Quickly expand and brighten the relaxing image while simultaneously shrinking and darkening the old anxiety image (it's important to do this quickly). 6. Blank out your mental screen 7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until you feel comfortable when you try to think of the old image. It's important to do these processes forward. Never "swish" from the good image or sound to the bad image or sound. Always "swish" from the bad to the good! Typically, people report that they cannot get the old image back, or it automatically goes to the new, comfortable image or that the old image has changed in some way to make them more comfortable.

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Auditory "Swish" Pattern

When working with phobias I often ask people to mentally put themselves in a situation in which they felt that fear. I ask them to pay attention to any internal sounds or sounds that come into awareness. I want to know what it is they are creating in their "mind's eye" or "mind's ear" when they are in their phobic situation. With fear of public speaking I routinely discover that people have internal dialog going on inside their heads. Typically they are saying "calm down" or "everything is going to be fine" or "breathe deeply" or some other useful phrase. The problem is that their internal tone of voice is often very stressed out! To the subconscious mind tonality may be more important than the words themselves. This next process is for those internal dialog you might discover that leads to less-than-resourceful feelings. It's important to do these processes forward. Never "swish" from the good image or sound to the bad image or sound. Always "swish" from the bad to the good!

Auditory Swish for Internal Dialog

1. Put yourself mentally into your phobic situation - notice what internal imagery and sounds are going on when you feel anxiety. For images use the visual swish, for sounds that are not words go here, for internal dialog go to the next step. 2. Recreate the sound in your mind, if you feel anxiety just hearing the sound then you've discovered an important component of your fear. On to the next step. 3. Say the phrase to yourself (silently in your mind) in a distressed tone of voice. Rate your level of discomfort on a scale of 1 - 10. 4. Run the sound/phrase backwards at high speed a few times. 5. Think of a "resource voice", a voice that's very funny or silly. Many people use cartoon characters' voices. 6. This is the "swish" part. Start the phrase in your distressed tone of voice and very quickly switch it to your resource voice. 7. Repeat the last step several times, coming in with the resource voice more quickly each time. 8. Do this until it's automatic ( you start with the old voice and the new voice comes in automatically). 9. Say the phrase again and notice how you feel, rating your feelings on a scale of 1 - 10. Repeat the entire process until you're comfortable This next process is for other internal sounds you might discover that leads to less-than-resourceful feelings.
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Auditory Swish for other sounds

1. Put yourself mentally into your phobic situation - notice what internal imagery and sounds are going on when you feel anxiety. For internal images you see, use the visual swish, for sounds that are internal dialog go here, for sounds that are not words go to the next step. 2. Make the sound in your mind, if you feel some anxiety you've discovered an important component of your phobia. Distract yourself for a moment to get rid of the feeling. 3. Think of a sound that relaxes you, then distract yourself again. 4. Start with the anxiety producing sound loud and close to your ears and your relaxing sound distant and quiet. 5. This is the "swish" part. Quickly send the anxiety producing sound away (it gets quieter) as the relaxing sound grows closer and louder. It's important to do this fast. 6. Distract yourself. 7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until you feel comfortable when you try to think of the old sounds. Typically, people report that they cannot get the old sound back, or it automatically goes to the new, comfortable sound or that the old sound has changed in some way to make them more comfortable.

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Anchoring is simply a process of attaching a response to certain stimulus. Ivan Pavlov rang a bell at the same time as he fed his dogs. Eventually, the dogs would begin to salivate whenever Pavlov rang the bell. This connection between a stimulus (in this case, the sound of a bell) and a response (in this case salivation) is what NLP calls an anchor. We use anchors to help people access positive emotional states and to shift out of negative emotional states. Collapsing anchors uses a positive anchor and a negative anchor. We use the positive anchor, and its corresponding positive emotional state, to alter the negative emotional reaction of a phobia. The first part of this process is establishing anchors for a strong positive feeling and for the phobia. 1. First, find some positive emotional state - the state that you'd like to feel in your phobic situation. In other words, if your fear is spiders maybe you'd like to feel calm or peaceful or alert or relaxed. Think of a time when you had that positive emotional state. Re-live that memory. Get the feelings up and running in your body, experience the feelings. Notice the sensations that the positive feelings produce. Where are they located in your body? Allow those feelings to grow more intense. When you have those feelings as intense as you can get them, touch your thumbs together. 2. Now think about something else for a moment. Change your body position, shake the feelings off. 3. Touch your thumbs together again. You should begin to feel some off the positive feelings. If you don't, go back and repeat the exercise until when you touch your thumbs together, you begin to feel the positive feelings. You have now established an anchor for those positive feelings. Each time you touch your thumbs together you'll get those feelings. 4. Now think about something else for a moment. Change your body position, shake the feeling off. 5. Now mentally put yourself into you or phobic situation. One way to do this is to think of a time when the feelings were particularly strong. Get those feelings up and running in your body. When you are able to feel some percentage of your phobia touch your index fingers together. 6. Now think about something else for moment. Change your body position, shake the feeling off. 7. Touch your index fingers together again and notice if you begin to feel anxiety. 8. If you do, shake it off think about something else. If not, begin to feel anxiety again and touch your index fingers together again. Do this until touching your index fingers together gives you the feeling of anxiety. You have now established an anchor for those negative feelings.
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9. Shake the feelings off once again. We have now established our positive anchor (the thumbs) and an anchor for the phobia (the index fingers).

Collapsing Anchors
1. Now touch you or thumbs together and get those good positive feelings up and running in your body. Make sure you get them nice and intense, you want to feel really good doing this. 2. Just for moment, with your thumbs still touching, touch your index fingers together. Always make sure that the positive feelings are stronger than the not so positive feelings. Continue to build those positive feelings by keeping your thumbs touching. 3. Occasionally move your index fingers apart, and re-establish the full intensity of the positive feelings. 4. Eventually you will be able to have both your thumbs and your index fingers touching while still feeling fine. When you are able to do this hold that position for 30 seconds or so you are done! At first you may feel some combination of the states. Eventually you'll feel fairly normal. Now, without touching your thumbs or index fingers together think about your formerly phobic situation. Notice how you feel. Here's the process described in another way.

Establish a positive anchor. Go to a neutral emotional state by distracting yourself then test the anchor. Establish an anchor for the phobia. Go to a neutral emotional state by distracting yourself then test the negative anchor. When you have the anchors firmly established, use first the positive anchor and then bring in the negative anchor. Make sure the positive feelings are more intense by emphasizing the positive anchor. Keep doing this until you can hold both anchors and feel just fine. Test by thinking of a related situation that would have bothered you in the past

If you can't get the anchors established

Usually people have 2 main ways of remembering or thinking about things associated or dissociated. If you are dissociated you are remembering as if the event happened to someone else. People dissociate by "seeing themselves"
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rather than "being themselves." If you are having a difficult time getting either the positive or negative feelings make sure you are associated into the memory. Be "in" the memory, looking out of your own eyes and hearing through your own ears.

Using the positive resource anchor during the Fast Phobia Cure
You can establish a positive resource state by anchoring and then using the anchor to help in the NLP Fast Phobia Cure. Develop a strong positive anchor and use it in the Fast Phobia Cure step where you watch the scene dissociated.

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Future Pacing (New Behavior Generator)

When reduce or eliminate a phobia the subconscious mind now has instructions on how NOT to act. But do we know HOW to act? Future pacing makes sure we do. Future pacing is a process in which we teach our subconscious minds just how to react. We use a role model, notice certain things about the role model and then take on those attributes. Use future pacing after you have reduced or eliminated your phobia using the other techniques. 1. Think of someone who reacts like you want to react in your formerly phobic situation. In other words, if you had fear of public speaking think about someone who's calm and relaxed just the way you want to be when you speak. 2. Imagine that you have a movie screen in front of you, see your role model on the movie screen in the situation that bothered you, performing just the way you want to. Notice how your role model breathes, what your role model's posture is, the quality of your role model's movements, the tone of their voice (if applicable), the expression on their face and other details. 3. If that's not exactly the way you want to act, adjust it so that your role model is acting just how you want to. 4. Now, gradually change the image of the role model into you. Make sure that you (up on the screen) keep the same posture, tonality, the same breathing, the same quality of movements and the same expression on your face. In other words, see yourself acting just as your role model did. 5. If there are any adjustments to make go ahead make them to get it just the way you want it. 6. When you have it just the way you want it, step into that image. In other words, become the person on the screen. Make sure you keep the same posture, the same breathing, the same quality of moment movements and the same expression on your face. 7. Repeat from step 2 several times with variations (if you were afraid of bridges, use several different bridges, if it was fear of flying use several different flights etc.) Note: Though it's not necessary, you can use the skill you developed in the collapsing anchors exercise to enhance this process. Anchor a resourceful feeling, a feeling you would like to have in your formerly phobic situation. Use that anchor when you are watching your role model, watching yourself and stepping into yourself.

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Phobia Treatments
OK, here's where we take on the big boys. There are a lot of phobia treatments out there. Many of them don't work. Surprisingly, some of the most common and recommended phobia treatments are not backed up by evidence! Some of these ineffective phobia treatments are mainstream, accepted and likely to be used by your doctor, counselor or psychiatrist. Don't let the degrees up on the wall fool you. The knowledge you will posses, after completely reading and digesting this book, will surpass most of the experts you meet. There are also some whacky treatments out there. Some of them even work. Ill tell you about those too. The last part of this chapter is a "My Recommendations" section. There, I give you my opinions on how I would approach a phobia.

According to the Surgeon General of the United States there are no empirical studies to support psychodynamic theories of phobic symptoms as an expression of underlying conflicts. Psychoanalysis is based on these theories. The effectiveness of these traditional forms of therapy based on psychodynamic or interpersonal theories of anxiety lack empirical support. As a result, more traditional therapies are generally de-emphasized in evidence-based treatment guidelines for anxiety disorders. Here is what the Department of Social and Human Services says about psychoanalysis for the treatment of phobias. "Unfortunately, psychoanalysis and related forms of psychotherapy prove disappointing in the treatment of phobias. Patients usually find the therapy helpful in resolving conflict, decreasing general anxiety, and identifying and modifying feelings and thoughts associated with panic attacks and phobic avoidance. But the phobic symptoms themselves often remain. Freud himself acknowledged the limitations of pure psychoanalysis in treating phobias." In spite of the growing evidence, you can still find lots of psychoanalysts willing to charge people $125/hour or more, for years, to help them "work on their phobia." This makes me mad!

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Translation: If you go to get counseling for your anxiety or phobia - do not go to someone who uses psychodynamic or interpersonal theories. There is no proof that they work. The Bottom Line: Don't go to a psychoanalyst for phobia treatment.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies
According to the Surgeon General there has been increasing enthusiasm for more efficient therapies that address ways of coping with anxiety symptoms more directly. These therapies are usually cognitive-behavioral in nature. The cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) look at the apparent cause and effect relationships between thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors, and give relatively straightforward strategies to lessen symptoms. This therapy increases exposure to the phobia. These theories have some empirical evidence to support them. There is now extensive evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapies are useful treatments for a majority of patients with anxiety disorders. According to a pamphlet from the American Psychiatric Association here's what you can expect from a qualified therapist - if you "carefully follow the outlined treatment plan." Noticeable improvement in 10 to 20 weeks. A tremendous improvement within one year. Although this information is in a pamphlet of theirs, some cognitive-behavioral practitioners can get results more quickly. In another study (source APA) cognitive behavioral approaches were found more effective than non cognitive-behavioral approaches. The typical number of cognitivebehavioral sessions in this study was 6. Exposure therapy, desensitization and flooding are all forms of cognitivebehavioral therapy. Exposure therapy often calls for repeated, painful exposure to the fear. When this process is carried out over a period of months, it is known as "progressive desensitization." When the exposure to the fear is continued and intensified over a single protracted length of time, often a period of several hours or more, it is called "flooding." Exposure therapy de-links your fear from it stimulus by exposing you to your fear for so long that your body and mind grow tired of reproducing the fear. A number of researchers have compared desensitization and flooding. They have found that the two forms of treatment are about equally effective: Both reduce phobic anxiety and behavior in people with simple phobias, but desensitization is not as effective as flooding for agoraphobia. Although not well studied, neither method appears to be very effective for social phobics. CBT makes a some big mistakes, in my opinion. For one, this therapeutic method does not utilize the methods of subconscious communication but tries to
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get to the subconscious mind through the conscious mind. This is very inefficient and time consuming. Secondly, many forms of CBT use the phobic situation itself to get emotions running. This is not practical for lots of phobias (fear of flying requires a plane, for instance). Also, it is not needed. Various studies show that using imagination works as well as being in the actual phobic situation for many people. Thirdly, lengthy, painful exposure to the phobic situation is not needed. What is needed, if you know how to communicate with the subconscious is a brief feeling of a small portion of the fear. Most people can get their phobic feelings going without and airplane or a spider present. For those who can not get their emotions going by thinking about their phobia, CBT is a good choice. Make no mistake, CBT works. Because this has been such an important treatment method, I've included an article about CBT and Social Anxiety. At the bottom of the article I'll comment on some things mentioned in the article so you'll understand more fully. My Take: Cognitive-behavioral methods are probably the most studied and well-proven methods for the treatment of phobias. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy makes some crucial mistakes - that's why it takes longer than some other methods. The Bottom Line: Cognitive-behavioral approaches are effective for simple phobias. Treatment may range from 6 to 12 sessions or considerably longer. Treatment involves exposure to or confrontation of the phobia. If you want to go with the most proven method, this would be it.

Virtual Reality
According to the American Psychological Association, virtual reality treatments can be as effective as exposure based treatments. Using a virtual reality flight simulator for 8 sessions over a 6 week period they tested virtual reality fear of flying treatment against standard exposure therapy. The methods were found to be equally effective and the study participants expressed equal satisfaction with both treatments. Sometimes I wonder... Most people can get their fears up and running by thinking about going into their phobic situation (those who can't, I have some tips for you later on). Why would you need a computer mock-up of an airplane when just thinking about getting on an airplane gives a fear of flying sufferer the heebiejeebies? Though it can work, it is a totally unnecessary type of treatment. After
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all, we have the most advanced virtual reality simulator in the universe between our ears. This treatment was thought up by people who really, really don't understand how the mind works. My take: From early evidence virtual reality seems an effective method. The treatment window is long and the equipment is quite expensive. The Bottom Line: This method has limited applications and is impractical for most people. Due to extremely limited availability you probably won't be able to find a solution for your phobia in virtual reality therapy.

Quick fact: There is no proven drug treatment for specific phobias, but certain medications may help reduce symptoms of anxiety before one faces a phobic situation. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services I am not a doctor, nor do I believe in chemical intervention as a first response unless absolutely necessary. Research has proven that drugs do not cure phobias (except in some cases with children). Furthermore, for most phobias, drugs have not even been proven effective as a treatment, let alone a cure. What this means is that if a doctor prescribes drugs for your phobia you need to ask some hard questions. Start with, "How long will I have to be on this medication?" If the doctor has no plans for evaluating your condition and getting you off the drug, RUN, don't walk, to another doctor. There are two cases when I can see drugs being prescribed for phobias. One is when the drug is to help someone "get over the hump." That is, they have an important flight or they are depressed to the point of suicide. The idea is to have the drug be a temporary measure to help them out of that short-term situation. The second case for drugs would be if every other treatment alternative had been explored and hadn't worked! There are way too many options that have some chance of working for drugs to be a first line of defense. Unfortunately, most treatment alternatives don't have advertising and lobbying budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars like the pharmaceutical companies . Xanax, Paxil and other addictive drugs are sometimes prescribed for phobic, anxiety and panic situations. I'm not a doctor but it doesn't take a genius to say "Be careful". Withdrawal symptoms for these drugs can be severe.
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I've run across many people who's physician prescribed Paxil. Most of the doctors did not warn them about the risks of withdrawal and the difficulty of getting off these drugs. Dr. Nancy Snyderman pointed out on a 20/20 expose' that it may take patients up to a year to get off this drug safely. One caveat; if you are on these drugs and under the care of a physician, please do not stop taking them on my account. These drugs have been the savior of many lives and may be necessary for some. If you wish to get off these drugs, get relief for your phobia/anxiety first, then go off the drugs under the supervision of your healthcare professional. Irrespective of other side effects, both Paxil and Xanax are addictive (according to DrugInfo.net.) Consult with your medical professional carefully before considering taking either of these drugs. Watch out for drug interactions such as the seretonin syndrome which has proven fatal on rare occasions. Side effects and withdrawal symptoms of anti-anxiety drugs are often similar to the symptoms of phobias! In my opinion drug therapies introduce needless risk - and they only suppress the symptom! Pharmacotherapy The medications typically used to treat patients with anxiety disorders are benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and the novel compound buspirone (Lydiard et al., 1996). In light of increasing awareness of numerous neurochemical alterations in anxiety disorders, many new classes of drugs are likely to be developed, expressly targeting CRH and other neuroactive agents (Nemeroff, 1998). Benzodiazepines The benzodiazepines are a large class of relatively safe and widely prescribed medications that have rapid and profound antianxiety and sedative-hypnotic effects. The benzodiazepines are thought to exert their therapeutic effects by enhancing the inhibitory neurotransmitter systems utilizing GABA. Benzodiazepines bind to a site on the GABA receptor and act as receptor agonists (Perry et al., 1997). Benzodiazepines differ in terms of potency, pharmacokinetics (i.e., elimination half-life), and lipid solubility. The four benzodiazepines currently widely prescribed for treatment of anxiety disorders are diazepam, lorazepam, clonazepam, and alprazolam. Each is now available in generic formulations (Davidson, 1998). Among these agents, alprazolam and lorazepam have shorter elimination half-livesthat is, are removed from the body more quicklywhile diazepam and clonazepam have a long period of action (i.e., up to 24 hours). Diazepam also has multiple active metabolites, which increase the risk of carryover effects such as sedation and
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hangover. Benzodiazepines that undergo conjugation appear to have longer elimination time in women, and oral contraceptive can decrease clearance (Dawlans, 1995). Since Asians are more likely to metabolize diazepam more slowly, they may require lower doses to achieve the same blood concentrations as Caucasians (Lin et al., 1997). Benzodiazepines have the potential for producing drug dependence (i.e., physiological or behavioral symptoms after discontinuation of use). Shorter acting compounds have somewhat greater liability because of more rapid and abrupt onset of withdrawal symptoms. Because the benzodiazepines do not have strong antiobsessional effects, their use in obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder is generally viewed as palliative (i.e., relieving, but not eliminating symptoms). Rather, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are more effectively treated by antidepressants, especially the SSRIs (as discussed below). When effective, benzodiazepines should be tapered after several months of use, although there is a substantial risk of relapse. Many clinicians favor a combined treatment approach for panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, in which benzodiazepines are used acutely in tandem with an antidepressant. The benzodiazepines are subsequently tapered as the antidepressants therapeutic effects begin to emerge (American Psychiatric Association, 1998). Antidepressants Most antidepressant medications have substantial antianxiety and antipanic effects in addition to their antidepressant action (Kent et al., 1998). Moreover, a large number of antidepressants have antiobsessional effects (Perry et al., 1997). The observation that the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine had a different anxiolytic profile than diazepam helped to differentiate panic disorder from generalized anxiety disorder and, subsequently, social phobia. Clomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) with relatively potent reuptake inhibitory effects on serotonin (5-HT) neurons, subsequently was found to be the only TCA to have specific antiobsessional effects (March et al., 1997). The importance of this effect on 5-HT was highlighted when the SSRIs became available. By the late 1990s, it became clear that all of the SSRIs have antiobsessional effects (Greist et al., 1995; Kent et al., 1998). Current practice guidelines rank the TCAs below the SSRIs for treatment of anxiety disorders because of the SSRIs more favorable tolerability and safety profiles (March et al., 1997; American Psychiatric Association, 1998; Ballenger et al., 1998). Nevertheless, there are patients who respond to the TCAs after failing to respond to one or more of the newer agents. Similarly, although relatively rarely used, the monoamine oxidate inhibitors (MAOIs) have significant antiobsessional, antipanic, and anxiolytic effects (Sheehan et al., 1980; American
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Psychiatric Association, 1998). In the United States, the MAOIs phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and isocarboxazid (which has not been consistently marketed this decade) are seldom used unless simpler medication strategies have failed (American Psychiatric Association, 1998). The five drugs within the SSRI classfluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, and citalopramhave emerged as the preferred type of antidepressant for treatment of anxiety disorders (Westenberg, 1996; Kent et al., 1998). In addition to well-established efficacy in obsessive-compulsive disorder, there is convincing and growing evidence of antipanic and broader anxiolytic effects (American Psychiatric Association, 1998; Kent et al., 1998). Treatment of panic disorder often requires lower initial doses and slower upward titration. By contrast, treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder ultimately may entail higher doses (for example, 60 or 80 mg/day of fluoxetine or 200 mg per day of sertraline) and longer durations to achieve desired outcomes (March et al., 1997). As all of the SSRIs are currently protected by patents, there are no generic forms yet available. This adds to the direct costs of treatment. Cost may be offset indirectly, however, by virtue of need for fewer treatment visits and fewer concomitant medications, and cost likely will abate when these agents begin to lose patent protection in a few years. Other newer antidepressants, including venlafaxine, nefazodone, and mirtazapine, also may have significant antianxiety effects, for which clinical trials are under way (March et al., 1997; American Psychiatric Association, 1998). Paroxetine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for social phobia, and sertraline is being developed for post-traumatic stress disorder. Nefazodone, which also is being studied in post-traumatic stress disorder, and mirtazapine may possess lower levels of sexual side effects, a problem that complicates longer term treatment with SSRIs, venlafaxine, TCAs, and MAOIs (Baldwin & Birtwistle, 1998). When effective in treating anxiety, antidepressants should be maintained for at least 4 to 6 months, then tapered slowly to avoid discontinuation-emergent activation of anxiety symptoms (March et al., 1997; American Psychiatric Association, 1998; Ballenger et al., 1998). Although less extensively researched than depression, it is likely that many patients with anxiety disorders may warrant longer term, indefinite treatment to prevent relapse or chronicity. Buspirone This azopyrine compound is a relatively selective 5- HT1A partial agonist (Stahl, 1996). It was approved by the FDA in the mid-1980s as an anxiolytic. However, unlike the benzodiazepines, buspirone is not habit forming and has no abuse potential. Buspirone also has a safety profile comparable to the SSRIs, and it is significantly better tolerated than the TCAs. Buspirone does not block panic attacks, and it is not efficacious as a primary
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treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (Stahl, 1996). Buspirone is most useful for treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, and it is now frequently used as an adjunct to SSRIs (Lydiard et al., 1996). Buspirone takes 4 to 6 weeks to exert therapeutic effects, like antidepressants, and it has little value for patients when taken on an as needed basis. My take on drugs: Social Anxiety has been shown to be susceptible to drugs. There is no proof that drugs cure specific phobias although they can help make you comfortable before you face the phobic situation. I have dealt with many people who's doctors had prescribed an anti-anxiety drug which did not help once they had to confront their phobia. In cases where drugs can reduce a phobia, studies have shown that when an adult goes off the drugs the phobia returns (that can differ in children). You might then ask yourself how long you would have to take the drug. Drugs dampen the phobic response so in essence, your mind isn't as effective at producing your phobia. If you are on these drugs and under the care of a physician, please do not stop taking them without consulting with your physician. If you wish to get off these drugs, get relief for your phobia/anxiety first, then go off the drugs under the supervision of your healthcare professional. All drugs have side-effects. Xanax, Paxil and other addictive drugs are sometimes prescribed for phobic, anxiety and panic situations. I'm not a doctor but it doesn't take a genius to say "be careful." Withdrawal symptoms for these drugs can be severe. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Only your medical professional can suggest you take drugs or not take drugs or which drugs to take. If your doctor does not agree with your viewpoint on whether or not to take drugs you have a choice. In my opinion the best choice is to find a doctor who agrees with you. The Bottom Line: Drugs have been extremely helpful to many and may be necessary for some. The effects of drug treatment may or may not be felt quickly. Drugs are usually not a permanent solution for phobias. There is no proven drug treatment for specific phobias, but certain medications may help reduce symptoms of anxiety before one faces a phobic situation. Drugs may be addictive, have withdrawal symptoms and/or side-effects. Very rare cases of death have been reported from withdrawal from some drugs prescribed for phobias. For these reasons I personally can not understand why drugs are the first line of defense against phobias in this country. Unless you have an emergency situation, use drugs as a last resort, after you have tried less invasive treatments.

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The methods I personally use are based largely on Neuro-linguistic Programming or NLP. Though NLP is considered a subset of cognitive-behavioral therapy the NLP treatment for phobias differs from that of typical cognitive-behavioral models in several ways. Cognitive-behavioral therapy makes a basic error (in my opinion). Simply put, when our senses pick up information by seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting something, the information comes to a fork in the road in our nervous system. At some point the nervous system decides whether to send the sensory information to the emotional centers of the brain or to the thinking centers of the brain. With the phobic reaction, the sensory information goes straight to the emotional centers of the brain and bypasses the thinking centers. Cognitive-behavioral therapies typically work too late in the process, after the sensory input has "taken the wrong fork" and the emotional centers of the brain have been activated. This is what my grandmother would have called "closing the barn doors after the horse has done gone." The reason cognitive-behavioral therapies often take numerous sessions is that it takes some time to coax the horse back into the barn. The methods I use work with the nervous system before that sensory input gets to the fork in the road. When successful, the sensory input goes straight to the thinking centers of the brain and we can react based on our logical, rational thought processes. Here is a quote from a study of the effectiveness of these methods (Source: The NLP Research Data Base). "The NLP treatment was demonstrated to be effective in reducing phobic behavior and subjective distress, and was superior to the control condition in improving approach behavior and in reducing fear, discomfort and the intensity of a wide range of symptoms. "Treatment outcome compared favorably with more conventional treatments." (Emphasis mine) These methods can be incredibly fast. Although it usually takes longer, I have personally cured phobias in less than 10 minutes. I've even done it on national TV. I know you're probably saying "yeah, but my situation is different." Well, it's not. The main techniques that I use can be learned quite easily. That's why I wrote this book.

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My take on NLP: NLP works. You can find a qualified NLP Practitioner in your area or you can learn these methods and try them out yourself very inexpensively. They work for many people and have none of the risks that drug therapies entail. This book or one of my videotapes costs much less than either multiple sessions with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, a session or two with an NLP Practitioner. The Bottom Line: NLP is very quick and not chemical or invasive in nature.

Hypnosis was approved in the late 1950s as a valid therapeutic modality by both the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association. Hypnotherapy is an effective modality for treating phobias. Both Dave Elman in his book Hypnotherapy and William S. Kroger M.D. in his book Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in Medicine, Dentistry and Psychology detail working successfully with phobias. The most common hypnotherapeutic treatment for phobias involves going back to the original event which caused a phobia and re-living it. Through re-living old experiences we reprocess them and allow ourselves to have adult knowledge and perspective on these old events. If you decide to work with a hypnotherapist in resolving your phobia make sure you find one who is experienced in regression therapy and the methods of Dave Elman. Even better is to find a hypnotherapist who is well versed in both Dave Elman style regression and NLP. With the Dave Elman regression you must "relive" the experience, which can be pretty uncomfortable. If they know NLP, they can take you back to the initializing experience much more comfortably and still get the positive results.

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In Seattle, I am hypnotherapist in private practice. Just this week I successfully treated a phobia using a combination of hypnotherapy and NLP. My take on hypnosis: Though there are numerous studies showing the effectiveness of hypnosis in treating phobias, many people shy away from it because they don't understand hypnosis. Even many physicians are unaware that their own organization approves of hypnosis for therapeutic reasons. Don't let ignorance stop you, go find yourself a good hypnotherapist and get rid of that phobia. The Bottom Line: Hypnosis, in the hands of a qualified professional is safe, quick and effective in relieving phobias.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that combines the use of rapid eye movement or other rhythmic stimulation with elements of other therapeutic approaches in order to heal emotional problems. In an EMDR session, after carefully defining the problem, the clinician asks the client to bring to mind all the negative information regarding the problem. The clinician then moves his or her fingers in front of the client's face and the client follows the movements of the fingers. This process continues for various aspects of the problem. Other therapeutic elements may be introduced throughout the therapy. Here are some viewpoints on this treatment. Suzanne Hurst and Natasha Milkewicz from the Virginia Consortium for Professional Psychology, conclude that many of the studies available regarding EMDR are positive. In 1995, a comprehensive study was completed by Wilson, Becker and Tinker. Eighty participants suffering from a variety of trauma. Those who received three 90-minute EMDR sessions showed decreases in their presenting complaints and in anxiety and increases in positive thoughts. EMDR was equally effective on all the types of trauma studied. Other research has found EMDR to be about equal to flooding, but some report EMDR has fewer negative side effects. In studying PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients were divided into treatment groups of imaginal exposure, applied muscle relaxation, and EMDR. All three groups improved but no treatment was proven more effective than any other.
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Several studies attempting to reproduce earlier findings of EMDRs apparent efficacy failed to do so. Gerald M. Rosen, PhD and Jeffrey Lohr, PhD undermine the theoretical underpinnings of EMDR when they write about the fact that several researchers have assigned patients to EMDR or standard imagery treatment (without eye movements). In almost every case, eye movements have not been proven to add to the effectiveness of the treatment. My take: So far, the evidence for EMDR is inconclusive. I believe that EMDR shares some commonalities with the NLP treatments I use. In NLP we use movements of the eyes under the theory that moving the eyes to different places forces the brain to use different processing centers. The theory is that by bringing different parts of the mind to bear on a situation, solutions may be found that were not apparent before and because of this the stimulus response aspect of the phobia is broken up. The scientific data supporting this particular aspect of NLP is sketchy. The Bottom Line: EMDR is fairly quick and is not invasive or chemical in nature.

Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T. - Tapping)

In simplest terms, EFT treatment for phobias involves thinking about your phobia and tapping with the fingertips to stimulate to stimulate "meridian points" (similar to acupuncture points). The existing theory is that the phobia is a disruption of the body's energy system and that tapping somehow clears out this disruption. Here's an excerpt from a study comparing EFT to Diaphragmatic Breathing for specific phobias. "Both treatments produced significant improvements in phobic reactions, with the EFT group showing significantly greater improvement than the DB group." You can download a very complete "how-to" manual and be utilizing the techniques on yourself within a few hours. http://www.emofree.com/EFTmanl.pdf I'd suggest you check in with their "Message to Newcomers" here too... http://www.emofree.com/newcomer.htm

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My take: The theories behind these techniques are not scientifically validated - but that doesn't mean they don't work! They could be completely wrong about how it works. I have seen conflicting studies about the efficacy of tapping on meridian points. One study (of limited size) even found that tapping on meridian points was less effective than tapping on random, non meridian points of the body. Tapping either on or off the meridian points decreased anxiety significantly in both groups. My personal theory is that EFT works quite differently than they think it does. I believe that at least part of the effect of EFT is due what we call in NLP a "pattern interrupt" or an "anchor collapse." If phobias are a conditioned response, then techniques used to extinguish conditioned responses should be helpful. Pattern interrupts and anchor collapses are both techniques designed to break apart an old stimulus/response link and may work by the same mechanism as tapping. The Bottom Line: EFT is very quick (1 to 3 sessions) and is not invasive or chemical in nature.

Loren Parks
There's an interesting man named Loren Parks who lives in Aloha, Oregon. I heard about Mr. Parks many years ago when stumbled across some things he'd written. What he said (that many phobias could be easily removed in just a few minutes) didn't make any sense to me. Everybody knows that with a fear that strong you have to be in therapy for years! Then, in the early '90s I started training as a hypnotherapist and an NLP (neurolinguistic programming) Practitioner. As a result of my training and increased awareness of how the mind works I began to change my views. I began to see rapid results and people making permanent positive change for all kinds of things that were "supposed" to be drawn-out and painful. I saw enough evidence to challenge what I had learned growing up about the nature and speed of change. (I don't mean to imply that NLP and hypnosis are the be-all and end-all for everything. Sometimes they just don't work - nothing I know of works 100% of the time.) I would occasionally think back on what I had read and wonder about it. The name "Loren Parks" had stuck in my head and one day I found my self at the computer, typing his name into a search engine. Sure enough, he has a web site and what I had read many years ago now made perfect sense in light of what I had learned. Mr. Park's methods are based on Pavlovian conditioning. Remember, Pavlov fed his dogs and rang a bell whenever dinner was served and linked a bell (stimulus) to a response (salivation). The response included automatic biological and
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emotional responses. Remember too, that it's not "logical" for a bell to cause salivation. Phobias are the same. Fear has been tied to some trigger or stimulus as a result of some emotionally charged incident. They are not logical in nature and battling them with the conscious mind is simply not effective. Some of the techniques that actually work with phobias may not seem logical to you. That's because they're not dealing with the logical part of the mind. Fight fire with fire. Loren Parks puts it this way. He says that with a phobia "You are pulling up from the subconscious the emotions of a previous experience, warning, threat or whatever that at one time elicited an emotional response from you." In order to eliminate a phobia, all we have to do is separate that connection between the stimulus (whatever triggers the phobia) and the response (the phobia). This is accomplished through what NLP calls a "pattern interrupt" combined with expectancy, a slight startle and mental suggestion. To learn more about these ideas, see the Factors for Successful Therapy page.

Overview of Loren Parks' Process

Loren Parks' process goes like this (it takes two people)... First, the phobic is told to imagine themselves in the phobic situation. In other words, if the person is afraid of public speaking, have them imagine they are in front of a group. When they feel the fear, the suggestion is made that on a particular cue, (he usually uses the word "disconnect") they will be disconnected from all the causes of fear they are feeling. Then he claps his hands together sharply and says "disconnect." He repeats the clap and the word twice more in about the space of 5 seconds. Then he phobic is asked to imagine themselves in the situation again and check to see if the fear is gone. You do that until the phobia is gone. When you fix the mind on the idea that the emotions will disconnect (expectancy), give a slight startle and then forcefully generate a command to disconnect the emotion, the subconscious mind can be reprogrammed in an instant. This technique has the added benefit of interrupting the old trigger/fear connection. There's a lot going on in those 5 seconds! The best part is, you can try this for yourself for free! Loren Parks has a number you can call and play a recorded message to get rid of your phobia. If one of his messages doesn't fit your particular situation, he gives you instructions on how to do the process with a friend.
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What have you got to lose? Here's the URL for more information... http://www.psychresearch.com/phobias.html

Palm Therapy
Dr. Moshe Zwang came up with this one. His theory is that "the hand represents some brain activities which relate to the personality and emotions and therefore we can affect the mind through a stimulation on specific lines and areas on the hands which are related to specific personality traits and emotions." During palm therapy, certain areas of the hand are stimulated for a few minutes while the therapist talks to you. Hmmmm... There actually IS some evidence that stimulating parts of the hand can stimulate certain emotional centers of the brain. I'm not so much concerned with why he thinks it works as IF it works. It definitely does work for many people. My personal opinion is that this works more on the principles of expectancy and pattern interrupt. See my Factors for Successful Therapy section for more information on expectancy and pattern interrupt. You can find out more here... http://www.palmtherapy.com/ On this page you can see the results of his therapy with a little girl who was afraid of dogs. http://www.palmtherapy.com/video.html There is a protocol for phobias, based on his work here... http://www.hypnosisfederation.com/ Click on the link that says "--30 Sec. Phobia Cure"

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Factors for Successful Therapy

I've taken a long look at the various phobia treatments, those that work and those that don't. I've come up with a set of commonalities that seem to run through the most effective methods and are lacking in those methods that are ineffective.

Pattern Interrupt
A pattern interrupt is simply interfering with some habitual pattern that our mind runs. An example is pulling your hand away when someone reaches out to shake it. The pattern we want to interrupt is the connection between the trigger and the phobia. Many of the effective treatments include this element. With Loren Parks' methods, the pattern interrupt is the sharp command "disconnect" while you are thinking of your phobia situation. With EFT, it's that darn tapping while you're thinking about your problem. NLP uses anchoring to interrupt an old, "stuck" pattern. Hypnosis is good for dissolving old patterns. It's a gentle, slightly slower pattern interrupt. CBT uses a slow and unnecessarily painful form of pattern interrupt; namely, putting you in your phobic situation and trying to get you to think about it differently.

Expectancy is the fact that our mind tends to carry out ideas that have been introduced to it. Have you ever noticed that people who are about to change lanes on the freeway tend to drift a little bit toward that lane, even before they make their move? The idea of changing lanes was introduced and their body started to carry it out - even before they'd made a conscious decision to do so. Almost any technique introduces the idea that by going through the process you're going to feel differently.

Mental Suggestion
Mental suggestion, when timed and delivered properly can reach the subconscious mind and become ingrained in us as a habitual thought pattern or action - good or bad. Loren Parks methods use metal suggestion. "When they feel the fear, the suggestion is made that on a particular cue, (he usually uses the word
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'disconnect') they will be disconnected from all the causes of fear they are feeling."

When a person is startled, the conscious mind briefly loses it's orientation and the subconscious mind takes over. At this point the subconscious is very open to ideas (this is how your phobia got started in the first place). Once again, Loren Parks' methods use this technique.

Imagination vs. Conscious Understanding

Getting your imagination involved is key to reaching your subconscious mind. Some people think they don't have good imaginations. Well, having a phobia is proof you have a very powerful imagination! NLP is the king here, the methods use your imagination powerfully and in a highly targeted way.

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My Recommendations
First, I encourage you to read this book thoroughly. Read the Social Anxiety article and my comments on it, even if you don't have social anxiety. Once you understand the contents of the book you can make an informed decision as to what to do about your phobia. Here's my philosophy... Start with the safest, quickest, easiest to use therapy that has a good chance of working. If that doesn't cut it, work your way down the scale using the same criteria (safest, quickest and easiest). 1. Loren Parks: Unless you've got agoraphobia, start with the methods of Loren Parks. Mr. Parks says his methods don't work as well with agoraphobia. His method is perfectly safe and you can do it by phone or have a friend help you with it. Best of all, it's free! If you have a problem getting some percentage of your phobia at will (you need to do this to do this technique properly) check out the NLP section on anchoring to learn how to "associate." This will help. 2. NLP: The NLP techniques are not quite as easy to use as Loren Parks' methods but most people can understand them well enough to do them on their own. They are highly effective and there's an assortment of tools, giving you a variety of ways to solve your problem. 3. EFT: It takes a couple of hours to learn the EFT protocol to do on yourself. It's a worthwhile investment of time. With EFT, you can use the tools both as a technique to eliminate your phobia and as a calming mechanism in an anxiety producing situation. 4. Hypnosis: For phobias, I would recommend going to a professional as opposed to self-hypnosis. Make sure you find someone who is well versed in either NLP (many hypnotherapists have NLP training) or regression methods (preferably Dave Elman-style regression). Hypnosis is safe and stress lowering in itself, you'll enjoy it. You should see results either immediately or within three or so sessions. If a hypnotherapist tells you that you need a large number of session (especially for a specific phobia) decline and move on to someone else. 5. EMDR, Palm therapy or most other alternative methods: The things about most "alternative" methods for dealing with phobias is that they are easy to try out and you can tell pretty quickly if they work for you.
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6. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: It works. The reason it isn't higher up the list is that it takes so long. Since I've seen and participated in numerous complete phobia cures that took a couple hours or less, I can't recommend something that takes weeks of sessions as a first alternative. If you try the quick and free stuff and it doesn't work for you, by all means go with CBT. 7. Drugs: Drugs can be used to temporarily lower your general anxiety level while your working on your phobia. If that is absolutely necessary, go ahead (on the advice of a healthcare professional, of course). If nothing else works and your life is terrible because of your phobia, drugs are an option. Otherwise, stay away. 8. Psychoanalysis: There is no reason I can think of to ever go to a psychoanalyst for a phobia.

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Confessions of a Social Anxiety Sufferer

By: Alex Kocan Social Anxiety Disorder is an overall fear of social situations; especially of yourself being the centre of attention. Because paranoid negative thoughts are intrusive the person often finds it difficult to interact with people. This is very frustrating as sufferers want to make new friends but their fears of being judged and being disliked hinder their ability to do so. I arranged to interview a member a Social Anxiety web site about her experience of suffering from SA. She was willing to be interviewed but wished to remain anonymous. I am very grateful to her their contributions. For these purposes let's call her Jenny. Jenny was sixteen when she realised that she had a problem with social interaction, but had never felt comfortable with it. "Everyone seemed to hate me", says Jenny, "and no one ever gave me the chance to get to know them. It was as if they took an instant dislike to me". When asked why she thought this Jenny continued, "Maybe they took my quietness for arrogance or they thought I was extremely ugly". "I'm not sure if I am ugly, but, apparently it's common for people with SA to think they are". Jenny was in her early twenties when she finally plucked up the courage to go to the doctors for assessment by a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, CBT for short. When asked what she felt to finally know why she had the feelings she had. "It was fantastic to have a label", she replied. "At least I wasn't insane, as I thought". From my own personal experience I was told my feelings of embarrassment and isolation were simply due to my shyness. Jenny laughed out of recognition with her self when I recollected my situation. "People always told me that my feelings were normal for someone my age but by the age of 17 they hadn't gone away so I figured they were here to stay". When I asked her what was her biggest fear; without hesitation she said "people!". After a moment she expanded on this rather vague statement by explaining what situations in particular worried her. "I'm scared to walk down the street" [on her own] "especially if someone is walking towards or behind me. I can feel their eyes pushing my eyes towards the ground. Quite often when there are people on the same side of the street I cross over because I'm scared of walking past them. They may think I smell or judge me in some other negative way".

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In Jenny's case she has a considerable fear of her neighbours, not so much because of whom they are, but because they are another thing for her to worry about. "Living on my street has become a total nightmare. There is one family who lives across the road from me who I particularly find intimidating. I used to be best friends with the families daughter while I was at school. But for many years I've been terrified to talk to them. At least once a day I come within inches of them and have been to scared to even look them in the eye. The other day I bumped into the mother in town but she wouldn't look at me and I was to scared to say anything to her. They probably, and why should they, think twice about me. But I'm now too scared to even look out of my bedroom window in case one of them is there". I have heard of people fearing eating in public and of blushing because of SA but other symptoms are common too. Jenny peeked at my questions before I got to them and started replying. "I suffer a lot from nervous sweating. Quite often after walking down the street I have to change my clothes as they are soaking wet. That makes my anxiety even worse because I will be thinking that others will be saying, "Why is she sweating in February? It's freezing cold!". "I have never, until recently, voluntary gone out of the house; especially at night. The reason for that was because I'm scared how people act when they are drunk. They have fewer inhibitions and may start telling me the horrible things they really think about me. It's only the past eight weeks or so that I've been going out at night, and enjoying it". Jenny said the only reason she could do this now was because of treatment she received from her Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. We have already touched on what Jenny thinks people think of her but what does she think when she walks into a crowded room? "Everyone is watching me and I am scared that I will do something really stupid like faint. I'm also worried that I'll start to shake and that everyone is thinking I'm really weird. When I sat at the front of the class at school I could feel all these eyes boring into my flesh, which made me, sweat more. My anxiety wasn't helped by the fact that someone who should have been considerate, my second cousin, actually pointed out the fact that my chair was always wet with sweat after I'd been sitting there. This led to a fear of this happening every time I sat down". Often medical practitioners suggest a medication and therapy combination to help improve SA sufferers' negative thoughts. The medication actually suppresses the negative thoughts, while the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy retrains your brain to think in a more rational manner. When asked if she took any medication Jenny said "Nope!". "I was offered some but was told that the side effects would make me feel more anxious than I already did, so I didn't really want to put myself through that. Also I didn't want to be one of those people who can't cope with life without relying on drugs, that's one of the reasons I don't drink". I respect Jenny's fears about taking medication but millions of sufferers of
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depression and phobias are helped increasingly by the combination mentioned above. "I have a big problem with eye contact. But I am getting better because of CBT". Jenny is making small steps towards improvement, which is very positive. "I can't look people in the eyes. It's that old adage that the eyes are the window into the soul. I'm scared if people look directly into mine they'll see I'm really the horrible person I think I am". Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was just mentioned above but what did it make Jenny feel? "Even though it's helped me a little with eye contact it hasn't really helped with my other thoughts. Basically she" [the therapist] "told me to do things I was scared of. But if you could do that then there wouldn't be a problem would they?". "When I can't do what she tells me she says "well there's no point you coming here telling me you knew what to do but didn't! Is there? That's a waste of my time and yours. My sessions are supposed to last 50 minutes. They normally last about 10 at the most. She doesn't seem to be interested in me, as a person, just my situation. She just gives out orders which are physically and emotionally impossible to follow and my failure to do so makes me feel worse". Like many SA sufferers Jenny suffers in silence, as she fears what her extended family and friends reactions to her condition will be. She bluntly said "none of my friends know about my SA!". It was as if she was scared even at the thought of it. "They wouldn't know what it was and so would ridicule it, and me. They'd just say you're a little shy and I need to meet more people. They don't want to understand something that they don't already know about". I asked if there were to be a highly publicised national campaign about the condition would they be more responsive. "Yes!", she replied. "Definitely! Then they wouldn't think it was a made up problem". Even though she feels observed while walking normally down the street Jenny can use a public swimming pool where in comparison to her normal attire she is naked. "When I go swimming the thoughts of people judging me seem to not affect me so much". "But I do hate the coming through the shower bit when you go into the pool. You're higher up than everyone in the water. It feels as if I'm on stage and they are all down in the audience. I always imagine a voice over the tannoy saying, "ladies and gentlemen please welcome the star of the show" "and everyone laughs at me". For people who have had these troubles all there lives school was an extremely traumatic experience. "I hated school, as it was full over overly confident people who seemed to have no reason to be so. Often when I happened to walk into the path of a bully they took the rip out of my slouched posture and on occasion decided to pick on me for a few days. It never lasted long as I didn't give any reaction to their behaviour. My lack of reaction was mostly out of fear of being ridiculed further. Often they'd make fun of my voice or they'd push me around in
Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 89

lessons. On a few occasions a bully would punch me as hard as they could, which was extremely painful. Because I didn't even ask them to stop they go bored quickly and left me alone. If it hadn't been for me not reacting I think I could have been an open target for bullies. Obviously within a normal conversation there will be silent moments. The reason for this is that there is nothing to say [as an SA sufferer myself I know this deep down], but Jenny describes my feelings exactly. "It feels as if the other person is thinking badly of me". "As a result of this I feel a lot more confident talking on the phone or the Internet". "I've been told on many occasions that I have an extremely good sense of humour and am really funny. But that doesn't come out in real life, as I'm not relaxed enough". The interview ended with the question as to whether SA had effected her emotional and social development in any way. "Yes most definitely", concluded Jenny, "I've never had a boy friend. The thought scares me, as there are more ways in which relationships can damage you than friendships. I'm not sure if that's because of my confidence, but I take that to be because I'm repulsive". Many Social Anxiety sufferers think in similar ways to Jenny. But there is help available. The first hurdle to tackle is to visit your doctor to be assessed. From then on you are not alone. There is no need to suffer in silence.
Written By: Alex Kocan Alex is currently gaining journalism experience by writing on various topics. A few of these include Social Anxiety Disorder, The Beatles and local history. Alex Kocan 300 Bennett Street Long Eaton Nottingham NG10 4JD United Kingdom E-mail Address:- AJKOCAN@AOL.COM

Copyright 2005 Advancing Ideas LLC, All Rights Reserved, pg. 90

A Phobia Sufferer Reveals Her Secrets

If you haven't read the article about "Jenny" the Social Anxiety sufferer, then do so now. The article is called Confessions of a Social Anxiety Sufferer. This page comments on that article and shows you specifically how Jenny's mind creates the phobia and what particular thoughts are driving it. Phobias other than Social Anxiety work the same way. Thoughts drive the fear; when those thoughts are dealt with the fear goes away. If you follow along carefully, you'll also gain tremendous insight into how phobias are generated, how cognitive-behavioral therapy works, its advantages and drawbacks. Even though I've never met or spoken with Jenny, I'd like to thank her for being brave enough to talk about her situation. It's because people like Jenny have come forward that we understand much more about phobias than we did in the past. When I write about Jenny "creating" her phobia, I'm not talking about deliberately bringing a phobia about. I'm talking about thoughts that she has that she doesn't know how to control creating the phobia. When you use techniques that help you gain control over the thoughts, the phobia disappears. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one such set of tools.

Jenny says... "I'm scared to walk down the street, especially if someone is walking towards or behind me. I can feel their eyes pushing my eyes towards the ground. Quite often when there are people on the same side of the street I cross over because I'm scared of walking past them. They may think I smell or judge me in some other negative way". What is Jenny doing, inside her mind that creates these negative feelings? When I say, "Imagine, for a moment that you're approaching your front door," you probably make a mental image of what it's like to approach your front door. You may even have sounds and feelings attached to your scenario. They may not be strong feelings (unless you have strong feelings about your door).

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Most people are not very aware of the mental imagery and sounds that go on in their minds at all times. If I were to ask you what color your best friend's hair is, you would have to make an image of them, in your mind's eye, to answer. To you, it probably seems like you "just know." If you slow your thoughts down a little bit, and become more aware, you'll discover that you are making images. Now, when we make internal images and sounds that have strong emotional content, we feel the emotions attached to them! Take your most pleasant memory, for example. Think about it for a few moments, really get into it. Imagine you're there, not as a spectator, but actually in your own body, experiencing that situations fully. Feels pretty good doesn't it? Jenny is doing something similar but with quite different results. She is making a picture of someone judging her and thinking she smells. All phobias work the same way. The phobic is making a picture (or less often an internal sound) that scares them. As an added bonus, Jenny is probably doing something called "taking second position." She is mentally stepping into the other person and imagining that they are thinking bad things about her. In case this sounds weird, we do it all the time. When we see someone we'd like to emulate, we might imagine what it's like to be them. What we are doing is taking second position, mentally stepping into their lives. Now we can only guess at what their lives are really like. Essentially, we're making it up. For Jenny, taking second position means that she imagines the other person thinking bad things about her. This, quite naturally, leads to negative feelings.

Jenny says... "I suffer a lot from nervous sweating. Quite often after walking down the street I have to change my clothes as they are soaking wet. That makes my anxiety even worse because I will be thinking that others will be saying, "Why is she sweating in February? It's freezing cold!". Understand that what's happening is a vicious cycle for Jenny. She's stepping into her idea of what someone might be thinking and imagining their internal dialog (the voice in their head). Since being nervous makes her sweat more, these thoughts create even more sweating.

Jenny says...
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"I have never, until recently, voluntary gone out of the house; especially at night. The reason for that was because I'm scared how people act when they are drunk. They have fewer inhibitions and may start telling me the horrible things they really think about me...." If Jenny even thinks about going out of the house, this is the scenario she imagines. In Jenny's imagination, she's picturing people telling her "what they really think about her." So, she's also imagined that they think badly of her. It's these thoughts that create the negative feelings.

"It's only the past eight weeks or so that I've been going out at night, and enjoying it." Jenny comments that she can do this because of the treatment she received. Jenny has seen some positive results from her CBT treatment! It does work.

What does Jenny think when she walks into a crowded room? "Everyone is watching me and I am scared that I will do something really stupid like faint. I'm also worried that I'll start to shake and that everyone is thinking I'm really weird. When I sat at the front of the class at school I could feel all these eyes boring into my flesh, which made me, sweat more. My anxiety wasn't helped by the fact that someone who should have been considerate, my second cousin, actually pointed out the fact that my chair was always wet with sweat after I'd been sitting there. This led to a fear of this happening every time I sat down." Here Jenny not only imagines possible negative consequences but runs past negative events to create negative feelings.

Jenny says... "I'm scared if people look directly into mine they'll see I'm really the horrible person I think I am". Not to belabor the point but once again Jenny is imagining a future event that has negative emotions attached to it. Issues of self-esteem may also be involved.

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How effective is her CBT? "Even though it's helped me a little with eye contact it hasn't really helped with my other thoughts. Basically she" [the therapist] "told me to do things I was scared of. But if you could do that then there wouldn't be a problem would they?". "When I can't do what she tells me she says "well there's no point you coming here telling me you knew what to do but didn't! Is there? That's a waste of my time and yours. My sessions are supposed to last 50 minutes. They normally last about 10 at the most. She doesn't seem to be interested in me, as a person, just my situation. She just gives out orders which are physically and emotionally impossible to follow and my failure to do so makes me feel worse". As you can see, this form of therapy has it's drawbacks for Jenny. We have seen that it's her own internal thoughts that are causing the phobia. The way cognitivebehavioral therapy works is by putting the person in the anxiety producing situation and having them confront their fear and challenge their thoughts. Unfortunately, these thoughts Jenny has are difficult to control by conscious effort or willpower. If she could overcome them that way, she would simply will her way out of the phobia. Methods that speak the language of the subconscious mind (rather than logically, conscious confronting of your thoughts) work much more quickly (and a lot less uncomfortably). Working with the subconscious is not that difficult.

How about when she swims??? "When I go swimming the thoughts of people judging me seem to not affect me so much. But I do hate the coming through the shower bit when you go into the pool. You're higher up than everyone in the water. It feels as if I'm on stage and they are all down in the audience. I always imagine a voice over the tannoy saying, 'ladies and gentlemen please welcome the star of the show,' and everyone laughs at me." Now this is interesting. There are times when Jenny is in the public eye and her feelings of other people judging her are not so bad. Were I working with her, we would use those instances as resource states. If you've read the section on anchoring, we could associate her into swimming (when she didn't feel people were judging her) and anchor that emotional state. Then we could maintain that anchor and mentally put her into a situation that would typically be uncomfortable.

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Jenny says... "It feels as if the other person is thinking badly of me". I think you see the pattern by now.

Other phobias are similar in that it is internal imagery and sounds which create the negative feelings. Some phobias are very quick and are very much in the moment while others can cause anxiety for days. A person with a fear of snakes usually flashes a quick picture of a snake in their mind to get the fear. They are most likely unaware of this image (it's very fast). This is the subconscious mind's way of protecting us by saying "remember what happened when we saw that snake when we were seven." People with slower and longer duration phobias (social anxiety, agoraphobia and fear of public speaking come to mind) usually have a significant internal sound component. Often the sounds are internal dialog - "talking to yourself." The most common thing I've found people with fear of public speaking say to themselves is something like "calm down, everything is going to be OK." Unfortunately they say it to themselves in a very stressed voice! The subconscious, emotional mind pays more attention to the tone of voice than the words.

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Thanks for staying with me on this journey. You now have a potent set of tools to use to work with your phobia as well as a wealth of knowledge about phobias, what treatments work and specific techniques for specific situations. Its my hope that youll use these techniques and your newfound knowledge to better your life and the lives of those around you. Sincerely, Keith Livingston

President: Advancing Ideas LLC http://www.phobiascured.com/ keith@phobiascured.com 206.721.8751

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