Do you have fears that you can’t overcome? If you are afraid of insects, snakes, heights, or tight spaces, or have other common phobias, you may make awkward adjustments in your daily life to avoid situations that trigger your worst anxieties. Memories of past frightening experiences may cause you to have a fight or flight reaction. Fortunately it is possible to find relief using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other mind-body spirit approaches.
I have incorporated many of the various techniques I am including in the 18 chapters of Let Magic Happen into the protocol I use routinely with clients in my private practice. This approach is partially summarized in the EFT tapping handout with additional imagery and color reframing components. The introduction and two sample chapters are posted at http://www.letmagichappen.com along with a table of contents.
This newsletter is linked each month to a Blog where I teach the individual steps of the EDANVIR tapping protocol including video demonstrations using generic phrases. In the newsletter, I offer a different clinical example each month illustrating the use of this approach with customized language for each situation. Upcoming newsletters will feature infertility, and attracting abundance.
This month I address phobias, because I’ve worked with claustrophobic patients since my early days in MRI. I’ve also tapped with patients who have fears of insects, airplane flights, needles, and bridges. My next group session in June at Oriental Health Solutions will focus on phobias. The first randomized controlled trial of EFT in 2003 showed better results for EFT than relaxation breathing for relief of phobias of small animals.
My first insect phobia client was a 40 year old woman from the Rice Diet who had just learned EFT for weight loss from me in a group session. She was concerned about going home to Japan where she was often terrorized by the large cockroaches that would appear in her house. It would take her at least a day to go back into a room after she had seen a roach there, and her family was acutely aware of her paralyzing fears.
We spent about 15 minutes tapping on the origins of her “fear of big scary cockroaches” including visualizing her successful return to the house. We later heard that upon returning home she had completely forgotten about her phobia. Her husband and son were amazed to see her pick up a dead roach and throw it outside, both wondering what had happened to her intense fear that had previously controlled her life in the house.
EFT can be very useful in deleting past traumas that lie at the root of most phobias. The approach can be enhanced by combining it with hypnosis techniques such as the visualizations employed in Anodyne Imagery in Chapter 7. After the initial rounds of EFT have decreased the SUD score, the effectiveness can be tested by having the client visualize being back in the phobic situation to see if more tapping needs to be done.
To start the EDANVIR process, you need to temporarily ENERGIZE an effective reminder phrase as detailed in the January Blog. My first client’s phrase was, “I’m afraid of the big scary cockroaches” with a Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) score of 10/10. She then repeated the self-acceptance statement, “Even though I’m afraid of the big scary cockroaches, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times while rubbing the sore spot.
The second step is to DESENSITIZE the phrase by repeating it while tapping on each acupoint in the sequence with the middle finger, just long enough to say the phrase once at each point, as detailed in the February Blog. Start with the left Eyebrow point and proceed downward to the Under Breast point, then finish with the Top of the Head point. At the end of this first tapping sequence, take some deep cleansing breaths to let the negative energy drain back into the ground on expiration.
The third step is to AWFULIZE the anxiety as detailed in the March Blog. Start with the original phrase at the right Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “The roaches are huge; they appear everywhere; I can’t get away; I feel it in in my body; it reminds of big bugs when I was a child; I thought I was over that; I’ll never get relief.” Finish with the original phrase at the Top of Head followed by cleansing breaths.
The fourth step is to NEUTRALIZE the energy by alternating between negative and positive phrases as detailed in the April Blog. Start with the original phrase at the left Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “My fear is gone; No way; maybe it is better; I’m skeptical; my anxiety is less; I can’t believe it; what if it actually works.” Finish with “My fear is fading mysteriously” on Top of Head and breathe again.
The fifth step is to VISUALIZE what you really want to be true using all positive language as detailed in the May Blog. Start at the right Eyebrow saying “I have emotional freedom now,” then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “My roach anxiety is gone; I’ve forgotten it; I tap away my fears; I enjoy being at home; I am safe there; my peace of mind is restored; I am relieved.” Finish with “It feels good to be free” on Top of Head and breathe again.
This time continue breathing deeper and more rapidly than before with eyes closed to INTERNALIZE the healing process. Keep the energies moving by breathing in your favorite healing color and blowing out any remaining fear in your body as a different color. Once the energies are circulated start shaking your arms and legs to REVITALIZE your body until the process is complete. These seven steps make up EDANVIR to immunize you to stress.
While resting with your eyes closed you can go to your favorite vacation spot, or somewhere else that is safe and secure. Use all five of your senses to get comfortable in that preferred place asking yourself: “What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting?” Look down at your feet in this place and pick up any small objects that you find such as stones or shells. Place any remaining fear into the objects and throw them far away.
Imagine yourself in a situation where your phobia typically occurs and see yourself dealing with it successfully. Put a colored frame around this picture. Breathe this color throughout your body. Return to your preferred place. Notice a gift box that you hadn’t seen before. Open it and pull out whatever is inside. Accept the gift and the lessons you learned from your past fears. Come back relieved and ready to move on in your life with safety and ease.
Please review the other related materials at http://www.letmagichappen.com and the Let Magic Happen Blog. Feel free to post any comments you have on the Blog regarding the use of this approach for Phobia Relief. I am planning a sequel to the book based on readers’ experiences with the techniques, so if you share an interesting story, I may ask you for permission to reproduce it.
Happy tapping and let magic happen!
Larry Burk, MD, CEHP