Phobias, - overcoming them and getting your life back
Can you imagine being so scared of frogs that you couldn’t sleep in your own bed, if there was one at the door? or get out of your car if there was one in your driveway?
People know that most of the ordinary frogs in Australia are harmless, they are not poisonous, they don’t bite. They are slimy, noisy and they jump though. Why do some people get heart palpitations and start to feel panicky, just by looking at a frog?
This is what is known as a phobia is – “an irrational fear or aversion to something”
For instance, it is not rational to break out into a sweat and get palpitations just by looking at a picture of a frog. This is how a recent client, David*, reacted when looking at photos of frogs, let alone a real frog. If he saw a live frog outside his door or his car, he would start hyperventilating and would go into panic mode, and would not get out of the car or stay in the house. It was embarrassing for him, he couldn’t tell his friends because they would just make fun of him. Only David’s family knew of his phobia and how bad his reactions were, and they were careful to be more aware and considerate for him about frogs.
David then heard about Brain Coaching and thought he would give it a try – he had nothing to lose.
The first step in Brain coaching is to uncover the original trigger for the phobia to begin with. It is not necessarily anything to do with the phobia in question. In this case we discovered an event that was quite emotional for him, and this emotional response would be triggered every time he saw a frog. Then it became an habitual response. The second step is to resolve and come to terms with that original trigger, so that it doesn’t have such an emotional impact on you.
Over a series of 3 sessions David gradually came to be able to look at photographs of real-life frogs (not just cartoon pictures of frogs). Soon after this he had an incident at home, it was a warm night, so he had the door open but the screen door shut. There had been a lot of rain recently and the frogs had come out. There were quite a few congregating on the outside of his screen door. Normally this sort of incident would have him hyper-ventilating, slamming that door and leaving the house by another door. However, because of the brain coaching, he was able to sit there and calmly observe them and tell himself that he was okay. David was very proud of himself that he could withstand this episode. He could still feel his skin crawl slightly, but at least he wasn’t panicking.
To people who don’t suffer from phobias this sort of behaviour is hard to comprehend – “Why would anyone get so worked up over something so simple?”, they would probably be thinking. This is what a phobia is – it is a fear that is not logical. I have even heard of someone who has a phobia about cupcakes and breaks out into a sweat looking at the holes in the cake!
In Brain coaching we aim to bring the logic back in to take over from the automatic emotional reaction. Rather than being ruled by these emotional reactions and your life being impacted, we encourage you to develop new neural pathways by repeating positive behaviours and mantras – ie. “ I am safe”; or “ I am calm”, etc. This is after we have identified the original emotional trigger and resolved it.
Well, the icing on the cake, or the epilogue to David’s story, is that he doesn’t need any more brain coaching sessions. David recently went on a picnic with the family to a river near the coast, after all the rain that the eastern coast of Australia has had recently. They got out of the car at this picnic spot, only to find that he was standing amongst thousands of little jumping frogs! And guess what happened? He stayed calm, then carefully walked away. His family standing by, could not believe it! He was so happy in re-telling me this story, and proud of his reaction. He said that in the past he would have ‘freaked out’ and spoilt the picnic for the rest of the family. You can imagine how good he feels about himself and how relieved he feels that he has overcome this phobia.
This brain coaching method can work with all sorts of phobias, so if you are suffering or know of someone who suffers from a phobia, let them know about Brain Coaching, or go to my website and arrange a free 30 minute introductory session.