I love working with fears and phobias. I love the look of surprise and quizzical disbelief when I 'future pace' the result. Future Pacing is basically testing out a future scenario when usually the client would have a phobic response and noticing how that's changed or gone completely. There is disbelief because their phobia has become part of their identity - they cannot remember a time when they didn’t ‘do it’. It’s become so much part of them that they’ve often adapted their lives to avoid, accommodate or manage their fear - and now it’s gone.
Now they can do things that they haven’t been able to do before - go to certain places, fly, touch things, be near things, go outside in a storm, watch certain programmes on TV - things that most other people take for granted.
And whilst it's not always in under an hour, it's usually pretty quick. Sometimes it’s taken more than one session, not because it hasn’t worked, but because the client couldn’t quite believe that it had. They wanted another session, just to be sure!!
And that’s another reason people are so surprised at the results, because it’s so quick. How can something that they’ve had or ‘done’ for so long be gone so quickly? It’s at that stage I usually remind them of how quickly they ‘learned’ to do it in the first place. Fears and phobias are often learned very quickly, often as a result of only one experience or maybe a couple.
As humans we are hardwired to learn very quickly - especially when it comes to survival. “X caused Fear/Harm = Avoid X”. And that’s okay except that humans and other creatures are great at seeing patterns and forming generalisations and sometimes those generalisations are very blunt and debilitating. This can happen with habits, compulsions and superstitions. The great behavioural scientist B F Skinner noticed how even pigeons could develop ‘superstitious’ behaviour. Pigeons were kept in boxes and when they pecked a lever they were given a reward. He noticed that some pigeons turned anti-clockwise once before pecking at the lever. Why? Because they had quite accidentally done this on one or two occasions in the past before pecking the lever and being rewarded. They had ‘learned’ falsely that it was the whole ‘ritual’ of turning then pecking that led to the reward - a blunt generalisation. Fears and Phobias are often blunt generalisations and outdated responses and those that suffer them know this - but ‘consciously’ can’t change it.
That’s why NLP and Hypnosis are so effective - it bypasses conscious rationalisation and goes to the root of the problem, how it’s been ‘wired’ or programmed in the individual - and changes it. Simple really!