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Fears And Phobias


Up, up and away--the fear of flying

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I flew to Southern California for my high school reunion (my 40th--sigh!). As the plane was about to take off I heard the lady behind me say, "Airplanes terrify me!!" It was too late to do anything about it at the moment because the engines were roaring and the plane was rumbling down the runway. Within moments, however, we were up, up and away into what was soon to become the friendly skies of EFT.

This story has a happy ending (surprise, surprise) as do most of the case histories brought onto this forum. In addition to the general story, however, I thought I would dive into some of the details of the process. This way we can get a closer look at the inner workings of the case with the hope that some of us might find ways to expand our "art of delivery."

About 10 minutes into the flight I turned and looked over the back of my airplane seat as I introduced myself to "Ginny." I was a stranger to her, of course, and had to ease into rapport if I was to make use of this strange appearing technique in front of a planeload full of people.

"Did I hear you say that airplanes terrify you?"

"Yes, they always have."

"How are you doing now?"

"Right now, I'm very calm. It's the take-off that really gets to me."

Now this is important. Subtle, but important. When she said she was very calm, I didn't believe her. At least I didn't take her literally. Not that she was lying to me, mind you, but I find that clients' words don't always reflect what they truly mean. Call it experience or intuition if you want, but what I interpreted her as REALLY saying was, "Right now, I'm very calm compared to what I was during take-off--but I'm still really tense."

So I said, "There's a 50% chance that I can help you get rid of that fear painlessly." (Note: I used 50% in this case because 90% to a newcomer is probably outside their beliefs--and thus a rapport breaker).

"Are you a psychologist?"

"No, but I teach the technique to psychologists and therapists all over the world." (Note: you might say, "I'm a therapist and am one of hundreds around the world that are using this technique successfully.")

"Are you going to hypnotize me?"

"No. Are you familiar with acupuncture?" (Note: I'm searching for a hook within her belief system on which I can hang EFT)


"Have you had it done to you with success."

"No, but my daughter has."

"Well, this is a psychological use of the acupuncture meridians. Only we don't use needles. We tap with our fingertips while repeating some words. It's quite painless but it also looks a little strange. Want to try it?" (Notice the link between her belief system and EFT--"this is a psychological use of the acupuncture meridians...").


"I know you feel relatively calm now (plugging into her earlier statement and injecting the word 'relatively') but are there any physical sensations in your body that might be related to the experience of being on this airplane?"

"My head feels heavy."

"On a scale of 0-10 where 10 is the heaviest your head has ever been and 0 is no heaviness at all, estimate where it is right now."

"About a 5."

"OK, just tap here (I demonstrate the karate chop point) and say these words whether you believe them or not." (Note: I often ask them to say the words whether they believe them or not. This seems to unload what, to some, are awkward statements. Also note that those who truly don't believe the PR affirmation statements will still have an emotional reaction which, of course, leads you right into a significant tappable issue).

"Even though I have this head heaviness, I deeply and completely accept my self." (she repeats this statement)

"Even though I don't deserve to get over this head heaviness, I deeply and completely accept myself." (she repeats this statement) (Note: I intuitively chose to use this "deserve" level of the PR correction. I believe it was useful because of the knowing expression that appeared on her face as she said it. I suspect we could have solved the problem without it but this probably got to the core a little quicker. A thank you to Dr. Fred Gallo for developing this as well as the "safety" level of PR correction. I included the safety level next even though, intuitively, I didn't think I needed it).

"Even though it may not seem safe to get over this head heaviness, I deeply and completely accept myself." (she repeats this statement)

Ginny tapped the EFT shortcut sequence (EB through UA) and went from a 5 to a 2. One more round and she went to a 0. She was impressed. I then had her imagine the take-off and she could only get to a 3. One more round and she went to 0. I then had her vividly imagine her worst take-off experience and asked her to exaggerate the entire experience to try to get herself upset. She couldn't get above a 0.

Then I noticed that she was strapped into her chair so I asked her if she would be willing to unbuckle her seat belt and walk up and down the aisle. She said she would be a 7 or 8 if she did so. Again, I didn't believe her statement. Intuitively, I thought she was done. People will often expect to have an intense emotional reaction to a formerly fearful event BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN. Their reaction, I often find, is to what they THINK it would be--not what it would actually be. Nonetheless, in the interest of minimizing pain, we did two rounds on "walking in the aisle" and it went to 0. She unbuckled her seat belt and, for the first time in her life, walked up and down the aisle with complete emotional freedom.

I asked Ginny to let me know if she had any more intensity as the flight proceeded and then resumed sitting in my seat. She had no problems for the entire flight. When we landed, the plane appeared to be going faster than usual and the pilot had to rev up (reverse) the engines to a greater degree than usual in order to slow the plane down. This made a much greater than normal (and scary) racket which caused just about everyone some concern (me too). When it was over I turned to Ginny and asked her, "How was that?" She laughed and said, "It was kinda fun."

Is Ginny done with her fear of flying. I think so. However, the proof is always in the real life situation. If she flies again (she is more than willing to do so) she may have some intensity on the take-off. If so, she is likely a round or two of tapping away from complete resolution of the problem.

Hope this helps, Gary

Note: About 5 months later Ginny called me stating that she had been on airplanes several times since and has had no problems whatsoever.


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