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Fears And Phobias


A skeptic, escalator & freeway phobias and converging lines (with a lead in discussion on "getting worse")

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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,

About a year ago "Bobby", a true skeptic, ordered the EFT Course. We had some phone discussions beforehand and he said he would "try it out" on some undisclosed emotional issues of his. A year went by and he finally called me two nights ago announcing that he had "tried it" and things only got worse. Of course I would have preferred it if he had said that (1) his business had tripled, (2) his relationships were ecstatic, (3) he no longer needed his Viagra and (4) he was going to send me a new Ferrari as a thank you. But this was not to be.

Once in awhile people say that EFT makes them "worse." While that is their perception, it's not what I hear. Instead, my experience tells me that "getting worse" really means that a surface issue has been handled thereby paving the way for a more intense issue to show up. The client, not being aware of this, thinks the tapping made him worse.

Upon discussion, I learned that Bobby had been through many years of therapy for a variety of issues, including agoraphobia (apparently resolved). He had a fairly long list of existing issues which he was currently "working on" and among them was a freeway driving phobia and an escalator phobia. I suspicioned, of course, that in the process of using EFT on these phobias he was actually giving relief to some surface items which then cleared the way for him to "tune in" to more substantial issues. His way of describing getting "worse" was to say that he had increasing anxiety (a rather global term, at least to me).

Rapport was important in this case, especially given the skepticism involved. So I entertained his many technical questions and challenges, often stating things like....

"I'm not sure if this is right. At this stage we have more questions than answers."

"Your increased anxiety could be due to many things. In my experience, though,....."

"We have our theories, of course, but the bottom line is--does it work?"

These statements are both true AND appropriate for a skeptic. They have a way of complying with the skeptics beliefs while paving the way for some openness. Anyway, they held his interest and allowed me to poke around a bit into some specifics behind these phobias. In the conversation, Bobby mentioned he had an "eye problem" associated with the phobias. It was as though his eyes became tired or fatigued when looking down an escalator or down the freeway. In both cases, the movement of people or cars passing him seemed to aggravate the problem.

It usually helps to delve into details when an issue doesn't seem to move normally. In this case, I immediately saw a parallel between Bobby's phobia and a discovery by Dr. Roger Callahan that height phobias are often NOT a reaction to heights. Instead, they are a response to the "converging lines" one sees while looking off of a high building or over a cliff. These converging lines can generate a sense of being "pulled" in the direction of the lines, thereby creating a response which the client labels as fear. This, in my opinion, is a genius insight which, if you think about it, is also common sense. Why, for example, does someone with a "height phobia" have no problem looking out of an airplane window (several miles high) but has a great problem looking over a 4 story balcony. This suggests it is not a height phobia after all. Rather, it is a converging line phobia.

Bobby picked up on this instantly. It made great sense to him. Both escalators and freeways had converging lines and he felt that his "eye fatigue" was due to his inability to look at them. So we did several rounds of EFT for looking down escalators and for looking down freeways. I had him imagine both instances and he got a "pressure in the head" of a 6 or 7. We tapped a few rounds until the pressure dropped to between zero and 0.5. We included people and cars whizzing by him as some of the aspects.

When we were done, of course, we had no way of knowing if we were successful in reducing or eliminating the phobic response. Only the real world circumstance can tell us that. Some practitioners muscle test at this point to see if they are done. This can be a worthwhile clue, of course. But, to me, the bottom line is what happens in the real world situation. Since we were on the telephone in our respective living rooms, there were no escalators or freeways to allow us to test our result. Maybe there was more to do, maybe not.

I don't know if I will hear from Bobby again. He is going out of the country soon and may or may not let me know about the long term results. However, I just received this encouraging email from him (notice the skepticism about the "taps").

Dear Gary,

Thanks for yesterday. Redefining the problem as "converging lines" -- a visual, rather than a phobic problem -- has made a huge difference in my head. And it makes so much sense when I look at how it's developed and how I have compensated. How much is the taps, I can't tell you, but I know the concept helped a LOT. I drove the freeway a LITTLE today. Two times, with a lunch break between. First time I was nervous with a little head pressure -- a 4 maybe. Second time I actually relaxed a bit after I got on the freeway, maybe a 2. I believe in baby steps so I stopped there, even though I wanted to do more. I'm also a firm believer in quitting while you look forward to more. So I'm eagerly looking forward to my next chance.

I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, thank you. I'm more hopeful than in 2 years!


Hugs, Gary

Responses to this message (names withheld for privacy reasons)

RESPONSE #1: Thank you for the post on converging lines. I suddenly realized why a highway phobic (who had a trauma on a five lane highway) was making slow progress. She actually speaks about not being able to look to her left because she will see the lanes.

I called her after I read the post and it made a great deal of sense to her.

RESPONSE #2: This passage is of great help to me. I was at your Oakland workshop not too long ago, where I was part of a demonstration of tapping on phobias. My issue was riding in a car, and especially on bridges. This converging lines info is something I am going to tap about. It's definitely key to the problem. On bridges, even more so in tunnels, I feel as if the walls are going to come smashing into the car I'm riding in. I can also see now that part of the problem for me of riding in traffic with several lanes of cars is that the lines converge ahead of me, so it seems that the cars on each side are going to come crashing into me, like there isn't enough space for my car. This is already triggering other aspects for me. Thank you so much for sharing this info.


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