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Fears And Phobias


A height phobia in Poland with a classic Apex response.

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

Ann Adams took a trip to Poland recently to visit Michal, her Polish 'son'. During the visit, she addressed Michal's height phobia which, as it turns out, was not without its challenges. Please note the following features of this case...

1. Michal did not want to have anything to do with the Setup statement so Ann proceeded without it--and achieved success. Not all parts of the EFT process are necessary for everyone at all times. We include them all as part of The Basic Recipe because you never know for sure who needs what. They only take seconds to do and thus overkill is better than underkill.

2. Ann does the "tapping while talking" technique wherein Michal describes his fears while tapping. This is a quality way of tuning in to the problem--a necessary requirement for EFT.

3. The entire EFT process was done without Michal being anywhere near heights. Nonetheless, his fear of heights was nowhere to be found when he later found himself in high places.

4. His response to this dramatic improvement was a classic example of the Apex effect. He explains it away by saying, "I guess I just grew out of it."

Hugs, Gary

by Ann Adams

Michal is my Polish 'son'. He lived with us for a year, three years ago, as an exchange student. This summer I had the opportunity to visit him and his family in Poland. With red hair, a face full of freckles, big blue eyes and an impish grin he still looks younger than his now 19 years. He works full time for a bank and attends college in Warsaw. Michal is the kind of hard working, very serious student the teachers love. Too serious, in fact. Many times I worked at getting him to loosen up and NOT be quite SO serious.

But Michal was very afraid of any sort of height. He was OK if there was a guard rail and he stood back from the rail. But being around any sort of serious, non-protected height would cause him to turn sort of green and refuse to get anywhere close. On one outing, while he lived with us in the U.S., we drove to a spot overlooking Little River Canyon in North Georgia. The others in the party sat on a ledge about three feet from a rock formation about 10 feet wide. A safe spot to sit actually. However, after the 10 foot wide ledge there was a BIG drop.

Michal would not come within 40 feet of the sitting spot. He paced the back of the area for half an hour until we tired of sitting and walked up to where he paced. We then hiked awhile in the wooded area close by. Michal would not let us forget how dangerous of a situation he believed we had been in.

When I became interested in energy psychology I e-mailed Michal messages of my experiences and successes and told him we could work on his fear of heights while I was in Poland. I could tell I had piqued this very serious young man's curiosity because the first time we were able to talk alone he brought up the subject. "You said you could fix my height fear," (Not exactly what I said, but I let it go.)

I had written him about the EFT process but he said he'd wanted to wait until I was with him to show him so he could "do it correctly". I went back over the steps of the process. He said it sure looked silly but he could try it except for the "talking part", meaning the set up statements. I don't push. I have seen this process be very helpful and calming even without a set up statement. (I teach the process to the residents of the facility for severely emotionally disturbed children where I work so they can use it in the privacy of their own room. I am an administrator, not the therapist, and I deal mostly with the residents' immediate upsets.)

However, Michal has a long term, very close and trusting relationship with me and he even refused to let me say the set up statements for him. Then, to make matters worse, he said he could not work up any upset about heights since he wasn't in the situation now. I reminded him of the Little River Canyon incident. He said he sure was worried at the time we would fall but that it didn't upset him now. His body language told me differently. I figured that was as close to a SUD [0-10 intensity scale] as I was going to get!

I told him that we would talk about that incident and other height related incidents while we tapped on the spots. I tapped the sequence repeatedly along with him for several minutes as I kept him talking about various situations in which he had been fearful about the height. When he ran out of height incident details, I suggested he close his eyes and picture himself at the Little River Canyon again walking as close to where we were sitting as he could. He said he figured he was about 6 feet away from us. He told me he wouldn't want to get closer that because it would be possible to trip. (That conservative nature again.) When I told him that was a big improvement over the actual 40 feet, he denied he had been that far away. He said he had the problem since he was a little boy and he probably would always be that way. We agreed the real test would be when he was in a situation actually involving being up high. His mother came in the room and announced supper and neither EFT nor heights was mentioned again.

Four days later we took a trip to the oldest operating salt mine in the world outside of Krakow. The tour was fascinating, even if in Polish! But what was even more fascinating was Michal's lack of any reaction to the heights involved in the 1 1/2 hour descent into the cavernous salt mine. And the next day in Krakow, he climbed the steps to a bell tower. The view of the lovely city was a real treat. Michal and I stood side by side right up against the rail admiring the scenery. On the way down the steep 400 year old stairway (about 5 stories high) I remarked that he didn't seem to be worried about all the heights we had been around. "Oh, it was never really bad," he said, "I guess I just grew out of it."

Who knows?

Ann Adams


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