A phobia is any consistent, automatic, sudden, negative kinesthetic response to a certain input. For example, a manic fear of heights, of snakes, of somebody running their nails down a blackboard, or it could be pretty much anything. It is not just something one doesn't like, not just something one reacts to, it is a violent, uncontrollable response one gets every time the stimulus is there.
A phobia is installed by some kind of traumatic incident having overwhelmed the person at some point. The trouble is that they can be difficult to re-experience the usual way, because the reaction is so intolerable to the person that she can't stand enduring it for any amount of time.
The solution is to break up the automatic mechanism. The phobia response is based on a forward moving, associated reaction. You see the snake, you freak out. We can break that up by dissociating it and reversing it until a threshold is crossed.
We use a visualization to facilitate the dissociation. The client will imagine that she is sitting in a movie theater looking up at the screen. On the screen will be a frame from an incident where she had the phobic response, preferably the basic incident if it is known. The movie will be frozen on a black and white picture at the end of the incident, after having had the response. So, she is sitting down in the theater, dissociated from the scene of the movie up on the screen where she sees herself at the end of having the response. Then we dissociate one step further, by moving up into the projection booth of the movie theater, sitting behind the glass, watching herself sitting down there, watching the movie. When that is accomplished we now start running the movie up on the screen, very quickly, in full color, BACKWARDS to the beginning. Once it has rolled backwards in full color, we again put it back to the end and freeze it in black and white. Then we repeat it, quickly running it backwards in color. We repeat that a number of times until the mechanism breaks up. It is likely to take not much more than 10 times. Our target is to break up the mechanism of stimulus-response. By reversing it repeatedly, we will break through a threshold.
Once the threshold is broken, the response is generally not there anymore. It is a good idea to test it right away, to establish the fact and take a win. If she was afraid of snakes, find a snake and let her hold it. If she was afraid of heights, find the highest building you can find and let her take the outdoor elevator up to the roof.
Only use this technique on phobias. It is not for general use on incidents.
- If you can find somebody with a phobia, do the phobia cure on them