“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”
How do I even begin to describe this? When the mere threat of danger, pain, or harm causes you to feel fearful. Irrational fears are threats of danger with no logic or rationale.
Let me name you three:
There is absolutely no sense, logic, or reason to this. In fact, it is downright irrational.
Is it possible that you’re afraid something that isn’t real? But phobias and irrational fears are very real and can cause issues in everyday life.
According to Psychology Today, “at least 60% of adults admit to having at least one unreasonable fear.” In the United States alone, 19.2 million adults suffer from phobias (source: the National Institute of Mental Health).
Fear, whether real or perceived, can be crippling. But it’s there. A nagging fear that prevents you from living a healthy, normal life.
It is not something you will be proud of. In fact, you would be too embarrassed or too afraid to even say a word about it.
[If you already know what your irrational fears and phobias are and want to get right to the point, you can skip ahead to the technique. You’ll learn the most effective method for overcoming your phobias and irrational fears.]
You can classify an intense, irrational fear as a phobia. It is a fear of something or a situation that is unreasonable, persistent, and excessive.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) divides phobias into three groups:
Social phobias (also known as social anxiety disorder) are irrational fears of being judged by others. One extremely common social phobia is performance anxiety. This includes giving a speech, dancing or playing a musical instrument on stage.
People with performance anxiety may be apprehensive about failing a task even before it begins. These fears can be so severe and intense that they prevent them from going to work, school, or accomplishing simple tasks.
A person suffering from this irrational fear will most likely avoid new places and unfamiliar situations. Crowds, enclosed spaces, and public transportation may seem threatening to a person suffering from agoraphobia.
People with phobias are often distressed by their fears. They will go to great lengths to avoid the object or event that triggers their fear.
Irrational fears are actually learned behaviors. If you have a phobia, you have probably acquired it through learning.
Stanley Rachman, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, outlined three ways you could have “learned” your phobia:
Have you ever placed your hand on a hot stove and gotten burned? As a result, your brain connects two unrelated elements – the hot stove and pain.
This associative learning process is known as classical conditioning.
This type of learning (also known as modelling or vicarious reinforcement) is very common during childhood.
When a child sees his mother’s scared reaction to spiders, he may imitate the behavior even though spiders have never presented any danger to him.
Studies have proven that feeding a child with negative information might lead to the development of phobias.
For example, if a parent repeatedly tells her child how dangerous snakes are, the child may develop a fear of snakes.
Rachman has posited that:
“Information-giving is an inherent part of child-rearing and is carried on by parents and peers in an almost unceasing fashion, particularly in the child’s earliest years.
It is probable that informational and instructional processes provide the basis for most of our commonly encountered fears of everyday life.”
Most of us developed phobias when we were kids. Traumatic events, biological factors, and habits acquired from parents can all contribute to a person’s phobia.
Fortunately, not everyone who sees, hears, or experiences bad things develops a specific phobia. And while it is a tall order to unlearn your phobias, it is possible to reverse them with new learning.
What are your irrational fears? And how do you deal with them?
There are many approaches when it comes to getting rid of your irrational fears. But none of them is as magical as this one.
Imagine what it would be like to be able to overcome your phobia or irrational fear in just 15 minutes. That’s right. A fear that you have ‘had’ for most of your life can disappear as if you never had it in the first place.
Just like how your mind “learned” about the phobia, it can also learn how not to be phobic. And your mind can pick it up just as easily as you picked up the phobia.
This fast phobia cure, also known as the rewind technique, is the brainchild of Richard Bandler, the co-founder of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)*.
* NLP is a psychological technique for influencing your brain’s (Neuro) processing of the words you use (Linguistic) and how that impacts your past, present, and future (Programming).
The Rewind Technique works by “reprograming” your traumatic memory. It neutralizes your feelings about the event that created phobic reactions in you.
What makes this method effective and unique is that it treats the cause, not the symptoms. Most of the other treatments on the phobic symptoms where you need to confront your fears head on.
A lot of people find this challenging as it takes time to effect a cure. And it might even exacerbate the symptoms.
But the Rewind Technique treats the cause by eradicating the phobia’s underlying pattern. And with the pattern removed, the phobia does not exist anymore!
If you are ready to put your phobias behind you, here is the script for the Rewind Technique/Fast Phobia Cure.
This technique* works by dissociating you from your phobia. You’ll be replaying your phobic experiences and “observing” them from the perspective of an audience or a third person.
1. Find a place where you can be comfortable, relaxed and without interruption. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Recall a time in your life when you felt real joy.
2. Relax and allow your mind to access an event in your life where you felt genuinely happy. As soon as you feel joy fill your entire being, make a fist with your dominant hand.
3. Next, imagine yourself all alone in a cinema, seated comfortably and waiting in anticipation for a movie to begin. Allow yourself to feel safe and secure here.
4. As you look around, you can see a movie projector behind you and a huge screen in front of you. On the screen, you can see a version of yourself.
5. With your eyes still closed, imagine yourself floating out of your body and up to the booth where the projector is. From this position, you can see yourself sitting in a movie theatre watching a movie version of yourself.
6. Imagine that you have a remote control with you. This device will enable you to control the speed, sound, and color of your movie. Whenever you feel fear sneaking into your mind during this procedure:
7. From the projection booth behind the theatre, see yourself watching a movie of the time when you first experienced the phobia. Play this movie in black and white and watch it in its entirety. Once you have watched the entire film, rewind it to the beginning and watch it once more.
8. Using the remote control, watch it for the third time at a higher speed. You can watch this movie as many times as you need at a higher speed. Pause, rewind, or speed it up until you feel comfortable watching yourself experience the phobia.
9. Once you get a feeling of comfort and security, freeze the frame of the movie and black out the picture. Slowly float back into your body in the theatre seat.
10. Now, play the movie backward in full color. Run through the movie in backward motion as fast as you can. Then clear the screen by making the screen black and putting yourself back in at the end of the movie.
Repeat this as many times as necessary until you feel comfortable with the process. Once you feel comfortable with this process, create a movie of yourself in the future.
Imagine how different your life will be in the future. Visualize yourself attaining all of your goals and accomplishing everything you desire.
Take your time. When you feel completely safe and secure, you can open your eyes.
There are a few variations to the Fast Phobia Cure that you can use to make it more effective. Each time you replay the movie, add some new elements to it:
1. If there are characters in your movie, give them comical voices.
2. Add in a funny soundtrack.
3. Imagine there were cartoon characters running through the movie.
4. Change the focus of the movie and make it blurry.
Once you have completed this exercise, do you feel more relaxed and feel empowered to live a fuller life?
A final point about the Fast Phobia Cure. Even if you’re certain that it worked, you might want to put it to the test. This is to ensure that all your phobias and irrational fears are gone. If you have a phobia of heights, look out the window of a 5-story building. Notice and see if your feelings about heights have changed.
The Fast Phobia Cure Script was created to assist my clients in conquering their fears. Though it can be used to work on phobias and irrational fears, the information offered here is solely for educational purposes only. By no means do I intend to establish a patient-therapist relationship by your use of this script.
Dissociation is a therapeutic phenomenon that occurs when you watch a movie about your phobia. This action establishes a separation between you and your phobia.
As a result, you can witness this event without being overcome by fear. You then drifted into the projector room and saw yourself in the theatre seat.
This as a “double dissociation” because you are observing yourself watch a movie about yourself.
In a dissociative state, you have distanced yourself from the emotions of fear and trauma. The emotional impact has become less and less intense each time you replay the movie.
Especially when you run the movie in black and white. The Fast Phobia Cure works so successfully because it is able to take advantage of how your brain functions.
Remember when you were learning how to ride a bicycle? Each time you ride a bike, your brain creates a neural pathway.
With enough repetition, your behaviors run on auto-pilot. This means you don’t need to re-learn how to ride a bike each time you get on the saddle.
You may say the same thing about your fears. If you were afraid of spiders as a kid, your brain developed a neural pathway for spider fear.
As a result, being in the presence of a spider triggers an automatic fear response. When you play the movie backwards, the memories that give rise to your phobias are scrambled.
And the phobia’s neurological pathways are obliterated.
There you have it – the ultimate way to overcome your phobias and irrational fears with the Fast Phobia Cure. If you have used the script, what you will have experienced is a process of rapid dissociation.
This strategy allows you to experience the traumatic events and memories (that created your phobia) in a dissociated and calm state of mind.
Your rational mind works to neutralize those memories and convert them into ordinary, non-threatening ones. Without the emotional element that created the fear, your phobia has been rendered impotent.
And it is no longer a part of your life.