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A Height Phobia with an unusual cause.

A published Article by Christine Sutton.

Hi Gary,

This was an interesting case I dealt with recently where there was an unusual issue behind a height phobia. The use of freeform EFT with the rambling set-ups to identify the relevant issues and aspects made this fairly easy to collapse.

Kay (name changed) came to me for relief of a height phobia which was becoming very intrusive in her life as it was preventing her from flying, going into any high building or crossing bridges. She seemed very anxious and nervy about trying EFT and about life in general.

We did 2 preliminary rounds of basic EFT on feeling nervous about doing EFT which settled her and also introduced her to the procedure. Initial conversation showed that she had no conscious memory of a triggering event e.g. a fall or being stuck in a high place. This was not likely to be a simple phobia!

I asked how she felt if she thought about being in a high place such as the top of a tall building. She answered that she did not know, and when invited to guess at what her response might be she again said that she did not know i.e. did not want to go there at all. However, as she answered she shuddered and her hands started shaking so we did 2 or 3 rounds on "Even though I've got this jittery, shaky feeling just by talking about high places........" The 0-10 intensity moved down from 9-7.

This was some improvement but not much so I focused in and asked her for a specific time when she had felt like this before. She went straight to a memory of driving in Italy up a mountain road with a rock face on one side of the car and a sheer drop on the other. She had to keep going as she was the only driver present but was sweating and shivering as she drove and could only look straight ahead at the road. By the time she reached the hotel at the top she was so distressed that she fell over and could not get up without help. As she told the story her real time reaction increased to 10 - she really was shivering and shaking.

We tapped 4 rounds on different aspects - "this shivery shaking", "this hot and sweaty feeling", "this panic", "fear of that road". When asked for her intensity on each she said that perhaps it had gone down from 10-9. I felt she was humouring me - a clue in itself as it gave insight into her personality. Then she added spontaneously "I feel so ashamed of myself, acting like a silly child!" Another clue! We tapped for the shame aspect and reduced it to 0 in 2 rounds.

I asked her to tell me the story of the drive again and she went to an intensity of 8. Not much improvement, so I used a rambling type set-up, throwing in several phrases which were relevant. The one which caught her attention was "I feel so unsupported" and we then reduced this from 8-4 in 2 rounds. At last we were making progress!

I asked when else she had felt unsupported and she went straight to an incident when she had got into trouble at school and her mother had said that she must deal with it herself as she was a big girl now (she was 8). 10+ on this. We tapped on "My mother wouldn't help me..." then reframed to "perhaps she was busy that day, perhaps she wasn't very well but she still loved me" and reduced the intensity to 5.

I asked "Did she love you?" Kay answered "Oh yes! She put me on a pedestal!" The penny dropped for me then, and we tapped a long rambler including "Mom loved me so much she put me on a pedestal...it was very high and I was afraid of letting her down and falling off it....( Kay's eyes went very round and she said "Oh!" as the penny dropped for her too)...I accept and love myself and I forgive myself for trying to live up to impossible expectations all my life from Mom and everyone else including myself".

The intensity dropped to 0 within 3 rounds. As a test I asked her to recreate the drive up the mountain road in great detail in imagination - no reaction. I asked her to imagine stopping the car and getting out - no reaction. Then I asked her to imagine walking to the edge of the road to look over the drop. This pushed her back up to 5 which we tapped down until she could look and comment what a beautiful view it was.

I gave her a visualisation of an eagle flying in the clear air in front of her and asked "Do you want to be free like the eagle? " "Oh yes!" she said with some tears. So we did another rambler including the phrases "....clear air around me, no one expecting anything I can't give, I can breathe here, I choose to release all expectations and just be myself because I do so many things so well...I choose to forgive my mother for putting me up on that impossible pedestal....I choose to forgive myself for anything I have done to contribute to this....Now I choose to let all of this go forever...I choose to be free of fear... I choose to fly free like the eagle....." She has some tears and released some huge sighs as we processed different parts of all of this.

I tested her in imagination on as many aspects as possible and got no reaction except feelings of peace and joy.

As I write this Kay is on holiday in France and will be testing out her reactions on a real mountain road. I think she will be fine unless other new aspects arise.

Chris Sutton

Followup: Apparently, no new aspects arose because she drove up that real mountain road and was free of her previous problems. However, she has not tested air travel or being in high buildings. Perhaps other aspects will show up for EFT to handle.

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