"ONE, TWO, THREE, PHOBIA FREE"

Mark Babineaux

MARK BABINEAUX: [Building a confident future with a positive perception of the past.] is a lawyer, hypnotherapist and a humorist.  He is very active in the Louisiana Hypnotherapy Organization (LHO) and IMDHA.  This is a manuscript of an educational presentation at LHO meeting in New Orleans, LA.

PHOBIAS: Fears, phobias and anxieties stem from events in the past. Some events are more traumatic than others - so some therapies are necessarily more intense and take longer than other therapies. And, it is not so much a difference in kind but rather a difference in degree of trauma that determines the extent of therapy necessary in any particular case.

Although this three step process is not meant to be a short cut to a solution, it can greatly reduce the time necessary to free your client of his phobia. It all depends on the severity of the initial sensitizing event - and whether your client has been affected temporarily or more permanently. Mild phobia can conceivably be handled in one session - although this one session is, admittedly, much longer than the usual session and may not always be appropriate for that reason.

This process is actually three distinct techniques. Each technique provides a different approach to overcome the situation and each provides a convenient transition to the next.

In order, the three techniques are: AUTOSUGGESTION, A CONVENTIONAL SESSION, AND AN UNCONVENTIONAL EMOTIONAL DETOX SESSION. These techniques have been combined when possible into one continuous session with great success. And if your client knows the cause, then you may be just as effective with only autosuggestion and emotional detox. It may be noted that both autosuggestion and detox are known to be effective even if the cause is unknown.

I use the eye closure technique of the autosuggestion procedure as an induction for the conventional session - and I use the conventional session itself as a deepening in preparation for the detox and, in turn, the results of the detox improve client skills with the autosuggestion. The cumulative effect of this continuous compounding and fractionation is what I have perceived to be a relatively deep trance even with a first time client who has never been hypnotized before.

Here is how it works:

AUTOSUGGESTION: Autosuggestion is just that - a suggestion that you give to yourself. Of course, in this process, we teach our client to give the suggestion to himself. It provides him with a tool to use when we are not available and gives him security in knowing that he can control how he feels. It takes practice but once mastered your client should be able to perform the procedure in a matter of seconds. The technique is well illustrated in Chapter 5 of "Hypnotherapy" by Dave Elman. Here is my adaptation.

Instruct your client to:

* sit comfortably but upright

* place hands palm down in his lap or on the arms of the chair

* take three calming breaths

* close the eyes

* pretend or imagine that the eyes cannot open

* when he is convinced that the eyes will not open, test them

* once successfully tested and they do not open, suggest to client that ''as long as you are pretending that your eyes cannot open, you allow yourself to experience the (ex. uncomfortable feelings you have when you give a speech in front of a group) and only as long as you are pretending that your eyes cannot open do you allow yourself to experience the (ex. uncomfortable feelings you have when you give a speech in front of a group)

* suggest to client that when he is tired of the feeling to "stop pretending and open your eyes - the uncomfortable feeling will immediately disappear"

Practice this a few times until your client can explain and demonstrate what he will do when the feeling comes upon him.

Note: If your client opens his eyes during the test, suggest that "you're pretending that your eyes work, we know they work, there is no need to pretend that they work pretend that they do not work for whatever reason you want to imagine."

Note: If your client says that he doesn't experience the uncomfortable feeling, use that as an opportunity to explain "although your fear is real to you when it happens, you cannot experience it now probably because your subconscious mind doesn't recognize it as a real and valid threat - there is no valid reason for you to feel uncomfortable, etc."

CONVENTIONAL SESSION: A conventional session is just that - a session with induction, deepening, target process and dehypnotization. With me, this includes music, environmental sounds, subliminal messaging and possibly light/sight effects and aromas. This session is usually recorded for the client to take with him. He is reminded that the recording cannot replace the power and energy of the personal session, but it will remind him of the positive aspects of the experience at any time he chooses. The content of this session is designed to allow the client to figure the solution himself.

In this session, I use scripts and a stopwatch. This assures that there is enough time on the tape and provides a record of what was said in the session. Ordinarily, this taped session is about a half-hour and I suggest that the client listen to it once or twice or every day between sessions. If a tape is too long, it may discourage listening to the tape as often as suggested.

I inform the client beforehand that I use subliminals. I use subliminals because I believe that they are directed toward the same level of awareness where these phobias originally developed. These subliminals are channeled below perceived perception. One is not aware of the message but the mind gets the message anyway. This is very simplistic yet a full discussion of subliminal messaging would take much longer than time now allows.

However, for your own benefit and better understanding of subliminal messaging, review the demonstration again with the following curiosity in mind: Do you think that your response to the demonstration was simply the result of subliminal perception? Or could it have been motivated by more obvious suggestion? An example of obvious suggestion is on page two with three lines in the middle and the number 3 in the instructions.

But there are many subliminal references to the number 3 - 3 pages, each visually divided in three; on page one, there are three sets of instructions divided into three sentences; those instructions require you to read the paragraph three different ways = carefully, thoughtfully, completely; you are required to manipulate the paper itself three times = put it down, pick it up and turn it over. And if you follow the page turning instructions, you will have had to turn the pages back and forth three times to get to the answer - on page 3. So, both visually and kinesthetically, you have been subliminally bombarded with the number 3 before you even read the paragraph - and even though the number 3 has not yet been assigned a meaning, your subconscious mind has already set up the number three as an answer to a question waiting to be asked.

EMOTIONAL DETOX: This technique was taught to me by Michael Ellner, author of "Quantum Focus". He taught me two basic versions - one that involves touching and repositioning the body which is limited to usage for individual session; and one that involves no touching and easily lends itself to group experience as well. Both involve a very basic protocol of first giving the mind/body a negative input, then giving the mind/body a positive input and finally giving the mind/body both messages simultaneously. The net effect is to neutralize the negative feelings.

Instruct your client to:

* sit comfortably but upright

* place hands palm down in the lap so that they do not touch

* close the eyes

* inhale/exhale deeply - (induce trance )

* allow the mind/body to experience disturbing feeling

* make fist with right hand

* exhale

* open fist

* open and close the eyes

* allow the mind/body to experience pleasant feeling

* make fist with left hand

* inhale

* open fist

* open and close the eyes

* take three deep, clearing breaths

* on count of three make fists with both hands simultaneously

* allow time to notice the shift ( or describe shift and move body to center)

* open fists

* open eyes

* ask client to "try to get back in touch with the negative feelings - notice that they are gone"