Using language to cure a fear of wasps

I spent the last few days hanging out with my sister and her family as they were over from Ireland for Easter.

Before she came over she had asked me if I’d do a session with her 10 year old daughter to help her with a recently acquired wasp phobia.

It had become a little inconvenient last year with her not being able to leave the house on warm days.

And with the summer coming they were worried that it was going to become problematic again.

Fast Phobia Cure

A few years ago I studied NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and one of the many techniques we learned how to use was this thing called a ‘fast phobia cure’.

Which does exactly what it says on the tin… cures irrational phobias, fast!

I loved studying NLP and the most useful part has been how it helps me pick up on language my coaching clients use that may be limiting them in some way.

Helping people unravel old beliefs and stories that are no longer serving them is some of the most fulfilling work I currently do.

But the fast phobia cure is a pretty cool tool that I’ve used a few times to help people overcome or reduce a fear of heights, spiders and even jelly fish.

New strategies

One of the most important elements of the process is deciding on a NEW strategy that will replace the old behaviour once the phobia was behind you.

After all, wasps are to be respected and it’s sensible to have a healthy regard for their ability to harm us!

So we spent a bit of time working out what ‘normal’ people do when there’s a wasp about.

What do you want instead?

As we were working through this it made me think of how often most of us naturally focus on the habits we want to break.

Without thinking about what we want to replace them with.

After all, it’s easier to focus on what we want to stop because that’s what’s happening right now.

Imagining a new reality

Deciding what we want to replace it with requires imagining a new reality.

Which takes a lot more effort, especially if it jars with our image of ourselves and what we believe we are capable of.

If you’re trying to break a habit, it really does pay to invest some time thinking about what you want to be doing instead.

Thinking about not doing something still makes you think about the thing you don’t want to be doing.

At the end of the session with my niece, I asked her to come up with a new strategy that she was going to run when she was next faced with a wasp buzzing around her ice cream.

Although we won’t know for sure how well  we’ve unravelled her old problem  until it happens, she did tell me that she felt much better when thinking about wasps now.

So how about you?

Are you focusing more on what you don’t want than what you do?

And if you are, is there anything you could do to change that?

BTW NLP is a fascinating field of study that has had a very positive impact in my programs and coaching.

I’m looking to work with a small number of new clients this month, on my 3 month private coaching program.

If you want to accelerate your results or get unstuck in some area of your life, drop me a line through this form with a little more about what’s going on right now and I’ll get back to you.