"Candace" had such a severe terror of flying that she had not been on a plane for 22 years. She called me because an important family event was taking place in a few months and she didn't want to miss it. But attending the event would involve a 5-hour flight. She was nearly hopeless yet determined to face her fears.
As our phone session began, I gathered history and found that she did have some traumatic memories from her few flying experiences long ago. In one case, a plane had not pressurized correctly, and in another the plane had to be diverted because of fog. The feeling in her body when she thought about being on a plane was, "a little like throwing up -- sick to my stomach."
We started tapping using her words and focusing on the body sensation, which was a 6-7.
Even though I feel sick to my stomach, a little like throwing up, when I think about flying, I deeply love and accept myself...
At the end of the round of tapping, Candace said, "What bothers me is thinking about the plane in the air. All I can think about is a lack of support and falling. It's a sensation of, I'm going to fall any second!" This felt like a horrible dread in her stomach, an 8 in intensity. So we tapped again using her words.
Even though I feel like I'm going to fall any second, I deeply love and accept myself...
Something popped into my head during the course of that tapping and I shared the thought with Candace. "You know, it's interesting that your fear of flying is really about fear of falling. I've heard that the fear of falling is one of the few natural fears that we are born with. Babies have an innate fear of falling." This seemed to ring a bell with her and she said, "you know, the whole time I've been visualizing myself falling through the sky!" So once again we used her words for tapping:
Even though I visualize myself falling through the sky, I deeply love and accept myself... and it's time to bring some healing to this...
As we tapped the points, I gave her some blanks to fill in:
I visualize myself falling through the sky... and I think it goes back to___
I visualize myself falling through the sky... and I feel____ And _______(what else?)
As she completed the sentences, she was tuning in more and more to the feeling: "I think it goes back to being very young... and I feel terrified... and no one's going to catch me! And I'm going to hit! And it's going to hurt! And it all makes me feel really sad." So we tapped again, using her words:
Even though I am terrified because no one is going to catch me... and it makes me feel... sad...
This sadness... this little one is falling... afraid no one is going to catch her... terrified... I'm going to hit... it's going to hurt... so sad... I love and accept this little child.
Candace was feeling very emotional and tears were coming. She said, "I believe I had some early childhood trauma. My sister was 6 years older and hated me intensely. I think she probably did hurt me sometimes. I think she did things to scare me. I wonder if she threw me up and didn't catch me!"
We tapped and tapped until the emotion had subsided. Then Candace got an image of a little girl being gently bounced up and down by kind and loving arms. She said, "I want to think of the loving arms of the Universe always under the plane, guiding it safely to its destination." So we tapped a few more times to acknowledge this healing outcome:
Even though I had such a fear of falling... it's time to bring healing to this... and I see the little girl gently bounced, safely bounced up and down by loving arms... and the loving arms of the Universe are always under the plane...
Candace felt immensely better. When I tested our work by having her think of being on a plane and say, "I feel like I'm going to fall any second," she could no longer feeling the dread in her stomach and wasn't connecting with the image of herself falling through the sky anymore. Instead, she felt curious and intrigued! She had no idea that the root of her fear of flying might not have to do with planes at all. Now the idea of being on a plane wasn't nearly as upsetting.
We ended up doing several more sessions to deal with the previous flight experiences, but the initial intensity never returned. The last time I spoke with Candace, she had bought her tickets!
Looking back at the session, I believe that listening carefully to my client's own words and paying close attention to her descriptions of what she was feeling were the keys to uncovering the core issue. As we used her words and tapped, it was like following a thread back to the source. Sentence completions are also a great way to uncover more details. As we complete the sentence with the first thing that comes, the subconscious can't help but volunteer the information.
Betty Moore-Hafter, www.CreativeEFT.com, is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Master Trainer of Trainers and Advanced Practitioner offering EFT Level 1-2 and Level 3 Trainings several times a year. She also offers a special EFT mentoring and support program for EFT International EFT certification at www.EmotionalFreedomMastery.com. Betty offers EFT sessions by phone and by Skype, as well as in person at her Burlington, Vermont office. You can find out more on both websites and pick up free gifts on each site.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International International.
Originally published on November 13, 2010.