Last week my daughter took four days of nature classes in Yosemite National Park. On the second day I helped chaperon the group of eight kids. We began to hike up a steep trail toward the top of Yosemite Falls, but one little girl, “Anna”, age 9, was really holding up the group. She kept repeating that she “hated heights” and wanted to go back down right now. She would only walk very slowly, and only with the teacher holding her hand.
When we stopped for a break I could see the teacher was frustrated and at a loss, so I asked the little girl if she'd like me to help take away her fear. I told her that was my job back home and it was very easy and wouldn't hurt at all.
After some hesitation she agreed and I had her tap on her karate chop point with the set up statement:
Even though I have this fear of heights I'm a great kid.
We tapped the short cut points with “This fear of heights” but about halfway through, another little boy shouted “does anyone want my apple?” totally distracting Anna.
I had to ask for her attention again to complete that single round of tapping. Nevertheless, when I asked about her fear, she in a very matter of fact voice: “It's gone.”
And it was! No more problems hiking.
The other chaperon was very excited by this success. He asked if this EFT only worked on children? This made me laugh since I rarely get to work with kids in my practice. He told me his wife, “Jane” had a severe height phobia and I agreed to work with her back at our camp the next morning.
When I asked Jane to just think about heights in the most general way, she reported her anxiety as an 8 out of 10. A round of tapping on “this fear of heights” only brought it down to a 7. Not much improvement. I added in the 9 point gamut, but got no real change.
I asked how she knew it was a 7 and she said there was a heavy feeling on her heart. So we began tapping on “This heavy feeling on my heart” and after six or seven rounds we got it down to zero. It took some persistence!
After that I asked her for specific situations that had triggered her fear. Climbing to the top of a ladder, to get into her attic, was a big one. Especially the feeling of falling over backwards. She started about a 7 again, but this time it only took three rounds, which included “This falling over backwards feeling”.
The next memory was about going on a carnival ride with her son. Even though the ride was “only” about 15 feet high, and she trusted it enough to put her son on it, she'd been in tears the whole time and very embarrassed by her fear.
I had her tap the karate chop point and say:
Even though I was afraid of this dumb kiddie ride...
and at that point she began to laugh. She laughed and laughed harder until tears were running down her cheeks. Her husband looked at me in astonishment. I'm used to sighs and yawns, but this was a huge release of energy. We never got past the set up statement because she said all the anxiety was gone.
I asked her to vividly imagine various scenarios—standing on a cliff edge, at the top of a wobbly ladder, etc. She said she could maybe get up to a “2” so we did one more round of general tapping.
Luckily there was a fairly large boulder right next to the campsite. I had her climb up to the top and stand on the edge, about 10 feet off the ground. No anxiety. I had her husband hold onto her coat while she put her feet right on the edge and closed her eyes. I had her imagine she was on the edge of a precipice. No anxiety.
It had taken nearly an hour—no one minute miracle this time, but we called it a success.
That evening her husband came up to me and said he had “photographic evidence” on his digital camera. The pictures showed Jane climbing the very steep and sheer path up to Vernal Falls, then standing a foot away from a vertical drop (she was still using normal caution). I was elated, but it wasn't till the next day, when I hiked up that path myself, that I really got how successful we'd been.
I'd have to say we were three happy campers!
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on February 28, 2010