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Overcome Fear Of Flying With Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP Phobia Cure

Apr 1, 2008
I am writing this on an airplane. Fortunately I do not have a fear of flying, however I have experienced such feelings in the past, and the following exercise from neuro linguistic programming, or nlp, has helped me manage my fears.

NLP has an exercise often called the "phobia cure". A phobia is a specific medical diagnosis, and anyone who believes they have a phobia should seek medically qualified and expert help. The following exercise, which we use at the International Center for Positive Change and Hypnosis here in New York, is designed to help people overcome a generalized fear of flying or other fears. We also teach this pattern during our NLP training in NY.

If you have a fear of flying then you have an experience of this. Even if you have never flown, you must have in some way imagined it or thought about it, otherwise how would you know you have the fear. If possible work with the earliest such experience or the most intense.

This experience has a beginning and an end where you feel perfectly safe. This may be before the plane takes off, or in the airport, or at home. We are not talking here about sitting in the airport and thinking of flying. We are talking about sitting in the airport and reading a relaxing book, or drinking a lovely cup of coffee and chatting to our friends, relaxed and safe.

The experience also has an end, we have landed and arrived at our hotel perhaps. We are excited about getting out to the pool for a swim, in the sunshine. Reaxing and safe by the water.

Now imagine you are sitting in a movie theater, seeing the movie screen which is blank. The theater is old and plays old grainy black and white silent movies. Not very good movies either, in fact you could say as you sit here, they play the sort of movies that should have been thrown out long ago. The screen is small and you are right at the back of the theater. As you sit there, safe and relaxed in your chair, the opening scene appears as a still picture. You see yourself on screen at home (say), relaxed and safe (you wonder for a moment how they got hold of this old home-movie, and then you realize it is not important).

The movie begins to play, black and white and silent. The screen is so far away and the movie so grainy it is difficult to see. The movie reaches the final scene. You see yourself safe and relaxed by the pool, cocktail in hand on your vacation.

Now a strange thing happens. You begin to float out of your seat in the movie into the movie screen. You slip into that other you on the screen and find yourself by the pool cocktail in hand. Relaxed. Color comes into the picture and sound. Now the movie starts to run backwards, with you in it. You walk backwards to the bar, you give your drink to the barman who pours it into the bottle and gives you money. You realize he is speaking backwards. You walk backwards into the hotel and drive backwards to the airport, putting your cases on the carousel you walk backwards onto the plane, which takes off backwards, the flight attendants walk and talk backwards, as you read your book backwards, until finally the plane lands backwards, allowing you to check in backwards and drive home backwards.

Now float back into your seat in the theater. You see the opening scene again in black and white, no sound. You see the movie play again. You float into the final scene and feel the movie go backwards with you inside it, this time faster, really fast!

Now think about flying and notice how it's different for you now. Notice how your feelings have changed.

This experience of seeing the movie in small, grainy, black and whote, silent, then experiencing it backwards changes our experience. It becomes difficult to hol on to our old feelings, and can help us overcome our outdated fear of flying.
About the Author
Shawn Carson of International Center for Positive Change and Hypnosis in New York, NY. NLP Training in New York, certified hypnostist, NLP "phobia cure", smoking, stress, etc,
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