The Fast Phobia Cure NLP Technique
One of the techniques / processes of NLP that attracts the most attention is The Fast Phobia Cure – also popularly known as The Theatre Technique.
In my trainings, I generally refer to it as The Poster Boy of NLP Techniques because it is so popular with Practitioners of NLP and more so because Dr. Richard Bandler, the co-creator of NLP, also talks about it and demonstrates it with a lot of pride.
This technique is one of the most effective and most rapid of NLP techniques which is greatly helpful in overcoming fears, phobias, bad memories and generally any kind of unresourceful state that limits someone in any ways.
STEPS TO THE PROCESS:
1. Establish a strong, positive resourceful state anchor, which can be used anytime during the process just in case the client needs to be calmed.
2. Calibrate to the client’s phobic response, so that you have a clear distinction between the resourceful and unresourceful states of the client.
3. Define two points – (a) The starting point, when the client is feeling absolutely safe just BEFORE the phobic response AND (b) The ending point, when the client is feeling absolutely safe just AFTER the phobic response. The phobia episode is placed between these two points.
4. Have the client imagine themselves sitting in a movie theatre watching a film of themselves on the screen, having the phobic response starting from Point A to Point B (as mentioned in Step 3 above).
Have them play this movie in black-and-white, in fast-forward (double / triple / faster speed) with silver-white noise distortion lines on the screen as the movie plays and they are watching it from an audience seat in the theatre.
This movie starts with them feeling safe and then they see themselves having the phobic response and ends with them feeling safe again.
Have them repeat this a couple of times and blank the screen between each repetition.
5. Now have the client float out of the theatre and into the projection booth, from where they can watch themselves watching the movie of themselves having a phobic response. In the projection booth they are separated by a perspex glass partition from where they can watch the movie of themselves as well as watching themselves sitting in the audience seat watching the movie.
6. Here add another element to the process. Have them play the movie in fast-forward black-and-white and the safe point where the movie ends, have them play it backwards in full technicolour and you can have them add some funny music or their favourite cartoon character appear right in the middle of the movie as it plays in reverse.
So from the projection booth, the movie starts with them being safe, next having the phobic response and then being safe again – this is played in fast-forward black-and-white with distortion lines on the screen. Next, from the safe point at the end of the movie, it plays in full colour at normal speed in the reverse direction – which means in the second part they start from the safe point (at the end) have the phobic response (playing in reverse) reach the trigger which gave them the response and ends with them being safe again (at the beginning of the movie) also have them add some circus music (or any other funny music) or their favourite cartoon character appear in rewind section of the playback.
Repeat this a number of times and each time blank the screen between each repetition.
7. By now the phobic response in the client would be gone and the client would perhaps even be laughing about it.
This is such a simple and elegant process that it can be very effectively used for fears, phobias, bad memories and any kind of limiting or unresourceful state. And the beauty of it is that years of conditioning and suffering for the client is gone in just a few minutes.
Also it can be used for varied contexts, be it therapy, counselling, teaching, coaching or consulting.
Author: Anil Saighal (Society of NLP Trainer (Associate) & Coach)