Can you cure coulrophobia?
Well, yes, I'd say we certainly can. Or at least induce permanent remission.
One of our fine researchers recently put a list of 589 phobias on theamt.com for fun. And it's true, we've had quite a bit of fun with these already.
But I don't know why, it struck me how neat it would be to have at least *one* case history per phobia to show that we can actually overcome all of them.
So, who has treated someone successfully for a phobia?
I'm going to put myself down for Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) to start with and here's the story:
I met this lady who suffered from severe coulrophobia at a public demonstration at a health fayre.
She had three children, aged 5 - 11 who would act as the lookouts in a kind of Vietnam formation, triangular with mother in the center at the back, when any movement through public places needed to occur.
These children would spot *anything* remotely clown-like and sound the warning so that an alternative course might be plotted.
Now, clown-like includes: Ronald McDonald, garden gnomes, Father Christmas, any variation of harlequins, mimes, toys and dolls, or even strongly made up older women with curly hair!
This may sound funny, but it sure wasn't for the lady in question and neither was it for her family.
There was a complete family organisation around the mother's coulrophobia which also included that all TV had to be pre-recorded, checked for clowns or clown-like occurrences in cartoon or live format and then the family could view it.
Mail had to be checked and of course, magazines pre-read and any clown-representations removed or covered up prior to passing them on to her.
Birthdays and holidays with greeting cards represented a particular challenge, as you can imagine.
In spite of living a very insular existence and not having been able to go on holiday with the children ever, the poor woman was a nervous wreck and would have nightmares of clowns on a regular basis. She had had some psychotherapy which had put her off completely because on the first visit the therapist produced a big greeting card with a clown on it and tried to make her "face her fear" (!)
Not good. She never went again and opted for tranquilisers.
This lady was volunteered by her oldest daughter to me in the public
demonstration. I asked her if she knew when the fear had started and she told me about having been in the front row at a circus when she was about three years old and a big clown suddenly jumped up in front of her. According to her parents she had screamed for three days straight and had been terrified of clowns ever since; it had become worse over the years rather than better.
I started with a simple EFT treatment round, "Even though the clown
frightened me, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself."
Her SUDs came down very nicely and very quickly, just two rounds in all and she was noticeably calmer and could talk more about the original incident and one or two others which had really stuck in her mind.
We did a few more treatments and then I felt she was ready for a real life
On the other side of the exhibition was a stand with gift items, greeting
cards and - luckily for us! - some harlequin porcelain dolls (clown dolls) of a good size.
The children expressed grave concern and became quite agitated, so they all had to do a round "as a family" before we set off towards the stand for the real life test with an onterage of interested onlookers.
Interestingly, by then the lady in question was noticeably calmer than her children and had an air of intrigue about her.
I told her strongly not to make herself do anything at all but to listen
carefully inside herself for any remaining fear so we could tap on it
She got within viewing range of the stall when she stopped and told me that she wasn't exactly afraid, more like that she had no idea of how she should be responding and felt really unbalanced.
So we tapped on that, as you do, and cautiously she went closer, then called out, "Oh, oh, I see one! I can see one!"
"How do you feel?", I asked her, not sure if she was panicking or what this was all about.
"I don't know," she said, all excitedly. "I don't know but I want to go
closer - I really can see one! Oh and there's another one! And another - there's three of them!"
She walked right up to the display, two of her children now tapping
frantically on themselves and the third just plain astonished.
One more little tap under the eye and she reached right up and took one of
the large, colourful harlequin (clown) dolls off the shelf and looked at it close up, then looked around to where we were all standing quite transfixed, watching her and this big, big smile broke out all over her face - and everyone burst out into applause and cheers!
She waved the harlequin doll triumphantly and then she bought it and hugged it all the way out of the exhibition hall, this time leading the way and the children following in her wake, like goslings.
Aaah ... memories! I'd quite forgotten how *good* EFT can be, and how great it can be when you get to help someone with it.
Ok, so that's my favourite phobia success story - let's hear yours?