Acrophobia, fear of heights, is one of the most common phobias around. And in some ways, it is less a phobia and more a rational self-preservation measure. After all, it’s a healthy respect for the dangers of falling from a great height which helps to stop us from running along the roof-tops, leaping from high building to high building!
However, for some people this healthy respect for heights can become something far more, as it turns into a full-blown phobia of any heights; a crippling, debilitating, irrational fear which prevents us from enjoying normal everyday life. It can cause us to avoid even seemingly simple things like walking across a perfectly safe and sturdy bridge – imagine the impact on everyday life when such straightforward actions are impossible or, at best, something which can only be done very slowly, carefully and with a lot of panic.
Living with Fear and Phobia, you will organise your life to avoid confronting them. I know what it’s like and the extraordinary lengths you will go to; I suffered for too long. I knew I had to find a solution.
That was the position in which a recent client of mine found himself. Martin Lonergan is widely travelled; he described himself to me a having more airmiles than many pilots. He currently lives in a beautiful part of Switzerland, in the Alps in prime skiing territory. And that’s where his phobia was really making itself felt. Unable to cross bridges without severe problems, and having major panic when even attempting to use ski lifts, Martin increasingly found himself unable to go out with friends and family when they visited, for that involved too much of the feared heights.
In his quest to find a solution, Martin got in touch with me. We had a Skype chat about his specific phobia and how it was crippling his life, after which we arranged a session, which we conducted over the telephone.
To begin with Keith helped me to understand what I always knew and we arranged a session. It did not involve confrontation of fear or any tough stuff. The result was difficult to actually accept but it cured the Phobia completely.
Now, as Martin explains, his phobia was completely gone after that single session. However, so ingrained had his phobia become in his everyday life, that even though it was no longer there, part of his was still scared of having the now-non-existant phobia. This can happen occasionally for some people, particularly if they have had pretty much daily contact with their phobia; just as when we get up from a chair there is still an impression on the cushions for a while, so the removal of the phobia can sometimes still leave an impression where it used to be. It is rare, but it happens.
So complete was the cure, that I struggled to actually take it on board, I had lived with the fear so long that I actively anticipated its effect. A follow up session was able to remove the Phobia of the Phobia, if that makes sense. I had lived with it so long I expected it to occur and I needed help to actually live without it!!!
And with that, Martin’s phobia is gone, and his conscious and unconscious mind have now accepted and embraced the removal of the phobia so that he is now able to offer all of the fun, enjoyment and excitement which life in the Alps has to offer, meaning he can fully take part when family and friends come to visit. As he says,
I don’t know why I let it spoil my life for so long. My Phobia was heights; I can now be found hanging out in Cable Cars all over the Alps.
And Martin’s advise to anyone suffering from a phobia which is impacting their life?
If you’ve learnt an irrational fear then please do not live with it too long, give Keith a try.