Does a fear sometimes recur when a person confronts the actual situation?
QUESTION: I am wondering about the difference between thinking about something and having your fears reduced to 0, and actually going out and confronting the object of your fear. I noticed that on your videotape, you told about peoples’ anxiety sometimes coming back again when they had to fact the real life situation.
ANSWER: Anxiety can often rise slightly when the person confronts the actual situation again because there are often other Aspects that are evident in the actual situation, which were not there in the imagining of it. Gary Craig gives an excellent example of this in his manual. He describes a woman whose fear of spiders was reduced to 0 while she was just thinking about them. Often, of course, this is enough and the fear stays at 0 even when the person is confronted with a real spider. But to make sure, the person working with her, took this woman to a pet store to see a Tarantula. The woman became very fearful when she saw the real spider and ran crying out of the store. This was not the fault of the first round of EFT. Rather it was an indication that the real spider brought up new aspects of the fear that weren’t present when just the thought of spiders was going on.
After a few more minutes with EFT, this woman went back into the pet store and calmly viewed the Tarantula. Her fear was gone. Such aspects as a moving spider (rather than a stationery one) or the hairiness of the spider, or its darting motions, might not have been anticipated when imagining it, but when she actually saw the spider, these Aspects caused enough trouble they needed to be tapped down in their own right. It is not necessary always to know what the Aspects are that are being tapped down, but further tapping can be required when you get into the actual situation. It may not be needed after that, however.
Interestingly, in the above example, a few days later this woman called the therapist who had worked with her to report that she was at a friend’s house who owned a pet Tarantula (it had been surgically rendered harmless). She said they took the spider out of the cage, and this woman let it crawl on her.
This is a most interesting example of the power of a technique such as EFT. Even people without a noticeable fear of spiders are unlikely to easily let a Tarantula crawl on them, even if it is no longer dangerous, but this woman was perfectly relaxed about it. She now had even less fear than the normal everyday citizen. It should be noted however that EFT does not make people careless or allow them to lose their own self-protective impulses. This woman would not have let the spider crawl on her if it was indeed dangerous. EFT removes the irrational portion of phobic fears, but does not reduce normal caution.
EFT Master, Dr. Patricia Carrington