I was doing a presentation about entering hypnosis as a profession to a group of sixty or so teenagers, when it happened. I mentioned that I had helped a number of people get rid of unusual fears, and one of the young women in the audience stood up and announced that she had an unusual fear. Then she insisted that I help her with it right then and there.
I hesitated, because there was only a brief bit if time left before another group was due to use the room. However, she was insistent. So, I asked the logical question, just what was she afraid of? The answer was that she panicked when someone touched her with their feet.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate a fear or phobia is for the person to run the triggering thought backwards repeatedly in his or her mind. Fears are neurologically patterned responses, and running the pattern backwards scrambles the pattern so much that it stops working. So, I had the young lady run the image/thought of being touched by feet backwards from panic, to the foot moving away to the beginning before anyone had made a move to touch her. After she had done that a few times (it takes some repetition to install the new pattern) she was feeling some better.
Then I said to her, “What is ‘feet’ backwards? It’s ‘teef’. Then in a comically exaggerated voice I cried out, “Oh no! Teef!”, and she started laughing. It was perhaps the first time ever that she had laughed at the idea of someone touching with their feet. By that time the young lady was feeling a lot better about “teef!”.
However, she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was not finished with her fear, and insisted on coming up to the front of the room for me to eliminate the rest of it. Time was running short, but I agreed. So when she walked up to me I shook hands with her in a special way that let me guide her into hypnosis in just a few seconds.
So there she was with her hand suspended in air, hypnotized, as I gave her unconscious mind instructions to only lift her hand to her face at the same rate as it completely resolved her fear of being touched by feet. As she slowly lifted her hand towards her face over the course of about ten minutes, the young lady was trembling, tears trickled down her face, and the sixty of so teenagers in the room were completely still and absolutely silent.
Early arrivals from the next group started to filter into the room, and the young lady’s hand was only halfway to her face. There would not be time enough for her to finish the process in front of the room. So, I gave the young lady’s unconscious mind instructions to finish up in its own time, and in its own way at the unconscious levels while she came back to her normal conscious state and did what she needed to do for the rest of the evening.
I got an email from the young lady about a week later. She said that she had decided to go into psychology, and practice hypnotherapy as a career. She is now completely free of her old fear.