Frog’s eyes are only able to see something if it moves.And since frogs are rather simple creatures, that works just fine for them. Humans, on the other hand, need to be able to stay visually focused on objects for a minute or even longer. Our eyes are actually like the frog’s eyes. If an object is unmoving in our visual field, it will disappear. The reason that you can focus on this text long enough to read it is simply that your eyes are continuously moving in short bursts multiple times each second. Those little eye movements are enough to allow us to continuously see things, like the edge of a computer monitor, in the background.
And, the same principle is true for all our senses. For example, you’ve probably not been aware of the sensations in your left earlobe until I mentioned it here. Chances are you’ve tuned out the sounds of your computer’s fans, and other background noises as well.
So what does this have to do with phobias? Simply put, emotions, including the panic and fear of a phobic response, are experienced as physical sensations that must continuously change in some way to remain in our awareness. And, that fact opens the door for a person to eliminate, lessen, or transform any emotion by using the imagination to change the movements of that emotion.
When asked most people report that their feelings move along the middle of the body, either up or down, or clockwise or counterclockwise. In other words, the feelings spin. And it was Richard Bandler, one of the original developers of NeuroLinguistic Programming, who discovered that simply by having the person use his or her imagination to reverse the spin that it is possible to substantially improve the automatic emotional responses to situations in which that person was initially fearful.
I recently worked with a client who was having difficulty getting over a breakup with her boyfriend. On thing that really helped was for her to take the anxious and hurt feelings and make them spin in the opposite direction. We threw in a few giggles to the new feelings generated by the reversed spin for good measure. And, by the time she left my office she laughed when I reminded her that her ex had cheated on her before he broke up with her. That was a total reversal from her initial teary description of the breakup.