Using “Future Pacing” in EFT to Address Fear of Flying

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 114.

Lately, I’ve been assisting several clients in overcoming their fear of flying using a technique called “future pacing” in EFT. This approach, introduced to me by EFT Trainer Alina Frank, has proven to be quite effective, and I’m excited to share it with you today.

Instead of diving directly into tapping on traumatic memories or imagining oneself on a plane, “future pacing” involves breaking down the process into manageable steps and tapping on them sequentially.

For instance, simply picturing the act of booking a flight may evoke some unpleasant emotions. This can serve as an excellent starting point for your tapping session.

When selecting a specific event to focus on, rather than immediately delving into the potentially triggering scenario of being on a plane, begin by tapping on the imagined scenario of booking a flight.

To ensure specificity, ask yourself, “What moment within this event (of booking a flight) is my mind focusing on the most? And is there any specific thought attached to that particular moment?”

For example, if you feel trapped when envisioning booking a flight, pinpoint the exact moment that triggers this sensation, such as when you see your name on the ticket. Create your setup statement to address this specific moment and associated thought.

Even though I’m feeling trapped, when I imagine myself booking a flight next Tuesday, the moment I see my name on the ticket and I think ‘now I’ve locked myself in through this commitment, so I’m trapped and it’s the prelude to actually being trapped in a plane’, and I have this ‘trapped’ feeling in my chest, this is just where I’m at right now.

As you tap on the emotionally charged aspects within that event and it begins to feel more neutral, you can progress to the next “future pacing” step. This might involve tasks like packing your bag the day before the flight.

Once again, ensure specificity by identifying the moment within this event that triggers any unpleasant emotions. For instance, as you pack your favorite sweater, you might think, “Oh my God, this flight is actually going to happen, it’s real,” which may elicit feelings of anxiety.

Create your setup statement to address this specific thought and associated feeling, acknowledging the way you are feeling now when thinking about it.

Another “future pacing” step might involve imagining yourself at the airport, hearing the flight number being called. At that moment, you might think “this is my last chance to back out of this!”. As you imagine yourself thinking that, you might notice an anxious feeling in your chest.

The setup statement might be: Even though I’m feeling anxious, when I imagine I’m at the airport and I hear the flight number is being called and people begin to get ready to board the plane, and I’m thinking “this is my last chance to back out of this!”, and I’m feeling this anxiety in my chest, this is just where I’m at right now.

The surprising aspect of this approach is that as you continue tapping on these “future pacing baby steps,” you may notice a decrease in emotional intensity by the time you address the actual scenario of being on the plane. This is due to the “Generalization Effect,” where the relaxation response elicited by EFT is extended to other aspects or scenarios.

In addition to that, the “Future Pacing” method is gentler, allowing you to gradually expand your comfort zone without diving directly into the deep end of the pool.

In essence, it operates similarly to the “Tell the Story” technique, where tapping on previous peaks of intensity diminishes the emotional charge of the worst one, resulting in a less intense experience overall.

And that’s it for today! I’m Bruno Sade, a compassionate, open-minded clinical psychologist, and certified EFT practitioner. My approach is tailored to your individual needs and preferences, always respecting your experiences, beliefs, and background.

What are your thoughts on using “Future Pacing” to address fears and phobias? I’d love to hear your experiences and perspectives. You can either leave a comment below or send a private message.

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