Joe was an up and coming manager working for a high tech multinational corporation. In many respects he was a success story. However, there was one area of his life where he felt completely out of control. Joe’s big issue was that he had a severe and acute fear of mice.
In many ways this fear had influenced his life and career. For instance, he chose high tech as a career path because the likelihood of encountering small rodents in an ultra-modern manufacturing operation was practically nil (unless of course he spent time where canteen waste was stored). He chose to live in an apartment on the fifth floor to avoid the risk of encountering field mice which could happen if he lived in a house with a garden. When his company organised a team building wilderness exercise he cried off sick rather than run the risk of encountering mice, or worse, to be seen to come apart by colleagues in if a mouse were encountered. He became anxious entering old buildings or in kitchens where mice might be present. His sensitivity was such that he could spot mice droppings if they were present as he crossed the threshold of any room.
When he first visited me we discussed his background. He had grown up in an old house on the edge of a country town. His garden backed onto fields, and he remembered well seeing mice quite regularly as a child, and at harvest time rats were often visible from his home. He described his childhood as happy, although his father who was a sales rep was often away from the family. His mother was native to the town with family and friends nearby.
There was no obvious reason for the phobia, and the only obvious route into the problem was via the violently unpleasant feelings that accompanied even the possibility of meeting a mouse.
Working on the idea that these very strong sensations were somatic memories (memories stored physically in the body as opposed to normal memories), we began to look for a cause.
As Joe began to tune in to the feelings of nausea, shaking, dizziness and palpitations he began to get a sense of standing in his back garden as a child. His mother wasn’t present. In fact she had run down the street to a shop, leaving Joe to amuse himself for the short period she would be gone.
Joe became conscious of two “big boys” standing on the other side of the fence in the garden of an empty house. They told him they had something to show him. When Joe moved over to see they grabbed him and pulled him over the fence and into a derelict shed.
They told Joe he was their prisoner and that they were going to kill him. They started thumping and kicking him. Joe was lying on the ground bleeding and in pain and believing he was going to die when they left. As he lay there in shock he saw a mouse running under a piece of timber in a corner of the shed.
He had only vague impressions of the aftermath. He was taken to hospital, and although no bones were broken he was kept in overnight for observation.
This re-living of such a traumatic event was difficult for Joe, but afterwards he reported feeling different. He looked quite different, as if something had cleared. He also reported feeling “lighter”.
We identified and went through some simple Energy Psychology healing techniques and very quickly Joe reported feeling a new sense of peacefulness.
“So that’s it” he commented, surprised but knowing the issue was resolved. “So that’s where this stupid phobia came from.” And with that a whole area of great difficulty in his life dissolved, and everything “just made sense”.
Afterwards he spoke to his mother about the event. She said she had found him wandering in the field outside his home in a dazed state. All they could get out of him was that two big boys done it.
The police caught up with the two youths and some legal action followed. Their parents wanted to make the boys apologise to Joe but Joe freaked out at the very thought of seeing them and so this never happened.
The advice given to his parents was that Joe would process the trauma in his own way and eventually forget it. Thereafter his parents rarely if ever mentioned it and as predicted he did forget it, consciously at least. Although he grew up in an otherwise normal way, and mentally he had forgotten the trauma, the body had not forgotten. The hurt, terror and pain was still inside.
As often happens, something triggered and trauma began to activate. Joe’s first memory of real fear of mice was in his late teens. He had been going through a traumatic breakup with his girlfriend and found himself in an agitated state sitting in the basement of an old house when he spotted a mouse running along the floor and under a cupboard. Instantly he was overcome with terror and had to get out, the terror only subsiding when he was well clear.
From then on he began to be anxious entering homes and rooms, automatically seeking out indications of the presence of mice. He could not bring himself to enter any place where he felt there were likely to be mice present.
Having cleared the trauma from his system, Joe was much more matter of fact about mice. Over time he more or less forgot about them. When he did encounter mice, his reaction was similar to that of any person – he didn’t like to be near them, but neither was he terrified. He noted that he felt much freer and less constrained in his daily activities.
With the right approach, even the most intractable phobias can be cleared in a matter of moments. If you suffer from a phobia, feel free to contact me for more information.
Although not every phobia can be resolved in this relatively simple way, and not all phobias have such straightforward causes, there is almost always an approach that will facilitate improvement and resolution.
Note: This story is reflective of a real phobia case, and is typical of many such cases. Although almost all the details and actions have been altered, the sense of the story is true to reality.
You can contact James Jameson on 086 2835758 / 1800924864 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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