Basic NLP Patterns

Fast Phobia Cure

A popular pattern that is useful for rapidly overcoming anxiety about any situation. Although usually used for clearing a phobic response it is effective for overcoming any form of fear inducing situation. For the approach to be effective it is important to locate the earliest memory related to the fear as this is often the original learning event.

The concept behind the Fast Phobia Cure is the reconditioning of a One-Time Learning event. 


  1. Identify Earliest Event

    Have the client review their memories and try to identify the earliest memory relating to the fear. Ideally it should be the first event that they are involved in however for some phobias it may be a learned response from someone else, in which case the memory should be of the first time that they saw the originator react to the stimuli. A learned response can often be found with reference to animal and insect phobias where a parent or close sibling has had a negative reaction and the client has emulated the response.

  2. Disassociate from the Memory

    Instruct the client to imagine being in a cinema and have them imagine that they are going to project the initial memory onto the screen as if they were seeing a movie. Have them imagine themselves in the movie theatre watching everything play out on the screen in front of them. It is important to have the client step into a third person perceptual position so that they are detached from the memory and an observer of events.

  3. Locate a Pre-Fear Image

    Get the client to recall how it felt before the just first event occured so that they can experience the fear-free state that you are going to get them back to with the pattern. Have them project this on the screen as the ‘lead-in’ to the memory of the first fear event.

  4. Play the Memory

    The client should now watch the fear event take place on the screen in front of them, running forwards until the end. Once they reach the end, have the movie run in reverse, with everyone walking and speaking backwards, when the movie gets back to the beginning (the pre-fear point), have the client jump the movie to the end and run backwards again, this time faster so that it starts to appear amusing. Repeat several times until the client appears more relaxed about the fear.

  5. Change Sub-Modalities

    Whilst running the movie backwards change the structure of the response by changing some of the sub-modalities. Altering the representation of the memory (rather than the content) will make a significant difference to the way the client feels about the fear. Change the movie from colour to black-and-white, remove sound and adding music are all ways in which the sub-modalities can be shifted until the impact of the memory is changed significantly. Use this approach until the emotional response of the movie is radically reduced.

  6. Step into the Movie

    Once the client reaches a relaxed state with the memory, have them place the memory back on the screen in colour, with all of the sub-modalities restored. Have them start the movie at the end, this time with them inside the movie, looking through their own eyes (1st perceptual position), then run the memory through backwards to the beginning (fear-free stage). Notice any remaining anxiety.

  7. Future Pace and Repeat until desensitized

    Ask the client to imagine a time in the future where they will come across their fear and look for any signs of anxiety. If necessary repeat steps 4 through 6 until the client is fully clear of the fear response.


Hyper-sensitivity – Some clients are hyper sensitive to their phobia memory and find it difficult to enter into a third person position. If this occurs have the client step to a 4th (watching themselves watch the screen) or 5th (watching themselves, watch themselves watch the screen) positions. You will then need to have them step forwards into each position as their level of anxiety reduces. 

Earliest Memory Problems – When a client is unresponsive to this pattern it is usually due to an earlier, stronger memory overpowering the selected one. If you run through the pattern and notice no significant change in the client it is advisable to re-visit the memories to identify an earlier root before continuing.

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