Fear of Public Speaking - Dee, Small Presentations

Dee's Case Study - Part 1 of 2

By Suzanne Zacharia

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“Dee” came to see me for fear of public speaking. She has a job involving at least one presentation a week, and the situation was getting serious. Dee had been to see a hypnotherapist for 8 sessions before she came to see me, all to no avail. She had discovered EFT recently, when her work had sent her to a psychotherapist who helped her grieve for her lost son. The psychotherapist had shown her EFT to help her go to sleep at night, and she was very impressed with it.


Usually hypnotherapy has some rather than no effect, which to me meant possibly complex root causes and a greater than usual amount of psychological reversal. With this in mind, I asked Dee to give me commitment for six sessions, so that I can work with her on core issues and do detective work.


When Dee arrived, I took some background history and showed her how I use EFT. We used the Karate Chop for the Setup, and then the TOP OF HEAD, the Shortcut (EB to UA) and the WRIST for the Sequence.


In the beginning of the first session, as I was taking the history, Dee told me of several events that I felt we could work on. One of them was a presentation with two people at a client's that Dee was training the day before. We called this something like “Yesterday's Presentation”.


For SUDS, I asked Dee to imagine she was looking at a TV screen and seeing “Yesterday's Presentation”. She rated it at a 6 out of ten. Then we started tapping simply:

“Even though I have this 'Yesterday's Presentation' feeling, ...”


Dee also said her heart was saying “danger”, so I did a reframe while we tapped on all the points as we went along, and it went something like this:

“Even though my heart is saying 'danger', I accept my heart. Maybe my heart is trying to protect me from perceived danger. Maybe my heart doesn't know that I'm in a presentation rather than being chased by a lion. I choose to say 'Thank you' to my heart for trying to protect me. At least now I know my heart works properly, in case I need to run or to fight for my life. My heart doesn't know that I'm only in a meeting. And that's OK.”


The SUDS went down to 4 and then to an indeterminate “threatened” feeling, so we tapped on:

“Even though I feel threatened, ...”


Then the SUDS went down to 3. By now, every single round had produced a huge release from Dee in terms of large sighs, visible bodily relaxation, what I call an “EFT grin” (every practitioner out there will know what I mean), tiredness, and my own yawning (I yawn when my clients release). Clearly we were releasing a lot of stuff each time, which meant that there was an awful lot in there to be released.


At this point, Dee explained that she knew she was good enough for the presentation but also felt she was not good enough. So I had her tap on an odd number of points very quickly “I'm good enough” alternately with “I'm not good enough” to shake the “not good enough” belief and get to the core of it. I use an odd number so that the point which got the “I'm not good enough” in the first round would get the “I'm good enough” on the second round, and so on, which I find kind of short-circuits the limiting belief out of the client. We started with the Setup of:

“Even though part of me thinks I'm good enough, and part of me thinks I'm not good enough, I accept both parts of me anyway.”

Then we tapped:

TOP OF HEAD: “I'm good enough”

EB: “I'm not good enough”

SE: “I'm good enough”

UE: “I'm not good enough”

UN and CH together: “I'm good enough”

CB: “I'm not good enough”

UA: “I'm good enough”

TOP OF HEAD: “I'm not good enough”

EB: “I'm good enough”

SE: “I'm not good enough”...

... And so on, until we both felt happily confused, and I said “who cares?” and Dee laughed, and then we were both laughing away like crazy!


“Yesterday's Presentation” went down to a 2. I asked Dee for specific examples of times when she had felt not good enough in her life, such as in childhood, perhaps at school. She replied that throughout her primary and secondary school days she had always wanted to please and be “as best as the best one”, getting A grades. Her sister was in the top 10 at primary and high school, and she could never get the level of achievement her sister was consistently making. The sister had always been (in Dee's opinion) slimmer, smaller, more intelligent, and lighter colored, all qualities perceived by Dee to be superior qualities. I asked for a specific incident that we could tap on which encapsulated this. Dee came up with a specific word, one which it is illegal for me to say in South Africa, because it is derogatory for a dark-skinned person. The family used to joke by calling Dee this word. We tapped all over this, with SUDS starting at a “Big Hurt” and going down to 8, 6, 2, then “It's Just a Word”, then a half. Dee wanted to move on. She looked totally relaxed and tired by now. She was fed up with working on that word. I respected her wishes and checked that she wanted to carry on with something else, and she said yes.


We went back to the “Yesterday's Presentation”, which by now had gone up to a 3, probably with the aspects from what we had just worked on. So we carried on with it:

“Even though I still have this remaining “Yesterday's Presentation” feeling, ...”


It went to a 1 then a half. Then I asked Dee to close her eyes and vividly imagine the event, where she sat, what she said, how she felt, in order to test for other aspects. The SUDS went up to 7. a further round brought this down to 3.5 and Dee said it felt more like “it's history”. So we tapped starting with a Setup like:

“Even though I have this remaining 'Yesterday's Meeting' feeling, it's now history. If others don't like my presentation, that's too bad, I'm just giving them training, they don't have to like it. They are not judging me personally if they don't like the training, they don't even know me. I accept myself anyway, I love myself anyway, no matter what.”


The SUDS went down to 2 after that round, after which Dee was totally tapped out for this session. We concluded there and made another appointment in two days.


When I next saw Dee, she said that she had slept really well the night of our session. She was surprised how tired she had been after our tapping. I explained with my favorite analogy which goes something like this...


Imagine that you are standing there, in the middle of the room, holding a big box. If you let go go of this box, something terrible is going to happen, a world disaster, World War Three, or something like that. So you have to hold this box and must not let it go. And it's amazing how long we can go without food, water, or even sleep. And you know, if we're tired enough we can even sleep standing up. So for days on end, you stand there holding up this box, you can't let go, just standing there. Now imagine how you would feel if after a few days, someone comes along and relieves you of the responsibility of holding the box... Phew... Now, you can let go... You'd probably just lie down and go to sleep... Holding onto negative emotions takes a lot of energy out of us, so when we finally let go... We just want to lie down and go to sleep.

Dee was nodding in agreement. I repeated this analogy in one way or another elsewhere in our sessions, as I find it helps, especially when the client feels under pressure to be perfect. Tiredness is not seen as a good quality for the mythical perfect person.


We started the tapping in this session on core issues. I asked Dee for a specific incident that encapsulated the pressure of having to be the best of the best at primary and high school. She said she found it hard to find one specific incident but gave me the weekly piano lessons as a particularly stressful occurrence. Yet again, Dee's sister excelled in piano whilst Dee said she struggled, playing with one finger and feeling stupid. She also said that she and her sister played in church, so I knew straight away that no way could she have played in church if she was at one-finger proficiency. I asked Dee for “Piano Lessons” SUDS. This was a 9 or 8. We started something like this:

“Even though I have this 'Piano Lessons' feeling, ...”


After a few rounds, I reframed using a Setup like:

“Even though I could only play with one finger, I remember that I played piano in church, so surely by then I was playing with more than one finger, it's just that I don't see it that way [big nods and smiles from Dee affirming that she was indeed more proficient than she had thought]. I deeply love and accept myself, just as I am. I'm willing to consider that I was good enough to play in church. The church thought I was good enough. I deeply love and accept myself, just as I am.”


The piano lessons went down to about a zero. Dee had released so much by then. She got up and stretched at various points in the session, as she relaxed more and more.


Next, we went back to the “Yesterday's Presentation”, which now became “Last Wednesday's Presentation”. Since we had already done quite a bit of work on it, I asked Dee to close her eyes and imagine the event. She reported a SUDS of 6. I asked her to open her eyes and tell me where she felt it in her body. She said it was a breathing thing and a feeling in the chest. So we tapped something like:

“Even though I have this breathing and chest feeling about 'Last Wednesday's Presentation', ...”

After a couple of rounds, I asked Dee to close her eyes and give me SUDS again. It was now 4, and a feeling in the heart. We tapped a round starting with:

“Even though I have 'Last Wednesday's Presentation' in my heart, ...”

Dee then rated the event as a 3.5 and a threatened feeling, so we tapped:

“Even though I feel threatened, ..”

This went down to a 3, and we kept tapping till it became a 2. At this point, I tapped for acceptance and Dee allowing others to accept her, mistakenly thinking the threatened feeling was a fear of rejection. The SUDS stayed at 2. So I asked Dee what emotion was behind this, and she said “fear”. So I asked her for a specific incident that represents this fear. At first she said it felt like maybe when she was 10 or maybe 5 years old, something bad, but she couldn't remember it, it was really bad. I explained that she doesn't have to tell me what it is, we can call it “X” or “Y”. Dee then immediately came up with incident “X”, a short clip of film of something that happened in her Matric year (final year at school). It did not happen to her personally, but she was there. The SUDS were 10. So we tapped for:

“Even though I have this X feeling, ...”

We kept tapping, as the SUDS went down to a 9.5, 7, 5, then 4. At 4, Dee suddenly abreacted and said “I'm having a heart attack”. I was ready to call an ambulance, and using my training in First Aid, I decided that this is more likely a purely emotional reaction. Dee was gripped with fear and let me tap on her. I tapped on the TOP OF HEAD and also on either side of the spine on her back, as these extra points were easy for me to reach and allowed her the freedom to tap on herself if and when she was ready later. Dee felt better and better as we tapped things like:

“Even though I think I'm going to die, ..”


Incident X was fading into nothingness, and Dee said that she just wanted to put it in her past. So we tapped using a Setup like:

“Even though I have this incident X feeling, I send peace to the situation. I choose to put it behind me now. I choose to peacefully move on. I allow peace.”

The Reminder was something like:

“I allow peace”


Dee was happily very relaxed after this. So we went back to the “Last Wednesday's Presentation”. The SUDS had gone up to 4, indicating again new aspects. We carried on tapping for “Last Wednesday's Presentation” as it went to a 3, then a 1, and stayed at a 1. At this point, Dee said that it was a 1 (rather than zero) because she was worried about a future presentation just like this one. The new presentation was due in a few days.


I asked for SUDS for the new presentation, and Dee said she could not access the feeling, because she was used to blocking out thoughts of meetings until the meeting itself. She was overwhelmed and said:

“I know I'm going to freak out again”.

I asked Dee to rate how true this statement was, and it was a 10. She said she was sure she would have a shivery voice and nervousness. So we tapped things like:

“Even though I know I'm going to freak out again, ...”

“Even though I'm afraid I'll have a shivery voice and nervousness, ...”

“Even though I don't know who I will be if I don't freak out at the presentation, ...”

“Even though I don't know how I will cope, ..”

“Even though I'm so used to freaking out at presentations, it's part of my identity, ...” [Big nods and smiles from Dee]

“Even though I don't know what will happen to me at the presentation, ...”


This brought the SUDS down to 9, 7, then 6. By then, we were running out of time and Dee was tired. So we tapped something like:

“Even though I know I'm going to freak out at the presentation, I can freak out calmly”

The SUDS went down to 5, and Dee was totally tapped out, so we concluded there. She said that she felt very comfortable with the idea of freaking out calmly and wants to do that at the meeting. So together, we arrived at a homework to tap several times a day as a Setup and a Reminder without SUDS:

“I can be calmly nervous, and that's OK.”


When I saw Dee again afterwards, she had carried out this meeting with ease. She is now quite happy to do small presentations. Our work continues, but that's a whole other story. Dee is very happy with her progress so far and is singing the praises of EFT. She wants more people to know that when you have fear of public speaking, there are many others like you, something she did not know at first, and that you can release the roots of this very common fear.



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Author's Bio:

© Suzanne Zacharia 2010.  My name is Suzanne Zacharia and I am committed to spreading the word about health options. I believe that the more and better options one has, the more choice there is.  

A virus caught along with 5 other students at university at the end of 1986, plus medical negligence, meant that I got smokers lung at a relatively young age.  In desperation for help with my symptoms and quality of life, I turned to complementary therapy, and I have outlived one doctor's prognosis by many years now.

I am now a complementary therapist, author and trainer specializing in energy healing.  Want to use this article?  You can, as long as you credit me with it and invite your readers to get my FREE EFT book "EFT How-To For You" at http://www.EFT-Scripts.com


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