By Christopher Paul Jones, aka The Breakthrough Expert
Could Harry Potter offer the solution when it comes to helping your child deal with a phobia? Could a magic spell be the cure?
Whenever Harry wants to turn a negative situation or feeling into a positive one, he uses The Ridiculous Spell. By waving his wand at a person, or scenario, Harry transforms a moment of fear into a moment of comedy.
Imagine being able to help your child carry a magic wand with them that they can wave at something you don’t like… whether it’s a spider, plane travel or undergoing a medical procedure or what we call trypanophobia.
The good news is you can! When visiting a phobia-cure specialist they actually use something very similar to the Ridiculous Spell to help desensitise your child from their fear, memory or phobia.
Picture the scene; your child is terrified at the sight of a spider in their room. Chances are they start to panic, running around, crying and, perhaps, screaming. They are clearly distressed!
In their mind the situation is serious and scary. Over time, from the original development of this fear or phobia they have blown this ‘spider’ out of all proportion. He probably looks bigger and brighter than he really is, and they are probably more aware of sensations and sounds around them. They are in fight or flight mode and the adrenaline is pumping.
Just like in a scary movie, they have created a scene that they unwittingly play over and over in their head. They might hear certain noises, see a certain scenario. And just like the scary movie, everything has been blown out of all proportion. The sounds are much louder than in reality, and the scene looks big, bold and… terrifying.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. They can be the director of their own movie – by using the Ridiculous Spell.
Sit them quietly (at a time when the spider is not in the room) and ask them to see, in their mind, what it is that terrifies them. Then ask them to change the colour – perhaps make it all green, or black and white, change the soundtrack. Give the spider googly eyes and giant pink daisy-shaped sunglasses, and put him on sparkly roller skates, then add their favourite cartoon music. They can’t help but smile now, can they?
This is exactly what Harry’s Ridiculous Spell does – it makes a scary situation funny.
And just like a great magic spell – it really works. That’s because it’s not actually possible to feel two emotions at the same time. So, when you take charge, and edit your ‘movie’ from scary to funny, and it raises a giggle – it’s impossible to feel fear at the same time.
With my clients, I get them to change their movie, and their internal dialogue as many times as required, so the movie is changed forever, and they find it impossible to feel the same way again about their ‘phobia’. It’s a pretty powerful ‘spell’ – and one you can do successfully with your children.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Paul Jones, aka The Breakthrough Expert, is a therapist based in Harley Street who specialises in helping people let go of their fears, anxieties and even their phobias; from a fear of public speaking to anxieties around work, Christopher has helped 100s of people ‘let go’ and get their lives back. He even cured his own morbid fear flying, to the extent he was able to take a sightseeing flight through the Pyrennees – strapped to the OUTSIDE of a helicopter!