#2 – Ewy (Bird Phobia)

Poster of a woman terrorized by frightening birds - From the Alfred Hitchcock movieEwy came to see us to help alleviate her extreme phobia of birds. Although she had spent hundreds of dollars and tried many different forms of therapy in the past, her phobia had still managed to intensinfy to the point that she would often avoid going out into open spaces where birds may be around. She had become so terrorized by this fear that the thought of eating at an outdoor restaurant where a hungry bird might possibly approach the table fully stopped her from even making such arrangements.

In Ewy’s case, her phobia began with a traumatic experience in her youth. As a very young girl, Ewy very much liked birds and even thought them to be beautiful and fun to play with, but when she was 5 years old, Ewy’s pleasant feelings towards birds changed very dramatically to ones of fear and panic – all because of one very small and seemingly insignificant event…

Throughout Ewy’s whole childhood, her grandmother had a very large collection of cockatiels which Ewy would often help her take care of. Feeling she knew what she was doing and wanting to surprise her grandmother, one day Ewy decided to feed all the birds herself. She went into the bird-room, closed the door behind her and began feeding them. Unfortunately, she forgot to re-lock the cage doors and within a matter of moments, all the cockatiels escaped their cages and were flying all around her head in this small enclosed room.

The sheer shock and surprise of the moment already had Ewy highly traumatized, but at the same time, the young girl knew she wasn’t meant to be doing this alone. This compounded the feelings of terror with feelings of shame and guilt. This paralyzing mixture of emotions is often so devastating to our psyches that we, in that moment, make an unconscious decision NEVER to let such a thing happen again… Our unconscious minds, in trying to protect us from such a devastating event, exaggerates the feelings of fear and we end up with a feeling of terror… In Ewy’s case, this event marked the start of her intense bird phobia.

From that day onwards, whenever she would see a bird (especially one in flight) she would, on a deep unconscious level, be reminded of the 5-year-old’s terrible experience and would feel the intense terror she had now associated with it.
Now, in Ewy’s case, regardless how much therapy or relaxation she would do, there was a part inside of her that was unwilling to release her fear due to the child’s intense fear of re-creating such a situation again.

Understanding that, during the session I guided Ewy through a series of processes to help her re-categorize the 5-year-old’s experience and to get her to now see it with an adult perspective. She was then able to release the shame and guilt she had been carrying around for all these years. Within just over an hour, Ewy had managed to fully change her perspectives – As you will see on the video, the same woman who said she would be happy if she could somehow just manage to be in the same environment as birds, suddenly found herself enjoying playing with a bird and having it perched on her finger.

It truly was a wonderful treat working with Ewy, not only just because we got to see her finally getting over her phobia, but even more-so because we watched her, before our very eyes, re-connecting with the young girl inside of her – The little girl who always loved birds and considered them to be beautiful and wonderful… A little girl that had been suppressed by fear for WAY too long!

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