A Creative Technique to Help Clients Face Fear

Fear is our body’s natural way of protecting us from a potential threat.

But when fear gets in the driver’s seat, it can keep us from the people and activities we value most.

So how can we help our clients take back control from their fears?

In the video below, Lynn Lyons, LICSW explains a creative technique for helping her client face her fears.

Take a look—it’s about 4 minutes.

Sometimes it can feel like our fears are in control of us.

But Lynn offered us an example of a creative technique for helping clients take back control from fear.

This video was taken from the Next Level Practitioner training program where members receive a daily video like this from some of the top experts in our field. That program is not open for new members just yet, but if you would like to get on the waiting list for when it opens, please click here.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you. How do you help clients face their fears?

Please leave a comment below.

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18 Comments

  1. Joanna Kovats says:

    Again, very useless stuff. What did I pay for?

  2. Ash says:

    Thank you very much. I will try it tomorrow :D

  3. Laurence Hewitt says:

    I have used this technique to great effect, with 2 clients. In both cases, it allowed the clients to distance themselves from the anxiety and hear their fears verbalized in a ridiculous cartoonish voice. The result is a more objective perspective of their fears, making the anxiety seem silly to themselves. It works and works quickly.

  4. daisy says:

    I’ve watched my fear of driving grow and blossom from a sensible 15yr old’s fear (which I managed to get over and drive for going on two decades).
    Now, I feel the fear of killing someone (my dad was killed by a car when I was 15 and just like that a handful of lives were changed forever).
    I’m using this fear to mask my fear of life in general.
    I can drive locally but have put this fear in the way of engaging with my family (except for their occasional visits).
    I don’t know where to go next?
    Please help me with some ideas.
    thanx.

  5. Pascale Scheurer says:

    I’ve used several practical suggestions from within Buddhist psychology (that don’t require a belief in Buddhism per se), for example:
    – “I see you Mara” – externalising and giving a personality to the inner critic or inner worry-monger. Invite “Mara” in for a cup of tea and see clearly what it’s trying to do before gently inviting it to go on its way.
    – “Don’t make fear your enemy, but don’t let it be the boss of you.” Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who suffered extreme panic attacks from the age of 6 until about 13. Youtube has videos of his talks on working through panic.
    – “Working with Fear” talk by Joseph Goldstein. This one was a real breakthrough for recurrent panic attacks. One phrase particularly resonated regarding how crippling fear can become: “I was afraid to go from sitting to standing.” And the solution of acceptance: “If this fear is here for the rest of my life, it’s OK.”
    – Naming the panic aloud: “I am afraid!” Which led to a sudden outburst of laughter, and the attacks soon disappeared. The feeling in the body still arises in specific circumstances, but it’s possible to stay with it until it passes.
    The writings of Peter Levine, Stephen Porges, Jaak Panksepp and Bessel van der Kolk have been influential in this process. I believe it to be a question of sympathetic and parasympathetic arousal in the body, which we can learn to work with.

  6. GunMarie says:

    I love techniques that are based on acceptance and don’t challenge resistance. I use Energy phychology like EFT. I have worked successfully with fear of driving. And time I’m in heavy traffic I do it myself. I tap on the meridian points s and focus on my feelings of being tense and anxious and when I feel more relaxed I tap on my intention to be obsevant and focused and on arriving safely. Has helped a lot driving in the Bay area or in my homtown Stockholm Sweden .
    When working with a 7 year old on his fear of flying we did a combination of EFT and naming his fear, also acknowleding the fear and questioning if it had anything new exept tge boring standard phrase: this is dangerous.

  7. Thanks.

  8. Linda Chernenkoff says:

    Inviting them to voice what they believe will happen if they act or do something that causes their feat

  9. sam says:

    excellent, I work with little kids- naming fears also anger and other emotions works really well- reminds me of the movie Inside Out- all the different emotions are in character form —

    • Felicia says:

      Hi Sam!
      You’re talking about Internal Family Systems (IFS)! The developer uses Inside Out to try and explain what’s it’s like inside ourselves. ;-)

  10. This is a drama therapy technique. Check it out. There even a drama therapy association NADT. :)

  11. Kevin Henry says:

    Simple, straightforward, and brilliant guidance, a lovely embodiment in direction and outcome of the principles of responsible self-leadership. Thanks for this gem of reminding I, for one, need often, often, often…

  12. Michelle Kelley says:

    Excellent technique! Thank you.

  13. Raghnall says:

    Thank you for sharing this playful way to deal with a driving fear. It seems to have an interesting mix of ’60’s Jay Haley/Ericson/Bateson, second cybernetics with some multi and equifinality thrown together with a narrative twist. I think Bill might be able to weigh in on these areas quite well.

  14. Tobias Schreiber says:

    Nice reframe interacting with the fear identity and accepting , then distancing from it. Thank you.

  15. hans says:

    You invite your fear to come along and then you get stood up by your fear! Imagine that!!

  16. Kimberly says:

    That was very helpful. What a great way to externalize the fear and do it afraid!
    Thanks so much!

  17. Ceri Louise Morton Thomas says:

    Helpful, reminded me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s comments about fear being with her on the road trip of her creativity, she invites fear along but they are not allowed in drivers seat!

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