© Helen Lesser 2007
Question: I am treating a patient for a fear of dogs.
During the first treatment session (TV visualisation) he related an incident that happened when he was 11 years old and was bitten on the leg by a dog. Something he’d already told me about during the consultation the previous week.
I moved on to ‘verbal yes/no’ with TV Distraction – same incident again.
The following session with IMR – same incident once again.
When he tried to stick with that same incident on the next session too, I attempted to work towards the Reason, but all I could get was that the fear protects him from being bitten by dogs, but he is no more likely than anyone else to be bitten by a dog.
Do you have any suggestions on approaches that may avoid the dog incident in future sessions?
Without knowing the question actually put to the patient, it is not possible to know whether the information gained so far is accurate. The fact that he is no more likely to be bitten by a dog than anyone else may well be the case, because he has the fear to keep him away from them! It may well be that tightening up on the wording of the questions themselves would provide more useful information.
However, if the words and phrasing of the question are suitably specific and the patient still insists that this incident is the one and only important piece of information, I would work with the information he is giving.
You cannot avoid the incident if he keeps throwing it at you. Trying to do so will just strengthen his resolve and you’ll have a challenge on your hands, rather than co-operation. Why not just chuck a load of logic at him? Two options spring to mind:-
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