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Free Your Child’s Fears

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Free Your Child’s Fears

What do you do if your child suffers from nightmares, fear of failure, or other phobias? What do you do if they are allergic to cow\’s milk, gluten, pollen, tomatoes or dust? Simple: you tell them an extraordinary story.

The idea of writing healing stories for children came to him after his appearance on a program from the Flemish television network VTM, in 1999. During the program, Paul Liekens, a NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) trainer, told how many phobias and allergies could be cured using NLP techniques. He backed his claim up by helping a well-known anchorman overcome his fear of flying. After the program, the network was overrun with calls, many from parents with children suffering from allergies and other sensitivities.

But children do not respond well to the abstract NLP reprogramming techniques, which focus on learning to look at yourself from a distance. Liekens went looking for an alternative way of reaching the subconscious, and hit upon the idea of using fairy tales and metaphors in stories. He initiated a test project using stories with 20 children. The results were so amazing 18 of the 20 children overcame their problem that his subject’s parents have allowed their telephone numbers to be published in his recent book ˜Healing Stories™ so that skeptics could call them up.

According to Liekens, biological processes are driven by the subconscious. If someone contracts food poisoning after eating shrimp, the subconscious may repeat the reaction of vomiting and becoming ill when other fish products are eaten. The positive intention behind this exaggerated reaction is to protect you from getting sick again by preventing you from eating fish. Conventional medicine keeps this reaction in check by using remedies such as antihistamines. But it doesn’t solve the problem, which means people continue to have the allergic reactions.

Liekens and his co-author Ann Delnoy work with metaphors and fairy tales to rectify this glitch in children sub-consciousnesses. Fairy tales give young people the opportunity to recognize patterns in their own life, without directly pointing them out. A child can strongly identify with a stuffed animal or a hero. What happens to the stuffed animal in the story is, as it were, what the child is experiencing. If the stuffed animal heals from a particular symptom, the child can too.

Fairy tales make a distinction between identity you are healthy and physical reactions your tummy hurts. Liekens: You are not the one who is allergic, it is your skin or your stomach that is having an allergic reaction. NLP assumes that the subconscious is made up of countless parts. Sometimes the various parts confuse signals and use, for example, an allergic reaction to cats, so they don’t have to go visit aunt Grumble. Which is why some people are allergic to cats, except their best friend’s cat.

In the fairy tales Liekens also helps the children discover that they have little helpers in their tummies (their own healing power), and they can ask them anything they want. In the stories the stuffed animals become stronger, smarter or develop more self-confidence and the allergy excuse is no longer needed. The book also provides practical tips for parents to assist them in successfully making up a story to help their child heal.

Next: How to write a healing story

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Read more: Children, Family, , ,

By Tijn Touber, Ode Magazine

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Megan, selected from The Intelligent Optimist

Ode, the magazine for Intelligent Optimists, is an international independent journal that publishes positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.


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10:19PM PST on Nov 3, 2009

It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.

vitamin a

1:49AM PST on Nov 2, 2009


We are never too old for stories. Why do you think books and movies are so popular? Who doesn't love to tell stories around a campfire?

Learning can be and is an enjoyable experience. As it should be.

12:41PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

Nicole, humans at any age relate to stories, myths, songs, theater, poetry. Symbol and metaphor are the language of the subconscious mind. Popular culture is full of it. These stories show up in the news, TV, movies, song lyrics, urban myths, the stories kids tell each other, etc. Whether it's "octo-mom", "the balloon boy", "the Bernie Maddock ponzi scam", a politician's fall from grace, or a celebrity's bad-boy or bad-girl behavior, these stories all have archetypal resonance in the subconscious, whether we are aware of it or not. Just use the particular elements or symbols that would interest your ten-year-old.

11:51AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I'm a kinesiologist and I help my and other children with the
Health Kinesiology. They got in balance and haven' t so much fear and they sleep better.

10:42AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

What about older children? My son is afraid of having nightmares; he's 10 years old so he's a little too old for fairy tales but still too young for the adult technique of looking back at yourself. I'm still struggling to find ways to help him.

6:52AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

I have used techniques similar (but not the same) when my children were young, and they do work on some stuff. Some things they just have to outgrow.

3:33AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

We learn from adults who really care :) thanks for making the difference because it's the difference that demonstrates care. I do same with my children - we learn together.

3:33AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

We learn from adults who really care :) thanks for making the difference because it's the difference that demonstrates care. I do same with my children - we learn together.

3:07AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

We learn from stories.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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