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.
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