I was asked to advise about a return to work program for a young woman who
had a car accident while on company business. She was clearly traumatised
by the event, with a range of symptoms that she would not have known how
to fake. (Companies are often worried that workers are faking their
The human resources people, kind as they were,
wanted a slow and progressive return to work, perhaps taking a few weeks.
I said that I'd have her cured before they could finish the paperwork.
Which I did, or rather, she cured herself, I
just stood with her for an hour on the street where the accident occurred.
We walked up the street until she became anxious; waited for 10 minutes or
so until she could cope, then walked closer, until she could stand at the
corner and stay there. She came back the next day, spent another hour, and
that was that.
The treatment for fear is, of course, exposure.
Not everyone realises this, not even all psychologists. I had one
psychologist who, when I challenged him about the extended time that his
patient had been off work, said "What are you going to do - take her
back to the accident?"
Well, yes. It's the only thing that works. It
can be done in various ways - there is some clever work being done with
virtual reality - but facing your fear is always the key. No amount of
calming and counselling will do anything useful for fear!
The Pocket Fear Eliminator might help you to
explain the approach to your fearful people.
Pocket Fear Eliminator - 53 KB PDF