"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Chinese Proverb
This is one of my favorite proverbs, as I apply this to my philosophy on healing.
We have often heard the terms, "Face the fear." and "Feel the fear, and do it anyway." This is where I see giving a man a fish and sustaining him for 24 hours.
Imagine someone having a phobia of public speaking (or perhaps a phobia you are currently experiencing). The individual in question, Michael, is told he must give a speech in a room of 300 people 5 days from now. The panic starts at that very moment, the moment that he visualizes himself on the podium with a sea of people before him, all watching, judging. His heart begins to flutter, the cold-sweats kick in, his breathing becomes shallow and his brain begins the torturous task of reliving the image over and over again. For the next 5 days, Michael experiences a personal hell - he eats far less than his caloric requirement... every time he places something in his mouth he vomits it back up. Some nights he remains awake until the early hours of the morning fretting, other times he just wants to spend the day in bed. Sometimes, he even turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol to dull some of the sheer pain he is being dragged through.
Finally, the day comes. Michael reminds himself to 'face the fear', throws up in a trashcan for 20 minutes, then, shivering and drenched in perspiration, a thinner, more pale Michael mounts the stage and gives his speech. The room is spinning and his voice is audibly quavering, but when the speech is over, he is visibly relieved. Finally, he says to himself. It's over, I can relax...
... But the moment is short lived. Michael is informed, at that moment, that he must make a new speech to present every 5 days for the next 7 months, with the number of people steadily increasing with each speech. Imagine the sheer torture our poor Michael is experiencing now! For it isn't just within the moment that the speech occurs that the person suffers... it'severy moment that the image is conjured in their mind... which, for this poor soul, will most likely be every day for the next several months. Can you imagine what that type of stress is doing to the body?
Now, there is possibility that our friend will be desensitized to public speaking, since he will be receiving steady doses of his fear, or perhaps it'll have the opposite effect - he is essentially being flooded with stress, perhaps he is only anchoring this trauma by repeated action.
Now, let's apply the teach a man to fish part of the parable. Let's say Michael has just been informed he must give a speech 5 days from now in front of 300 people. Because of his long-standing phobia of public speaking, he immediately experiences the symptoms of severe fight-or-flight syndrome... sweating, rapid heartbeat, shivering, etc. Michael knew of a friend who recently had hypnosis to deal with the fear of flying. Michael visits a hypnotherapist and undergoes a reprogramming in the way he views public speaking - changing his perception from that of a highly frightening experience to a pleasant, fun venture. The root of the previous fear is dealt with, and is replaced with a more positive notion.
Michael spends the remainder of the days before the speech shopping for a new suit, practicing his speech animatedly in front of his friends, and researching successful techniques to integrate with his presentation to make his speech more appealing. Finally, the day arrives. Michael steps confidently onto the podium and proceeds to give a motivational presentation that has the audience completely engaged. He has them laughing with the jokes he's cracked, and many are nodding their heads at the words he is saying. At the end, everybody gives a rousing applause with standing ovation, and Michael is beaming. When informed he would have to repeat these seminars for the every 5 days next 7 months, he gladly accepts and vows to make each better than the last.
Do you see the difference? In one instance, Michael was just given enough to carry on for a short period... he would be OK, but it wouldn't last. When Michael decided to take control of his own power, he can now sustain himself continually.
Whether EFT, TAT, NLP, hypnosis or other techniques, changing the code within the mind changes one's reality. Such is the power of reprogramming the subconscious mind.