Phobia – Getting Rid of Fears and Burdens

by Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., C.C.H.

Before telling this story, create a list of concerns, worries, and burdens that the child (and parent) has indicated, directly or covertly, they carry around with them.

 

Once upon a time there was a little boy/little girl who was very sad. Everywhere he/ she went there was a mean old ogre who would follow in his/her footsteps and whisper in his/her ear. The mean old ogre made him/her carry a bag around. And into the bag, would go heavy rocks. Everywhere they went, as they walked along, the ogre would whisper in the boy’s/girl’s ear, “There’s a rock you need to carry. Pick it up! Put it in your bag!”

“Look, there’s a rock about feeling bad about yourself! Pick it up right now and put it in your bag.”

“Look, there’s a rock about getting poor grades in school! Pick it up and put it in your bag.”

“Look, there’s a rock about your fear of the dark! Pick it up and put it in your bag.”

And the little boy/little girl did so, because he/she was afraid. “I have to do what the ogre says.” And the bag got heavier and heavier.

MORE ROCKS (use the child’s list):
(Not being liked by other kids, not getting homework done, being angry, being mean to sibling, being afraid of the dark, talking too much in class, not getting along with parent (step-parent), pressure to do good (or achieve), never doing anything right, feeling like a coward, not being confident, feeling stupid, feeling ugly, feeling unloved, etc. )

With each rock, follow it with the following:
And the little boy/little girl did so, because he/she was afraid. “I have to do what the ogre says.” And the bag got heavier and heavier.

Everywhere the boy/girl went he/she had to pick up more and more rocks. And the bag got 5B4 heavier and heavier. Finally the bag got so heavy that it took every ounce of energy the little boy/little girl had drag it along the path.

One day, as he/she and the ogre were walking along the path next to a lake, a Wizard peeked out from behind a tree. He watched the little boy/little girl struggling with the heavy bag, as he/she kept picking up more rocks and putting them in. He also could see the outline of the ugly ogre walking behind the boy/girl, whispering to him/her. He noticed that it was the same size as the little boy/little girl, and it stayed very close to him/her. Now, the Wizard felt very sorry for the little boy/little girl. It seemed such a shame for him/her to keep dragging around such a heavy load.

And so, the Wizard jumped out into the path, startling the little boy (little girl). The Wizard’s hat was tall and pointed and had many stars of silver on it. He had a long, deep purpose cape with all kinds of magical figures on it in gold. Every move he made sent sparkles all around. He was very tall; and in his right hand he held a long black wand with a crystal on it’s point.

The Wizard asked the boy (the girl), “Why are you carrying that bag of heavy rocks?”

“An ogre keeps telling me I have to,” replied the boy (the girl).

“Why do you have to?” asked the Wizard.

“I don’t know, he just tells me I must,” cried the boy (the girl). “And even though my bag is already too heavy, he keeps making me put in more and more rocks.”

Then the Wizard asked, “Well, how much longer do you want to drag around that bag of heavy rocks?”

“I don’t want to drag it around,” the boy (the girl) insisted, “but he says I must.”

“Why don’t you just stop listening to the ogre,” asked the Wizard.

“Because I’m afraid of him,” replied the little boy (little girl).

“Nonsense!” said the Wizard. All you need is a little courage and confidence, and you’ll be rid of the rocks.”

“But how do I get courage and confidence?” asked the boy (the girl).

The wizard replied, “If you really want to get rid of those heavy rocks, I can create some magic with my wand. I’ll simply tap you on your right shoulder and send courage into you. And then I’ll tap you on your left shoulder and send confidence into you. And, you’ll be able to get rid of the ogre… and the rocks. But, the question is, do you really want to get rid of them?”

“Oh, I DO want to get rid of the rocks! ” cried the boy/girl. “Please Mr. Wizard, please give me some magic so I won’t have to carry this weight any longer.”

So the Wizard struck the little boy/little girl hard on the right shoulder with his magic wand, sending red sparks everywhere. “There’s your Courage!” Then he struck him/her hard on the left shoulder with his magic wand, sending blue sparks everywhere. “There’s your Confidence! “The rest is up to you.”

And the Wizard immediately disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Suddenly, the boy/girl felt stronger and unafraid.

The ogre complained, “Don’t listen to that guy!” It’s important that you keep picking up those heavy rocks like I’ve told you.”

But the boy/the girl wouldn’t listen any longer. He/she dragged his/her heavy bag over to the side of the lake. He/she pulled out the biggest stone in the bag and heaved it out into the water as far as he/she could. One by one, he/she took out each rock and threw it as far as he/she could into the middle of the lake where there was a big deep hole.

Therapist can name each rock, if desired, or merely let the child take time to get rid of all the rocks without comment.

Follow each with the rhythmic:

And the little boy/little girl felt lighter and lighter.

As each rock went in, the boy/girl could feel the ogre behind him/her getting smaller and smaller and smaller, until, finally, with the very last rock, the ogre disappeared altogether.

And the little boy/little girl went off down the path, with the empty sack slung over his/her shoulder, whistling as he/she went.


 

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