OK, so I will provide some basic instructions and outline to help you write, direct and produce your own personally tailored horror film. The idea is that by facing cues, whether they be images, thoughts, emotions, memories and so on, with repeated viewing, they lose their power. They aquired their power by conditioning in the first place and so by utilizing those same laws of conditioning, we can decfrease their power. Thus by learning to “lose control” and stop the process of avoidance, we can face any fear, image, and thought. There is no such thing as a dangerous thought.
So, here is the basic outline and example. While this technique can be employed toward any difficult emotion, right know we will just focus on fear. In the example I provide, the individual is facing the fear of fear. That is , the fear of losing control as a result of facing her fears. This is very common and is often a good place to start since so many share this fear.
Describe the fear, anxiety, or worry that you want to expose:
“Fear of losing it from facing fear”
Rank your fear on a 0-100 scale: “95”
What elements are likely to magnify fear intensity (setting, time, people or objects present, other contextual cues):
“Co-workers, family, and others see me lose it. I let the anxiety come and it just takes over.”
How do people react to you in the scene?
“They look at me like I am nuts. They call the ambulance to take me away.”
Does this tap memories that bear a similarity to this scene?
“My mother had to be hospitalized for depression when I was young. I know people looked at her differently after that.”
What is the most feared outcome or consequence?
“I become insane from too much anxiety. I have to be put away and have no control over my thoughts or actions. I lose my job. And I even lose my husband and family and I am completely abandoned and alone”
Put it all together into one scene:
“I start facing fear doing this exercise and the fear just keeps on mounting. It just keeps building and building. My heart beats wildly and I feel my muscles get so tight it feels they might snap. My thoughts starts running wild and I can’t slow them down. It feels like a tornado in my brain. I go to work and can’t calm down. people see that i appear distraught. I try to forget the anxiety but it just keeps building. People are starting to look concerned but also like they want me out of there. They don’t want to see someone like that. I get so upset that I get physically sick. Now they look disgusted. I can hear people muttering that they think I am having a breakdown and someone yells to call the ambulance. The ambulance arrives and they strap me to a gurney. Everyone is watching as they cart me out. They look at me like I am a pathetic lunatic. My husband arrives at the hospital and he looks disgusted with me. Its like he knew I would turn out like my mother and be a burden. he doesn’t leave me because that wouldn’t look good but he doesn’t love me any more and I am all alone.”
Rank our fear (0-100): “50”. I realize I’m not really going to lose it from fear and it’s not really dangerous. My real fear is judgement and rejection.
Of course we know that as shame.
Ok, so that’s essentially it. Of course your own scenes may appear very different. Remember, there is no such thing as wrong scenes. If it occurs to you, then it is probably important. You’ll see over time what cues help provoke the most fear. And keep repeating the scene. Over time, it will (surprisingly quickly) lose its power, The scene may change and you can add or replace scene content. Sometimes, old memories will surface that you can also focus on and allow the emerging emotions to be fully embraced. More on that in the next post.
Some of you may not be able to do this on your own. not every one can clearly harbor scenes in their mind, or some may feel too threatened. neither is a failure. For these and other reasons, all are encouraged to seek professional assistance. What I am promoting is not a replacement, but a supplement.
Please, feel free to share comments, comments, questions or concerns.
Have fun making movies.