Interview Anxiety Relief: New Jobs, Layoffs, Promotions, Performances

Yesterday someone asked if we had any processes to deal with job anxieties.  For many people these situations can be a bit unnerving. Maybe even stressful.  While you could create a specific process for each such anxiety, we already have one for you that is easily adapted, and so powerful it’s almost overkill.   It only takes 15 minutes or so the first time, and even less with practice.

All that is needed to make it a custom fit for you is to change the context to the interview, negotiation, or whatever situation you want to feel real easy about.

Technically called three place disassociation, it’s more commonly known by its first popular use:  curing phobias and  traumas.  Now you want to imagine a process that can relieve and remove a life long phobia, or a serious post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Then imagine what a slim chance your anxiety has against that.  Almost seems unfair, doesn’t it?

No, it’s quite fair to use a proven tool in freeing yourself from useless fears and the friction they cause.  It’s only rational to make something you have to do easy, and may  I suggest, even fun?

Yes, it can be.  For instance, this process has been used many times with test anxiety.  The common result is that students reporting they now look forward to tests.

One grade school student even said “Now it’s great when the teacher says we have a test the next day, because that means no homework.” (and he’s now carrying an A- average)

So imagine for yourself how and where you could make your life easier and more satisfying by letting go of a few needless fears, anxieties, or worries.

Then watch This Video a few times  (It’s short).  The first time watch it from the perspective of a student wanting familiarity with the process.  The second time, choose a small issue of your own just for experimental purposes.  Now  imagine yourself the demonstration subject, going through the process as if you were in the video, using your issue as the example.

Then notice how you feel in response to that former concern. How much lighter, easier, is it to consider?  You may even want to go through the process several times just to see how easy and relieved you can be.  You may want to try it with different situations, or with a friend.

If you prefer to read the process outline, it’s excerpted below in a format from our “Practitioner Training Trainer’s Manual.”

The Video is Steve Andreas demonstrating the process 25 years ago.   Just in case you want some additional evidence,  we have a follow up 25 years later you can see here.

Naturally, you can buy your own copy of the original Phobia Process on DVD.  If you’d like to get the original NLP Phobia Video on DVD it’s available here – at a special price of $19.95!

And if you want the updated version, it’s included on our “The Portable Practitioner Training” and you can find out all  about that and over 50 other NLP processes and models HERE.


Tom Dotz

Fast Phobia Process  – from the “Trainer’s Edition” 24 Day NLP Practitioner Manual “

(note:  substitute your issue wherever the word “phobia” appears. )

1.         Establish Rapport, and deliver two standard reframes:

a)   “Most people learned to be phobic in a single situation that was actually dangerous or seemed very dangerous.  The fact that you were able to do what psychologists call ‘one trial learning’ is proof that your brain can learn really fast.  That ability to learn fast will make it easy for you to learn a new response.”

b)   “The part of you that has been protecting you all these years by making you phobic is an important and valuable part, and we want to preserve its ability to protect you in situations that are dangerous.  All we want to do is refine and improve its ability to protect you by updating its information.”

2.         Access Phobic State.  (partially) by asking about it:

“When is the last time you had that repsonse?”

“What happens when you become phobic?”

“How do you know you have a phobia?”

Calibrate to the behavioral shifts (breathing, posture, facial expression, color, etc.) that occur when the phobic state is accessed, and use this information later when testing, in order to know when this state has been changed.

3.         Establish 3 Place Dissociation.

a)   “With your eyes open or closed, imagine you’re sitting in the middle of a movie theater and you see a still, black and white snapshot of yourself on the movie screen.”

b)   “Now float out of your body up to the projection booth, (or a seat at the back of the theater) where you can see yourself sitting in the seat, and also see the still, black and white snapshot on the movie screen.”  (Use hand gestures to keep all 3 places cleanly sorted.  Even when the client closes his eyes, gesturing will help keep your tonal shifts well sorted.)

4.         Run Black and White Movie.

“Now stay in the projection booth until I tell you to leave it, as you watch and listen to a black and white movie of yourself in one of those situations where you had this phobia.”  (You can have them watch the worst time, the first time (if it is remembered), or just a recent time.)  “I want you to watch the whole event, starting before the beginning of that incident to after the end of it, when everything was OK again.  Watch and listen as the younger you goes through that experience, while you simply watch as a detached observer, as if it had happened to someone else.  When you’re done with that movie, stop it as a still picture, and let me know, but keep your eyes closed.”

5.         Run Movie Backwards.

“Next I want you to leave the projection booth and step back into that still picture at the end (reassociate) and then run the movie of that experience backwards in color in about 1 ½ seconds, (make a sound indicating time length) all the way back to before the beginning of the unpleasantness.  OK.  Go ahead.”

6.         Testing and Future Pace.

Attempt to re-access the phobic state in any way you can:

“What if you were in that situation now?”

“Imagine being in one of those situations right here.”

“When will you next encounter one of these situations?”

If you know content, you can be more detailed:  “What if a big hairy spider crawled out from under this table right now?”

Observe the non verbal response and compare what you see with your earlier calibration.  What had been a stimulus for the phobic state should now be no more remarkable than a table or a chair.

If you still get the phobic response, find out how the person may have not followed the procedure exactly (the person may have added or subtracted steps).  “What was it like when you did that?”  If they still have only a portion of the phobic response, have them repeat the procedure exactly, but faster each time, until none of the phobic response remains.

7.         Closing.

“Since you have been phobic, you have stayed far away from those particular situations in which you used to be phobic, so you haven’t had the opportunity to learn about them.  As you begin to encounter and explore these situations in the future, I want to urge you to exercise a certain degree of caution until you learn about them thoroughly.”

Discussion:  Sometimes the person consciously expects the response and may temporarily create some of it consciously, even though the cure has worked.  You may need to test again in a minute or two to get a clean response.

The 3 place dissociation is not absolutely essential, except perhaps for a really strong phobia.  Simple (2 place) dissociation will usually work as well if the client has difficulty with the three place dissociation.

Be sure the client’s posture and eye gaze is appropriate to dissociated visualization.  You can ask the client to put hands behind head and interlace fingers and look up, or directly mold the client’s posture, as a way to help access dissociation.

Sometimes you need to chunk down the stimulus further in very extreme phobias:  show top half of movie first, and then bottom half.  Show every 3rd minute, then 2nd and 1st minutes, show movie without sound, etc.  You may also need to use other submodalities to maintain the dissociation.

Strange example:  An epileptic client had a seizure when viewing the interrupted (chunked down) movie.  Presumably the flashing internal pictures triggered the seizure!  (Flashing external lights can elicit epileptic seizures.)

Generalization:  This method is great to know about for dealing with any traumatic experience, not just those labeled phobias.  It can be used for any unpleasant response that is too intense for change history.  This method is also great for helping people get over war experiences (“post traumatic stress syndrome”), rape, or abuse, or perhaps a bad experience with an “authority figure” that interferes with someone’s ability to do his job properly.  If a sales person had a really bad experience with phone calling, so now thinking about phone calling makes him get extremely nervous, this would probably fix it.

0 thoughts on “Interview Anxiety Relief: New Jobs, Layoffs, Promotions, Performances”

    1. HI Wilfredo,
      The way to use this process is with an example of a situation that provokes an anxiety response. Think of any one that comes to mind, just for a second, and then make a note that will identify it.
      Use that to work through the process.

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