Case Study

Fear of Dogs

Joelle and I met through a peer mentoring group. She was a fellow coach and passionate about personal development. Joelle came from a background that has reservations about dogs, and when she came to my home for a visit, she faced one of her worst fears: my Akita-Chow dog, Kinook. 

Kinook never bit a soul in her long life. But she looked like a black bear, ears perked up, tail curled up, and her barking whenever she announced a visitor was loud and profound. For some reason, people who are afraid of dogs, are more afraid of black dogs than other colours, and more afraid of larger size dogs, although I’d dare say that smaller size dogs are more prone to bite than gentle giants. 

Joelle was out of breath when she saw Kinook. She thought of turning around and leaving, without visiting with me as we had planned. I asked her if she would agree that I try an intervention with her that had been proven successful with fears, and she said yes. 

I first tried a round of EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques with Joelle, and that didn’t seem to help much. Then I led her through the 3-2-1 Shadow Integration process, in which she faced Kinook, talking about her; then talked to Kinook in a dialogue; and then she became Kinook and spoke in her voice: “Look, this is my home, and I am barking to announce your arrival. I am only doing my job as a watch dog. I have to tell Tana that you’re here. I would like to come close and sniff you”

In the end of this exercises, a great degree of fear had dissipated. While not in love with Kinook, Joelle managed to tolerate my dog touching her briefly with the nose, and kept breathing through it. “Wait until I tell my husband how close I came with your dog!” Exclaimed Joelle, amazed at her own breakthrough.