Dr Ashworth, who was one of those who discovered Gaze Therapy, has found it to be helpful in many different situations. He recalls a few people who have benefited from this approach.
A doctor colleague I travelled on a train with was glad to learn BabyGaze for symptom relief in his Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Anxiety disorders come in different ways to different people. The common factor is that they are disabling and interfere with normal life. If you have watched Donna, the nurse in the video, she had a problem even going on holiday until she tried Gaze Therapy which she found very helpful. That video wasn’t staged: she thanked me for the technique when she got back from holiday and I was visiting patients at her workplace. I just asked her if she would mind repeating what she had just said for a video which I took with my iPhone.
Other anxieties have other impacts. An offshore worker I recently saw had poor dental health because of his Dentist Anxiety. When I did his medical, his teeth looked to me as if they needed work - I couldn’t fix them myself but I taught him BabyGaze so that he could manage to get through a dental consultation. In that particular case, although I don’t have problems myself with the dentist, I have problems with the hygienist and so I BabyGaze throughout the procedure.
These can interfere with life in ways that others wouldn’t imagine. I taught gaze therapy to a needle phobic who rang two weeks after treatment to report that her partner’s diabetes was no longer an issue for her because for the first time she could now help him preparing his pen for injections. In her case she was able to tell the vet that she didn’t need to leave the room when her pet was injected - in fact she held him and watched the needle go in, again for the first time. SHe has subsequently been able to have an injection herself without the feeling of fear she used to endure.
Sometimes phobias can have an occupational impact. An apprentice joiner I met was, despite his gentle giant appearance, terrified of spiders: he had arachnophobia. He ran 200 metres away from a spider found in a kitchen he was refitting the day before gaze therapy. The day after gaze therapy his workmates reported watching his play on his own forearm with a spider he had found in a skip. Finding spiders is common for joiners! A builder with a fear of heights (acrophobia) was able to control his symptoms using Gaze Therapy.
When anxiety gets out of control is can cause a panic attack. I recently became a bit of a hero to my fellow passengers on a flight leaving Birmingham for Edinburgh. A lady rushed to the back of the plane declaring that she was having a panic attack. The steward, following his training engaged her in small talk but that didn’t help. I engaged her in BabyGaze and she overcame the attack in under half a minute, much to the relief of others who were mainly business passengers who saw the risk of delay when a plane loses its take off slot. We took off on time and everyone, especially the ‘patient’ was happy.
A man I know had outbursts of anger that threatened his marriage to such an extent that he had been arrested and imprisoned when he threw his wife against a wall. In a bid to control his anger he had developed an alcohol problem that just made things worse.
He has described his anger control as being down to learning the BabyGaze. The marriage is now back on an even keel and he has not taken alcohol for over a year.
PTSD is a common and serious anxiety disorder. Though we can deal with this in our clinical practice we do not currently advocate an online approach. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published very helpful guidelines on PTSD that can be found online here.
By treating anxiety as a physical complaint with a simple physiological solution rather than rehearsing reasons and trying diversions, the neurobiological approach to common phobias has been helpful.