Using EFT for the Fear of Public Speaking and the Fear of Flying

Written by: Nick Ortner

Meggan Watterson

A few weeks back, my friend and fellow Hay House author Meggan Watterson approached me to help her with her fear of public speaking. Meggan and I are sharing the stage in just a few months in San Jose, at the I Can Do It – IGNITE! event, and she was feeling very nervous about the speech.

Cheryl Richardson, New York Times bestselling author and Hay House star, had recommended Meggan try using EFT for her anxiety. She believed it could make the experience positive and enjoyable.

Meggan had taken the stage before with extremely positive feedback from her audiences. But she always read her speeches behind a podium and didn’t feel fully comfortable with the experience. For the Hay House event, she wouldn’t have a podium and was planning on speaking without a set script.

As we began our session, I asked Meggan to visualize being on stage, without the podium or her written speech, and to tell me what she experienced and particularly what she felt in her body.

I find that focusing on the body sensations is a great way to get started addressing any fears, particularly public speaking because it helps us connect more fully to the feelings and determine what’s really going on.

She shared with me that she felt a constriction in her chest and throat when she thought about the event; not a surprising place for a fear of public speaking! I asked her to give it a number and she shared that it was a 7 on a 0-10 scale.

We began tapping with some very simple statements:

Even though I have this constriction in my chest and throat, I deeply and completely accept myself…

Even though something feels stuck in my throat, I deeply and completely accept myself…

And even though I have this anxiety in my chest and throat, I chose to relax now…

We kept tapping through various statements and the points until she could no longer feel the constriction in her chest and throat.

I then had her go back to the image of herself speaking up on stage at the Hay House event, and asked her how she felt about it and what she saw. She shared that she felt better and saw the speech going well, but only once she started. “I think getting started is going to be tough.”

What was this? Of course, another ASPECT of the issue.

An ASPECT is a particular element of fear or memory, and it’s important to search for all the different aspects in order to get the best results. She had cleared out the stuck energy in her chest and throat, and then something else came up. So we continued tapping. Once this issue cleared she shared that she felt she’d get off to a great start.

I continued to ask her to visualize the event and look for anything that didn’t feel right. I even added to the potential pressure, on purpose, in order to make sure everything was clear. For example, I had her visualize the audience not smiling when she first came out. I wanted to see if that would bring up any anxiety.

The audiences at Hay House events are extremely receptive and welcoming to the speakers, but I wanted to “push her buttons” a little bit. This helped ensure we handled all the aspects.

This process continued, again and again, digging deeper and deeper, until she could no longer find any anxiety, stress, or worry about the speech. Instead, she reported, “I’m actually excited for this and starting to think about what I want to discuss. And I could never go there before because I was too terrified of the whole experience!”

Important: The way to get lasting results with fears or phobias is to dig deep and address all the aspects of the issue. This the time to look for what’s wrong, identify problems, poke at yourself, and see how it feels!

Fear of Flying and Deep-Seated Safety Issues

Meggan was delighted with how she felt and we were about to sign off from the call when sheairplane anxiety shared with me that she was excited to use EFT on a deep fear of flying that she had, especially since she was going to have to fly to the Hay House event!

The fear of public speaking had only taken 30 minutes to address, so I offered to continue helping her with the fear of flying and she agreed.

She shared with me that fifteen years earlier, she and her sister had flown together on a small airplane. That flight was the worst experience of her life. From the start, the turbulence was unlike anything before—the small plane dropping several feet at once, again and again.

She was sure she was going to die. The pilot didn’t say a word to reassure the passengers, and the muted cries and screams of the people around her made everything worse. They finally landed safely, but to Meggan’s mind and body, the trauma of the experience never left. She had worked on healing and had made progress, but at the deepest level, the trauma was still there, affecting her life in all sorts of ways.

This wasn’t just a fear of flying that we were working on together, it was a deep-seated fear about life, about safety, about who she was in the world, and not having to be on alert all times.

That one experience taught Meggan that she to be on alert at all times. It made her believe that the world was inherently unsafe and that her body was not safe either.

I used the “Tell The Story” technique with Meggan. This is where I ask someone to recount what happened while tapping simultaneously.

I could tell from Meggan’s body language and tone that just talking about the issue brought her some anxiety. I was careful to address this and slowly moved through the story. It was important that I reminded her that we could back away from the experience if the emotional intensity was too high or she felt unsafe.

Visual cues are one of the great things about working with people on video or in-person. The visual cues are so important to recognize and help people.

Meggan recounted what happened from start to finish, and I focused on helping her feel safe, guiding her with questions that brought her deeper into the experience when needed, and pulling her further out when necessary.

She told me what happened, step by step, and tapped the whole time. Her first recounting of it was very emotional but I could see her calming down as she tapped. I then had her tell me the story repeatedly until there was no emotional intensity to any element of it.

You can use this same technique, with others or by yourself. If you’re alone and want to work on something, just retell what happened, out loud, while tapping. Tell the story in as much detail as possible. Focus on sights, sounds, smells, and especially what you’re feeling as you retell the story. Then repeat it, digging deeper for any other aspects that come up until you feel it’s cleared.

In the end, when Meggan thought of the traumatic flight, she broke down in tears of joy. She no longer experienced the fear and pain that just thirty minutes earlier was paralyzing her.

We signed off and the next day, I received this email from her:

“I’ve been sleeping like a teen since our call. If it weren’t for my toddler, I might still be in bed. It’s not fatigue, it feels more like make-up sleep. The part of me that was terrorized into hyper-vigilance during that flight 15 years ago, to stay awake, to keep watch, to be ever on the lookout for my safety finally took a bow and stepped down. Not trusting life takes A LOT of energy. 🙂 I have this visceral knowing that when the make-up sleep has run its course, I’m going to have crazy amazing energy.

I’m so fascinated, and semi-perplexed, at the session’s effectiveness. I keep trying to conjure the fear I once had for flying, and also the naked, exposed feeling I had about speaking without a script in public and I just can’t access it. It’s not there. I remember who I am, or who I was before these fears made a home for themselves within me. I don’t get how tapping works, and I don’t need to – it just does.

It was the most grounded, and grounding, exercise I’ve ever been led through and yet at the same time my logical mind still can’t grasp how doing that strange dance with words and fingers tips against my upper torso served as the catalyst for healing that nothing medical, psychological, or therapeutic could do. Somehow the thoughts I had about the fear attached to the experience itself, and still lived there in my body.

Tapping accessed the actual wound and just lifted it. Poof. Tapping returned me the actual feeling of calm and safety in my body that the trauma of that flight has been blocking ever since. Like a magician pulling the white tablecloth out from under a dining set, tapping revealed that my trust in the world, in my life, has always been there – as my ground of being – the fear was simply obscuring its permanent presence within me.

I’m a convert. 🙂 A smacked-on-the-forehead–true believer-convert. My gratitude is endless.”


So What Happened?

As we can see from Meggan’s story, these traumatic life events can have profound consequences for our whole lives. Meggan’s issue wasn’t just a fear of flying, though I’m sure she’s grateful to overcome that particular fear. Her fear surrounded the broader issue of safety.

If we don’t feel safe in our bodies for whatever reason, it profoundly affects how we approach life. Whether it is a traumatic event, childhood trauma, or other reason, it stays with us. We have to acknowledge this pain in order to release it and find freedom. Meggan was a world force for good even before this session and I can’t wait to see what she does now!

What fears or phobias do you have and how might they be affecting other parts of your life? What beliefs do you have about yourself and the world because of these fears? Tap on them! What did you learn from Meggan’s story?

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

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44 Comments on this post

  1. Michelle says:

    Hey Nick,

    Once again, I have to fly to the Middle East (Dubai). I’ve been doing the ‘inner’ work to push through the fear of flying (and honestly DO feel so much better than a month ago, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed at even the ‘thought’ of flying), and it would be so helpful if there was an audio, or even better, a video, that would help me truly work through this ‘fear’ before I fly.

    If there is something that could help, please advise. I’m open to learning, always am, in fact, so I thought I’d ask you for your help, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to step on the plane and feel safe.

    Thank you (in advance),
    Michelle Reid

  2. David Michael says:

    I was really taken w your article about compassion. It has to be one of our hardest lessons. A Course In Miracles says all attack is simply a cry for help. So glad you reminded me of this. With the ongoing war with gay rights and Christian sexual guilt negativity misunderstanding and attack, it is so important to view both sides with compassion. So now if I feel like attacking back I know it’s my issue to resolve in me, have compassion for those who harbor negative beliefs and address my own fears of lack of safety, which seems to be the core issue living in bodies on Earth. Thanks for the reminder Nick, for some of us it is needed over and over.

  3. Val says:

    I tried quantum techniques- unsuccesful and then I tapped and tapped and tapped for hours, for days -and I didnt feel any release and yes I was doing it properly and yes I tapped for this to and for any resistance etc etc etc etc etc ???

  4. Hrysa says:

    Hi! ..I have a huge phobia of public speaking – and generally of exposing myself-..I ‘ve tried tapping and I have some good results while I’m doing it.. I feel relaxed.. but my phobia is so big that I never have the courage to try it in real life.. I mean, no matter how much tapping I do , I think I’ll never be able to see if it actually has worked..

  5. maria says:

    do you ever come to Dallas, Texas and if you do when do you come here

  6. gary ramey says:

    Forty years ago a swore to myself when i get off this plane i will never get on another one..This past summer with just one session i tapped all this fear away and flew to my 60th high school with no problem what so ever….I will use it next on my fear of public speaking if the need ever arises….I use it all the time on many minor issues and am very pleased

  7. Lynda says:

    Fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I truly believe in tapping since introduced to it last Spring via the Tapping Summit.

  8. Heather Todd says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story Nick. Just beautiful how simple tapping can cause such massive shifts in such a short time frame, isn’t it? I’ll always be grateful to Gary Craig for his innovation.

    Peace and joy…

  9. Aparna Natarajan says:

    The side-effect of feeling “sleepy” is so common with people who work on their very deep-rooted anxiety and tension problems. Isn;t it interesting that we spend at least a third of our lives sleeping. It is in that stae that so much repair work takes place.
    NOrmally after an EFT session with someone I get energized and need to “earth or ground” myself to let the energy/electrons streaming to release.

  10. Lucila says:

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful experences. The stories are just aconfirmation of the power of EFT.

  11. Natalie says:

    I am grateful for another story about healing
    Thank you, Nick, for this blog.
    Thank you, Meggan, for letting Nick share your experience.
    I am charged at the idea of one more person getting ‘it’ (b/c we are all connected to one another), so now that person is humming along at a higher vibration, which is propelling us all towards healing our Selves on earth. The JOY of learning and healing, simply by reading the experience of another, is a miracle I watch for on a daily basis. Peace & Plenty, Ya’ll!

  12. ISOKARI says:


  13. David says:

    I love how EFT is so powerfully effective yet simple to perform. The ability to nullify a fear as opposed to ‘being strong’ and overcoming an issue is quite amazing. Forever grateful that Gary Craig discovered EFT and made it available to all. How do you discover something like EFT amazes me. Thanks Nick for sharing such enlightening stories with us all.

  14. molly says:

    I have vertigo, do to swelling of my Estusian tube. I also have borderline high blood pressure. Stress and feel anxious.
    Can tapping help me?

  15. Carol says:

    To Baruch. I know the feeling about getting all of these programs and never really getting to the benefit after about 2/3 of the way thru. Now I use some of the free video’s from brad Yates and Margaret Lynch. I am not thinking about the money I have spent and just follow their tapping instructions. If you go all the way thru many times I ‘m sure you will get wonderful relief.
    EFT instructors offer an abundance of programs to choose from and I get a real feeling of caring and generosity from them. Personally I am very grateful for what I have gained and can’t thank them enough.

  16. Helen says:

    I had a scary experience with my car this past summer I could not get it stopped I dont know if my foot wouldnt move to hit the brake or something triggered a panic attack. Now I cant drive because I am so scared I cant even start a car it brings back the memory so vividly I am so paranoid when I get in a car. We traded the car for a new one because I could not even attempt to drive it. It checked out ok so it was not the car I have always been a good driver never involved in accident or had a ticket I have given up my freedom and tranquility because of it. I just wish I could get over this Thanks Do you think tapping would help?

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi- I absolutely think it can help! Try simply tapping while running the memory in your mind, with as much detail as possible. Keep doing it again and again and again, until you no longer feel an emotional attachment to it. Let us know how it works!


  17. Carol says:

    Thank you for this story. It reminds me of a technique I learned long ago in SCI. We took the participant thru the episode many times until it just bubbled up without emotion and was gone. Start and finish began disappearing until it met in the middle and vanished. The absence of emotion seems to be the key.
    EFT seems effortless in comparison with the same and greater results. I truly love EFT, even tho I have only been using it for a few months. This is another great example of how effective it is.
    Thanks again.

  18. Mark says:

    I was moved by reading the success for Meggan. I have tried tapping with only some success to this point with regard to going up buildings. It has ruined my life and including job prospects as for years I have had to work around this mean Phobia.
    I was in a plane crash at 22 and the trauma has obviously never left me. When I consider of what I have achieved professionally since then, I am amazed of just how far I have come but realize it is still not the same as being completely healed!
    Any time I go in a lift it is sheer hell. Maybe 5 floors but that’s it! So when I read about someone else having real success, I am truly happy for them. Well done Meggan!

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Mark,

      I know you can use this to find success for yourself! Try “telling the story” to yourself (or work with someone), about what happened in the plane crash, and tap through it.

      Good luck!

  19. daniella says:

    thank you nick,
    you give me ispiration and strength to enlarge eft practice with my clients.

  20. kendy says:

    Her testimony is so moving. and encouraging for the rest of us! Many thanks!

  21. Nella says:

    Thank you so much Nick and Meggan for sharing. These personal stories always mean so much like droplets adding to the pool of confidence, motivation, and happiness: a huge benefit to all of us blessed to hear them. Thank you.

  22. Frances Soda says:

    What an inspiring story. These sessions are life changing. One of my clients was afraid to fly as well. After clearing the phobia she flew to visit her sister whom she hadn’t seen in years with 3 small children in tow. I’m always grateful to EFT and this community.

  23. Joni Polehna says:

    I use EFT in my private practice in MN, USA. I teach classes and do public speaking as well, and am always nervous beforehand…on a low level, but one that keeps me from thinking I want to do lots of it! So, I read your words here , and tapped and triggered my own issues and reactions and tapped on them…and they’re GONE! Now when I think of public speaking, it’s just a thought without emotion; except maybe a little excitement! Love this work, love EFT.

  24. Barb says:

    Thank you for walking us through the tapping experience with Megan, sounds like it’s really inspiring others to use it more frequently and in depth, which I’m sure is your goal.

    I use it everyday, and although I don’t always get the stunning (always amazed but never surprised) results with myself as when I tap with/for others, like anything else related to self awareness, sometimes I’m too close to see what’s right in front of me; which of course is a tappable issue. That said a tapping buddy would be nice sometimes…

    What I’ve discovered along the way is that most anything/anyone that gets a strong, immediate reaction from me is simply mirroring an unhealed part of me, a part that is longing for love, acceptance, forgiveness; easy to see in others, but unacceptable in me. Ironically when I tap for my reaction and how I feel about that “dark” part of me, the situation or person no longer triggers that part of me and I’m left with a peaceful, compassionate feeling towards myself and others.

  25. Joy says:

    Thanks Nick and Jessica! I was cleaning my emails when I stopped to read this. I’m in process of clearing clutter – emotional, spiritually and physically. Haven’t been able understand what’ keeping me from moving forward. Now I clearly see! All the traumas that have occurred in my life, I have so many issues and their aspects to address. Thank you.

  26. Charlotte says:

    I love reading these success stories about EFT. In the past I have had great personal success when using EFT for food cravings. Recently I had an opportunity to work with Nick on my insecurity about my competency which leads me to demonstrate what I know, when it’ not always necessary. With just one session, I too felt calm and free as Meggan described. I felt light, like I could fly and I felt like I was smiling deep within me. I was amazed how I quickly let it go and that it has not faded. I have been in several situations where i would generally feel the need to interject to demonstrate my knowledge… instead i just sat back and listened and acknowledged others knowledge. Tremendous feeling.

  27. Baruch Ben-Melech says:

    Thanks Nick.
    I am a newcomer to tapping. I purchased the ‘Pain Relief World Summit 2011’ and have
    listened to one of the Cd’s about tapping for cancer. I also watched the DVD. That is my total
    experience with tapping. If a person can be so changed as Meggan was, can it help me with
    ADD/ADHD ? I have also purchased The Eleven Forgotten Laws with Bob Proctor and Mary Morrisey as well as The Healing Codes with Dr. Alex Lloyd and Dr. Ben Johnson. I can’t seem to get barely a quarter way through on any of these programs.
    Thanking you in advance for a quick reply.

  28. Linda Frances says:

    After reading this account, several core fears came up for me and I tapped on them. It is interesting how other deeper items than surface. Thank you so much for the work you do.

  29. Joan says:

    Although I’ve known about tapping for several years and have had great results, I still have ONE hang up that I can’t get a handle on. Can someone offer a suggestion? My hang-up is about money or lack of money. I can’t seem to get a handle on WHY I don’t have any. I think I’ve gone through all the influences in my life, but still….there it is.

  30. Jim says:

    I love reading all the successes and breakthroughs everyone has with tapping. I have faith in it but have seen no results with it myself … even after years of practice. I learned of tapping/EFT years ago through a Bob Doyle self improvement course and followed the Carol Cook instructional course . I’d like to go to one of the weekend tapping seminars held by Robert Smith in Oklahoma and see what I’m doing wrong . If it works for so many it should also work for me .

  31. MM says:

    Fantastic story. The part of her email that really resonates with me is, “… I just can’t access it. It’s not there. I remember who I am, or who I was before these fears made a home for themselves within me.” It recalls for me how I know I used to feel somewhat fearless and bold and courageous and if I wanted something, such as a move across country without the safety net first of a job, friends, familiarity, etc., I had the chutzpah to do it. I made a very big move and tried something out and had a grand time. I was just about to settle down in a new place again and begin the search for a job, but had absolutely no fear or worries that things wouldn’t work out just as I wanted them to. Then came September 11, 2001, and what I endured after that in order to get a job and how that chutzpah and fearlessness I had before didn’t translate well on a resume. It impacted me considerably. To this day, I wonder what happened to that part of me that was so audacious. I’ve used EFT Tapping for other things, but until reading this, had not thought at all of tapping through this experience so that I can come back to the audacious and fearless person I was before. Thanks so much for this story. It was exactly what I needed to read at this time to achieve what I want to achieve for myself in 2012 and beyond.

  32. Yolanda says:

    Many years ago, when I discovered EFT, I opened up the website and read the manual in the wee small hours of the morning. I then went through the tapping points addressing the procedure towards my feelings about a woman who had “done me wrong.” I had used many different systems yo no avail to try to release my feelings towards her. After tapping for 30 minutes or so, just using the manual, I had a considerable release. Some of it came back, the stalking of this person continued, but it released to a level that was manageable. I continued to tap intermittently over the years. It has probably been 15 years. I still don’t like her, probably never will, but she has faded away.

  33. Helaine Harris says:

    Hi Nick,
    I love how you wrote up that experience. I’ve used EFT for many years for phobias and traumas. I’ve been an intuitive healer and psychotherapist for over 30 years, use 40 techniques and I use EFT with almost everyone. I witnessed miracles with it with trauma, business terrors and fears, love wounds, numerous things. I value and appreciate what you do what the tapping solution and encourage my clients to tune in to what you’re doing as well. Keep it going!
    With a grateful heart for this community,

  34. Barbara Milhoan says:

    Thank you Nick for this story. I too was afraid of flying for many years and used tapping to not only overcome that fear but I now actually enjoy it. Although my fear did not come from a bad flying experience, but from my mother who was afraid of flying and instilled that fear in me. However, you have shown me another aspect that I believe also contributed to the fear – the feeling that my safety was out of my control and in the hands of the pilot.
    Keep up the good work. You are helping more people than you’ll ever know.

  35. Kirby Ann Daniel says:

    I’ve known about Tapping for a long time. But I am just now really delving into it. I have so many issues to resolve. Thank you for all of your help!

  36. Indra Nilaweera says:

    It is amazing to find out that tapping solutions can help people resolve unfinished and incomplete gestalts like phobias, fear for death and other unfinished business. As a counsellor I decided to use tapping with clients to resolve their unfinished past problems which affect the present life conditions. Dear Nick, Thank you for sharing a great success story.

  37. Margaret says:

    Hi, I was so interested in the tapping you did to clear the fear of flying but in particular the fear of being on alert all the time. As a Mum with 6 grandchildren I feel on red alert all the time and it is sooo difficult not to. I panic when my car is blocked in the garage (on an estate in England) and even if there is something wrong with the car I have to get it fixed come what may just in case I am needed!! The same fear as Megan had but for a different reason. I will certainly now, very seriously, give this a try. It had not occurred to me that this was a ‘problem’ just thought I was being a caring grandmother. Thank you.


  38. Katie says:

    I love this. I have trouble standing in my own power. Meagan’s story has really helped me to tap on this issue. I know I have to change. Life will open up to me and I will open up to life in a really big way. I know I have so much more to give than what I am currently giving, and receiving for that matter. I want to open my arms up to all life has to offer and take inspired action on my ideas. That is a huge block for me – not taking inspired action. I have some really amazing ideas, but I stop myself putting them into action. I think I have some tapping to do!! 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  39. Elisabeth Klinger says:

    It’s fantastic, thanks for sharing it.

  40. Jody Hagedorn says:

    BRILLIANT once again! Always goose-bumply amazing results with EFT~Thanks for sharing Nick & Jessica! It has become 98% of my practice these days, ‘Even though’ some clients initially reject the idea…ie, in a recent session with a client who said, “No thanks, I’ve heard most sessions include crying, and I don’t feel like crying my head off”. I replied, “I understand your concern, however, I don’t feel like rubbing your feet til my thumbs fall off.”
    We tapped 3/4 of the session, with results beyond measure and she scheduled 2 follow up appointments with a smile!
    Really appreciate the loving energy you put forth to bring us these continued stories of success! Love and hugs always! ♥

  41. Betty J says:

    How can I use this method for sinus condition?

  42. Daan says:

    I have used EFT on my daughter’s fear of flying on a joint European flight. Although the fear was probably less deeply rooted in her, flying is presently not an issue for her; just enjoyable. She just crossed the Atlantic alone without any problem. I gave her an EFT pictogram for the trip but she didn’t use it.

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