Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words… but if you have a bird phobia, you need to know that this page has several photos of birds, which you may find triggering.
In July 2012, Alison and I got together to work on her bird phobia. Her fear was so debilitating that even the sound of someone rustling a newspaper or the sideways glimpse of a skirt flapping in the the breeze would send her cowering in fear. Her particular terror was that a bird would get caught in her hair, and avoiding places where birds might be near her was limiting life to a significant degree. No coffees with friends at pavement cafes in summer, no days at the beach or walks along the river and definitely no picnics! Even the sight of a feather was distressing.
Eventually, she decided enough was enough and after contacting me through Birdworld, she booked her session.
After a couple of hours of gentle work, she felt OK to meet Whisper (and Lizzy Perrett, then Head of Education at Birdworld). Later, she walked around Birdworld, enjoying no longer feeling afraid.
In mid-August, Alison wrote to me:
“Am feeling much, much stronger in lots of ways – haven’t had too many encounters with our feathered friends – but have walked along the Thames a couple of times and noticed some grey winged things hopping about – didn’t phase me at all… no mad freak outs – am putting my bubble on – … – so that those feathery things can’t get to my hair
The work really helped me sort out other stuff going on – not just the bird thing… have really felt able to deal with the stuff I had going on…
Am determined to go back to Birdworld before the Autumn – and pat a parrot!!!!”
In October, Alison wrote again:
“I went back to Birdworld on Sunday and patted Snowy the cockatoo – he was lovely and he had hold of my fingers with one foot… am going to go back again and have a parrot on my arm or maybe an owl – or maybe both!!! I want to hold something – to feel I am in charge… “
Some months later, we met at Birdworld again and she did just that – this is Alison making friends with Mozart, a very special owl.
In her most recent update, Alison writes: “I am able to function day to day with birds in a city environment – which I couldn’t do before. Am happy with life at the moment…”
Sounds good to me!
People with a bird phobia often cannot even bear to look at photos of birds, so I don’t expect a sufferer to have read this far – but if you know someone who has had enough of feeling afraid, please do suggest they contact me here to find out more about the work I do to help free up people just like them. You’ll be doing them a great kindness.