Facing 60 years of my fear of the dark...

Her fear of the dark was totally limiting her life and choices. After our work together, she is more confident and able to manage well.

Facing 60 years of my fear of the dark...

Posted by Yvonne Fernando on

The challenge

This case study has been written up together with my client and with their approval.  To protect their confidentiality, I will refer to my client as T.

For 60 years T had been afraid of the dark and of being alone at night.  She had never lived on her own.  She was afraid of going out at night and coming back to an empty house which was limiting her social life, particularly in winter.  There was a real prospect of having to live on her own in the future as her husband was seriously ill.

T hadn't tried any other therapies before as she didn't realise there could be any help. She had tried to tackle it herself by forcing herself to just do it, but to no avail.

What made it even harder was that T is not an anxious or fearful person in other respects. On the whole she is very capable and confident. This fear was one big limitation to her life.

The effect

T felt stupid and somewhat ashamed.  This fear was limiting her activities and choices. Even when staying at someone else's house she was afraid, so much so that she wouldn't want to get up in the night to go to the toilet. She could foresee serious decisions having to be made like selling the home she loved and moving into a sheltered environment.


In talking to me about the work I do, T realised there could be a potential therapy for her. When she first came to see me, it was about preparing for the loss of her husband who was seriously ill.  T first had to admit this was a problem and that she needed to prepare for the worst.

T and I talked about her feelings about her current situation and through this uncovered the root of the problem.  We discovered her fear of the dark had been in her life for so long and was why she couldn't see a future; it was black.

I led T through a few NLP excercises and helped her identify the patterns that she had been running.  These led to her changing the way she thought about the dark and being alone, shifting from negative to positive thinking and enabling T to feel more empowered in moving forwards.

T says, that during the sessions, she wasn't sure anything was happening, especially as she struggled with visualising but in testing it out later, she realised there had been a change.   This work was done over 6 sessions.


T is now more confident about being able to cope if her husband dies. Fortunately his health isn't as precarious.  T is free-er to do things on her own in the dark and is no longer terrified.  She is still cautious and sensible but not afraid. T says, she doesn't know what happened, but it did!!

When we stopped working together she wasn't sure it was working...but having gone through winter and her husband being in hospital for a month - T found she was able to manage very well.

Yvonne Fernando
Yvonne Fernando

Yvonne Fernando is a certified NLP Master Practitioner & Life Coach who works with adults, children and organisations to help them make positive change.