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Frequently Asked Questions

What causes the fear of public speaking?

What is The Lefkoe Institute's guarantee?

How does The Lefkoe Method work?

How is The Lefkoe Belief Process different from psychotherapy? Isn't it like cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Do the beliefs come back after they have been unlearned? Do you need to reinforce the work done in sessions?

What are your credentials?

What do you mean you don't learn how to "cope with fear," you eliminate it totally?

Why does The Lefkoe Method work when nothing else seems to?

Is The Lefkoe Method effective with emotional problems other than the fear of public speaking?

How do Lefkoe Method sessions work on the telephone?

How do I pay for sessions?

Does The Lefkoe Method involve hypnosis?

What is Decision Maker?

What causes the fear of public speaking?

All fear, including the fear of public speaking, is caused by two things. First, beliefs, such as, I'm not good enough or capable, Mistake and failure are bad, and If I make a mistake I'll be rejected. Second, emotions can occur automatically when stimuli are conditioned to produce the emotion, such as always feeling fear whenever you are judged, evaluated, or rejected. When the beliefs are unlearned and the stimuli de-conditioned, the fear of public speaking often disappears … or is reduced to almost nothing.

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What is The Lefkoe Institute's guarantee?

During over twenty years of experience with over well over 12,000 clients—including many who had the fear of public speaking—we have assisted them to unlearn literally tens of thousands of negative beliefs and conditioning. We now are certain that the beliefs and conditioning that are responsible for the fear of public speaking can be unlearned in no more than four one-hour sessions. Sessions cost $200 each. So we are able to provide an unconditional guarantee to clients that if the fear is not totally gone after the fourth session, they will get a full refund.

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How does The Lefkoe Method work?

There are a number of Lefkoe Processes that empower you to unlearn negative beliefs and feelings. The two most relevant to the fear of public speaking are The Lefkoe Belief Process and The Lefkoe Stimulus Process.

The Lefkoe Belief Process

See the article Morty Lefkoe wrote for the California Psychologist.

Click here for the Steps of the Lefkoe Belief Process.

The Lefkoe Stimulus Process

Very often we experience negative feelings in our life on a recurring basis, such as fear, anger, sadness, guilt, and anxiety. We experience these feelings every time specific events or circumstances occur, such as fear whenever we make a mistake or someone rejects at us, or guilt whenever we are asked to do something. In many cases the events that stimulate the feeling in us do not produce the same feeling in others, and vice versa. Why does an event that is not inherently fearful produce fear in some people and not in others?

What appears to have happened is that an event was conditioned in the past to automatically produce emotions in the present.

Here is a real life example: Consider a client who experiences fear whenever he is judged or evaluated. That isn't inherently fearful. When did he first experience fear associated with being judged or evaluated? Assume the original source of the fear was a father who was never satisfied with what the client did as a child and who showed his displeasure by yelling and threatening. No matter what the child did, the father was not satisfied.

When the client reviews the cause of the fear, he discovers that what really caused the fear was how his father judged and evaluated him, namely, with yelling and punishing. In fact, it wasn't even how his father judged and evaluated him, but the meaning he unconsciously attributed to his father's behavior. The person he depended on for his very survival was withdrawing his love. No love, no care; no care, no survival. That is what caused the fear. The fear was never caused merely by being judged and evaluated.

If he had been judged and evaluated by his father in a loving, understanding, and supportive way, there would have been no fear. It was the way his father acted and the meaning he gave his father's behavior that caused the fear, namely, the yelling and punishment meant his father was withdrawing his love, which meant abandonment to the child.

The Lefkoe Stimulus Process is designed to de-condition specific stimuli that cause emotional responses. When a client is able to make a distinction between the real cause of the fear and events that just happened to occur simultaneously (today's stimulus), the stimulus loses it's power to cause the emotional response.

In The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux, a professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University, points out: "Extinction [of a conditioned stimulus] appears to involve the cortical [our thinking brain] regulation over the amygdala [the emotional brain]...." That is precisely what The Lefkoe Stimulus Process does.

Click here for the Steps of the Lefkoe Stimulus Process.

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How is The Lefkoe Belief Process different from psychotherapy? Isn't it like cognitive-behavioral therapy?

The Lefkoe Method is not therapy, although many psychotherapists use it as a very effective tool in their practices. There is no diagnosis, no advice, no insights, and no emotional catharsis.

Cognitive therapies have two major elements: (1) changing beliefs by challenging the validity of the evidence that the client gives to support them and (2) getting the client to agree to act consistently with an alternative belief to test its possible validity.

Regarding point one, in the Lefkoe Belief Process the current belief is not given up because one comes to see that it's wrong, because it's not true, because it's illogical, because it doesn't make sense, and/or because it's self defeating. In other words, one does not get "talked out" of the existing belief. The Lefkoe Belief Process actually validates people for forming the belief earlier in life by assisting them to realize that most people probably would have made a similar decision under similar circumstances. It insures that people realize that their belief actually is one valid interpretation of their earlier circumstances.

Moreover, the "evidence" that you offer for a belief usually is not the real reason you believe it. The evidence offered usually consists of recent observations that appear to substantiate the belief. The real source of your beliefs, however, is interpretations of circumstances earlier in life. Fundamental beliefs about yourself and life usually are formed before the age of six.

After a belief has been formed, however, you act consistently with it—thereby producing "current evidence" for the already existing belief. In other words, life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because the evidence you present to validate your beliefs usually is a consequence of the beliefs, not their source, challenging the validity of that evidence is not the most effective way to unlearn them.

Regarding the second element of cognitive-behavioral therapy, because the current belief is unlearned when you do the Lefkoe Belief Process, you have no need to try to act differently when you go back "into life." Your behavior changes naturally and effortlessly once the belief is gone.

Another distinction between The Lefkoe Belief Process and many cognitive approaches is that the latter frequently are a tool for the subject, whereas the former is a tool for the facilitator. In other words, the cognitive approaches assist clients to think more rationally, in order to act more rationally, in the face of such strong emotions as anger, depression, and hostility, etc. The Lefkoe Belief Process, on the other hand, is used by the facilitator to assist clients to unlearn the beliefs that produce such emotions. When these negative emotions stop after the beliefs that give rise to them are unlearned, there no longer is a need for a tool to deal with them more effectively.

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Do the beliefs come back after they have been unlearned? Do you need to reinforce the work done in sessions?

In a word, no. Once beliefs have been unlearned using The Lefkoe Belief Process, they stay gone. Clients we saw eight to ten years ago report that the beliefs do not return. And because our behavior is the result of beliefs, once the beliefs are gone the behavior changes naturally and effortlessly, and so far lasts for many years. As far as we know, even years down the line, there is no need to reinforce the work done in our sessions.

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What are your credentials?

Morty Lefkoe is the creator of The Lefkoe Method and has assisted clients in unlearning tens of thousands of beliefs and negative feelings during the past 19 years. The other Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitators have undergone many years of training and supervision using all of the Lefkoe Processes with a wide variety of clients who reported many different dysfunctional behavioral and emotional patterns.

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What do you mean you don't learn how to "cope with fear," you unlearn it?

When the cause of the fear of public speaking, namely beliefs and conditioning, disappears, the fear also disappears. Most others techniques assist people to "deal with the fear," to not be "run by" the fear, or to give effective speeches "despite" the fear.

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Why does The Lefkoe Method work when nothing else seems to?

Because it totally and permanently eradicates the causes of the fear of public speaking, rather than merely assisting you to understand the fear or cope with the fear.

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Is The Lefkoe Method effective with emotional problems other than the fear of public speaking?

Yes. Just a few emotional problems that clients have overcome include depression, hostility, worrying about what people think of you, anxiety when rejected, the expectation that something will always go wrong, defensiveness when criticized, anger when not listened to, fear of taking chances, guilt when told what to do, a negative sense of oneself, experiencing yourself as a victim, and the inability to express feelings.

The Lefkoe Method also is very useful in resolving everyday behavioral problems, such as procrastination, workaholism, the inability to get relationships to work, difficulty in asserting yourself, and barriers in your golf or tennis game.

We even have been very successful in helping clients overcome some serious dysfunctional problems, such as eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, and phobias. One psychotherapist reported that she has been having remarkable success using The Lefkoe Method with Bi-Polar disorder clients.

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How do Lefkoe Method sessions work on the telephone?

About 90% of our clients work with us over the telephone and the results are as effective as our in-person sessions. The Lefkoe Method involves a very specific type of conversation between the client and the Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator, which does not require face-to-face communication.

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How do I pay for sessions?

Clients usually pay for sessions with credit cards. We accept Master Card, Visa, and American Express. You give us your credit card number over the telephone when you make an appointment. If you prefer, you can send us a check or money order, but the check must clear before the date of your session. You only pay for one session at a time.

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Does The Lefkoe Method involve hypnosis?

No, it does not.

What is Decision Maker?

Effective December 1, 2003-2005, the name of our organization was changed from the Decision Maker Institute to The Lefkoe Institute. All of the processes we use are now called The Lefkoe Method and the old Decision Maker Belief Process is called the Lefkoe Belief Process.

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Click here to contact a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator to make an appointment to unlearn your fear of public speaking, or for more information.


The Lefkoe Institute, 145 Cielo Lane, Novato, CA 94949
P: 415-506-4472
contact speakingwithoutfear * www.speakingwithoutfear.com

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