It's up-and-down for Panic room star

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 21:40 29 May 2010

Chris Soutar – Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Chris Soutar - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A SALES manager has had his fears of lifts cured after starring in the BBC television programme The Panic Room. Chris Soutar, 23, of Rosemary Lane, Dunmow, had suffered from a fear of being stuck in a lift ever since he was a child. When I was about 10-y

A SALES manager has had his fears of lifts cured after starring in the BBC television programme The Panic Room.

Chris Soutar, 23, of Rosemary Lane, Dunmow, had suffered from a fear of being stuck in a lift ever since he was a child.

"When I was about 10-years-old I got trapped in a lift. It was only for a few seconds but my fear of getting trapped for a longer time built up from there," said the sales manager.

"I'm very pleased I went on The Panic Room as I have completely got over my phobia of travelling in lifts."

Mr Soutar had to undergo a series of mental and physical tests before he was accepted onto the programme where he spent six days being filmed over a period of two weeks at the end of February this year.

"We spent a day filming with Dunmow Football Club in Little Easton and then another day of me in and around Dunmow, which means there's lots of people from the town who will see themselves on the telly."

A few weeks later Mr Soutar was taken to Manchester where the main bulk of the programme was filmed.

During his time in Manchester, Mr Soutar stayed in a BBC flat with a woman who suffered from arachnophobia and will appear in the programme.

"It was a gruelling schedule. We were picked up at 6am and taken to the studios. We didn't finish filming until midnight," said Mr Soutar.

"The motto of the programme was to push you further than you needed to go so, when it came to facing your real fears, everything seemed easy."

Dr Lucy Atcheson, the

Harley Street consultant, counselling psychologist and psychotherapist who helped Mr Soutar overcome his fears, said: "The way I treat phobias is through cognitive behaviour therapy, which is very successful, as it takes the person out of the sphere of irrationality back into the rational."

Viewers will see that she makes Mr Soutar crawl through tight dark tunnels and stand on the tops of lifts to help him overcome his fears.

Friends and family joined Mr Soutar for a barbecue at his house to watch the programme when it was shown on Tuesday night.

"I was quite nervous about seeing the programme for the first time because you never know how you'll come over," he said.

"But I think my friends will be quite shocked to see what I used to go through every time I stepped into a lift."

The programme will be repeated on BBC3 at 12.55am on Sunday night.

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