Dear EFT Community,
Sherrie Rice Smith, R.N., B.A., EFT-INT shares her EFT work with a Christian client and how 19-21 different emotions were tapped on in one session.
By Sherrie Rice Smith, R.N., B.A., EFT-INT
A 48-year-old client called me for help. She drove 90+ minutes for this appointment, as Julia understood she was out of control and life was slipping away fast in a direction she no longer wanted it to go. We have corresponded several times via email about what EFT is and what it could do for her and even tapped one time a year ago for just a few minutes over an anger issue surrounding her Mom. Due to schedules and distance, she couldn’t pursue further treatment at that time.
Julia was now more than ready to try anything.
Julia arrived 45 minutes late to the appointment, but I had blocked out several hours for her, not knowing how long or where this tapping session would take us. I knew from previous conversations and emails she had numerous issues to cover. We began tapping within minutes. I opened the session with prayer, as I always do, when dealing with a Christian client.
Immediately, as I started her tapping on her collarbone, allowing her to talk a bit about these issues, she launched into “My life is so confused. I’m stuck. Everything has stalled out including my career and my personal life. I realized I have a huge problem and I need help now. My GP wants me to go see a psychologist for cognitive behavioral therapy, but I want to try this first.” I informed her that she is free to make those choices regarding whether or not to see the psychologist, and I certainly would not stand in her way, but, in fact, I highly suggested she do so, if she feels that will help her. She again stated she wants to do the EFT for now.
She indicated that the family has so “many secrets” and no one is supportive of each other. Julia is sick and tired of the lack of transparency within this large family. Everyone hides and pretends nothing is wrong, but many of her siblings have alcohol issues. Sadness was the emotion this evoked and it was a 9 on the SUDS scale, along with a 7 on the confusion feeling.
So we tapped several rounds on “confusion” and “sadness,” followed by a round of “remaining sadness and confusion.” Julia immediately dropped on me that she is “devastated because I have no memories of my childhood and I know it is directly related to the sexual molestation issue when I was 6 or 7. I don’t remember much about it, but I know something happened and why didn’t Mom stop it?”
Julia immediately jumped to disliking her mother for not doing anything about this. “And why didn’t the other boys see what was going on and stop it?” she asked.
The anger was a 10+ and so we began tapping on that.
- TH: Where was Mom?
- EB: Why didn’t she protect me?
- SE: Did I mean so little to her?
- UE: Did I mean so little to her?
- UN: She didn’t care. Where was she is all this?
- CH: I was so insignificant to Mom.
- CB: I was so insignificant to Mom.
- CB: I obviously meant nothing to her. Was she completely blind?
I had hit a raw nerve with the “insignificant” word. Julie acknowledged that was her deepest thought and I had intuitively pulled it out. She sobbed and sobbed and I kept saying it until she could say, “I’m so insignificant to Mom” without an emotional tone in her voice, then we continued.
- TH: Where was Mom?
- EB: Neither she nor Dad protected me.
- UE: Where were my brothers?
- UN: I’m so angry at all of them.
- CH: Where was Dad? Working and drinking.
- CB: I’m horribly anger.
- UA: I’m f-ing angry at them all.
We did another 2 rounds using this same theme until the SUDS dropped away and off to the next issue I went.
We tapped on the devastation issue which dropped from an 8 to a 2. I then asked her what she was feeling. Not necessarily wanting to go right into the sexual molestation/incest issue so soon in the session, I hoped to get some of the other emotions out of the way, ones that revolved around the incest problem, before we tackled the molestation head on, a sneaking up approach.
I was surprised a tad that she jumped right into the incest issue by saying, “I know this is at the heart of it. I can’t go a day without this issue popping up. It won’t go away.” Ok, it was out in the open now, so I asked Julia what emotion there was on the issue and did she want to tell me the details (tell the story) or would she prefer not to divulge them (movie technique), as either way would work.
Her emotion was emptiness or indifference and it was a 10 SUDS.
She went on to tell me there wasn’t enough details to tap on the incident, as all she remembered was her Mom sent her into her brother’s bedroom to wake up the boys, like she did every other morning at age 6 or 7, but this time her brother Allen asked her if she ever saw a penis before and would she like to see it. Allen was 17. What happened after that she doesn’t remember, but she was told, “It went on for a while, whatever that meant?”
Julia sidestepped the issue a bit by continuing, “I learned early that sex is something I can use. I traded a kiss in second grade for gum and pop. I devalued myself and it makes me quite sad, meaning I have no self-esteem.” It’s her session, so I just let her go where she felt she needed to go.
There was a mouthful of tapping fodder, so we immediately began tapping:
- TH: I traded a kiss for gum and pop.
- EB: I prostituted myself in 2nd grade.
- SE: I had no self-esteem.
- UE: I already figured out sex would get me somewhere.
- UN: I prostituted myself early on.
- CH: I’m so sad I did this to myself.
- CB: I devalued myself.
- UA: I devalued myself and it makes me so very sad.
We continued with:
- TH: I feel nothing anymore.
- EB: I’m indifferent to life in general.
- SE: I feel so empty inside.
- UE: I have no self-worth.
- UN: I’m worthless.
- CH: I’m so worthless, I’m a reject.
- CB: I’ll never be worth anything again because I have never been worth anything in the past.
- UA: I’m completely worthless to myself and to everyone else.
We stopped at that point to reevaluate, but I had Julia continue to tap while we talked. She indicated I hit that right on the head, but she went on with her story. I was so promiscuous in junior high. I let the guys take advantage of me. I had no self-worth, and then Allen started giving me drugs when I was 13. “Where was Mom then? She didn’t see this happening right before her eyes?” she asked me, then continued, “I left home 2 weeks before my 18th birthday, and by age 19, I was raped by my 60-year-old boss. That disgusting old man. What a pathetic life I have! Allen and I have talked about this with him denying much of his role, but I know the rape and molestation led indirectly to the abortion. It damaged my innocence permanently. Doesn’t anyone see how keeping all these secrets just perpetuates the problems. I need to break this cycle for future generations, if only my own kids.”
I wanted to tap a bit on that diatribe, but Julia launched right into the next subject which in its own way is related.
“Now my professional reputation is being called into question. I’m distracted and feel purposeless,” she said. I asked if she felt vulnerable. “No, it’s more of feeling inadequate,” and I asked “failure.” To the word failure, she agreed. “There are 2 recent incidents that bother me greatly,” she told me. My reply is always that I will listen, but the client must continue to tap. Ranting works, if done correctly. Julia then related to me the 2 recent incidents, but I could well see how they were simply more of what she told me about her childhood.
It was that repetitively learned pattern.
- TH: That Mike incident was Dad with his finger in my face
- EB: You are a guest in my house.
- SE: Alice told me how to write stuff and then she told me I was a disappointment.
- UE: I’m a disappointment to everyone, me included.
- UN: I value honesty and I will not brown nose anyone.
- CH: It felt like that parental authority thing.
- CB: I was inadequate.
- UA: I am inadequate and always will be.
I did “remaining inadequate,” and then continued with:
- TH: I’m a failure.
- EB: I failed my parents and my kids and myself.
- SE: I’m a big fat failure.
- UE: I’m so distracted that I’m going to fail more.
- UN: I’m repeating the family traits in my own workplace.
- CH: I’m a failure.
- UA: I’ll never amount to anything in my life.
We did “remaining failure” and that 8 SUDS issue dropped to a 0.
I went back to the abortion Julia had in college, asking her what she felt about it. “I’ve worked all of that through with Tom. I know God has forgiven me. I know she was a baby girl, I just know. I don’t feel I need to work on this much more,” she told me. I then asked her if she had any remaining emotion around the abortion, what would that emotion be?
“That’s easy, it would be remorse and regret. If I had to do it over, I would definitely have the baby,” came the reply. OK, I asked, if you had any remorse and regret, what number between 0 — 10 would that be? “Oh definitely a 10,” came her answer quickly. Then, Julia, we need to tap on remorse and regret! That issue is not gone!
And we did:
- TH: Remorse and regret.
- EB: All this remorse and regret over what I did.
- SE: Remorse and regret.
- UE: I killed that baby.
- UN: It was my fault because it was my choice.
- CH: I killed her.
- CB: Remorse and regret.
- UA: All this remorse and regret.
We tapped a couple rounds on this theme, and then I did a round or 2 on “remaining remorse and regret.” Julia’s eyes softened a bit and I checked in to see what was happening. The remorse and regret dropped, but up popped a 7 on guilt. “I didn’t like who I was back then,” she answered. We did a few rounds on guilt, then sadness showed its head again.
We tapped again on sadness around the abortion with a round or two of remaining sadness and guilt.
In some ways it appeared that this session was jumping all over the board, but I could plainly see what Julia was doing. Her first symptom was “confusion.” She was doing a total life evaluation here with me. Julia started as early as she remembered and went straight through to the present day.
We tapped on every single emotion that popped up its ugly head.
Once the sadness and regret subsided to nothing, Julia immediately brought forth “devaluation. This seems logical to me after we just tapped on guilt of not liking who she was in college. “I’m repeating my behavior by medicating myself. I spend $10 a day on wine. I tell myself I have to stop, but I can’t. Then I tell myself it is only $10 a day and I deserve it, even though we can’t afford $200-$300 a month on wine for me to fall asleep at 9 o’clock PM. I don’t like myself or my house cleaning.”
We tapped on the devaluation of herself with phrases like, “I don’t like myself much,” “I’m repeating my old behavior,” “I feel worthless,” etc.
Once again, Julia launched into another piece of her story, with me insisting she continue to tap while she explained all this to me. “My daughter confronted me the other night, asking why I just finished an entire bottle of wine myself. I couldn’t answer her. I was stunned by the question. Why can’t I stop drinking?” she asked me. It sounds like a self-sabotage to me, do you agree, I asked her. Wholeheartedly, yes, she agreed. I took a couple minutes to explain to her how self-sabotage looks physiologically, ending the explanation by telling her how EFT breaks those habits of ours.
Julia identified “stupidity” and “insanity” as how she looked at her drinking.
“Are those emotions?” she asked me. I agree some might not think so, but they were good enough for me to tap on, so we tapped on “I’m insane,” “I’ve lost control,” “I’m so stupid for drinking so much,” etc. Anger popped up next with the statement, “We create our kids’ future. My kids are watching what I’m doing. I know better than this. I promised my daughter I would quit drinking and it’s been 7 days today, but my daughter told me she doesn’t know if it will last. I was sober for 12 years, drank again now for 6. God designed me for better than this. I need to submit to God and separate from my past. I want this to be the first day of my new life!”
I know Julia had no idea how prophetic her words actually were, but she will.
This is the first day of the rest of her life. It’s no joke! EFT can and will break these emotional habits and I intend to help her do just that. We tapped through the 8 SUDS anger and frustration of overcoming obstacles. I knew we approached the end of the session. We had covered a lot of territory in these couple of hours.
Because this is a Christian client, I ended the session with a good round of self-forgiveness. I had already asked her if she had confessed all these sins to God. She agreed that she had, but still the guilt, pain, etc. lingered. She well understands the theology here. Julia knew her sins were forgiven, but also knew that sometimes the consequences of the sin remained, leaving with it the leftover emotions that had accompanied the deeds.
- TH: I know God has forgiven me all my sins.
- EB: He has cast those sins as far as the east is from the west as Psalm 103 says.
- SE: I simply need to forgive myself. I’m way too hard on myself.
- UE: I was just a kid. What did I know?
- UN: A lot of this wasn’t even my fault or my doing!
- CH: No one protected me. I did the best that I could with what I knew.
- CB: God forgives me for the stuff that was my choice.
- UA: I made bad choices.
- TH: I choose to make better choices now, ones more in line with what God would want from me.
- EB: God designed me for better than this.
- SE: I submit to His ways now.
- UE: He has forgiven me; I forgive myself.
- UN: I am forgiven by God.
- CH: I am forgiven by myself.
- CB: I’m forgiven.
- UA: I’m a forgiven sinner who is turned saint.
I did another round of “remaining forgiveness” and we ended the session, scheduling another for a week away. Julia reported having a peace like she has not felt for a very long time. She hoped it would last. I gave her some last minute instructions on how she might feel or think. I told her to let this session process in her mind and we would talk more next week.
This session lasted nearly 3 hours, much longer than I normally would do with any client, probably a record of some sort, but she had made a 3 hour round trip drive for this session! I wasn’t keeping track of the time because it didn’t matter to me how long we went. It was the shortest 3 hours of my life, and Julia indicated the same.
As I said earlier, this was a bit of an odd case. We covered a lot of territory. I thought back through the session only to realize we processed the following emotions: confusion, sadness, emptiness/indifference, lack of self-esteem, distraction, purposelessness, failure, vulnerability, inadequacy, remorse, regret, guilt, self-sabotage, anger, stupidity/insanity, insignificance, devaluation, and hatred. 19-21 different emotions of sorts were tapped on in one session.
I indeed had to pay close attention to what was said and what was being implied. I think Julia did a marvelous job today in spite of the fact that this was her first exposure to a long involved session of EFT. Next week will be even better because she understands what exactly I’m looking for in the feeling department.
Next week, I plan to quickly go back over the above inventory of emotions, and I mean quickly, almost doing a word association, and having Julia give me her fast gut reaction SUDS level on each feeling, so I know exactly what dissolved with the previous week’s tapping and what exactly might be lingering that we need to press forward a bit more on.
I want to hit enough different aspects on each emotion to kill off the core issues.
And I believe there are indeed issues, not one issue here. I also offered Julia some matrix reimprinting on the incest memory, but that was too big for her for this first session together. She appeared to be interested when she told me she wished she had never gone into her brothers’ bedroom in the first place that morning long ago.
Acupuncture tapping itself was enough of a novelty this first time around that I left the MR alone, knowing we have future sessions scheduled. The memory of bypassing the boys’ bedroom that morning could easily be accomplished with some MR.
There was much, much more said and done today. I’ve only touched on part of it because this session alone would make up a small pamphlet if printed in its entirety. We tapped so much that the collarbone area is really tender today — the day after this session!