Eric Robins, MD, describes the experience a 53-year-old woman had using EFT techniques to treat a urination problem. After using EFT and voicing the stress that was preventing her from urinating, she was able to clear her mind and body of these thoughts.
By Eric Robins, MD
This case involved a 53 year old woman who underwent a knee replacement surgery in January 2005. During her recovery period in the hospital she developed urinary retention requiring a Foley catheter. We saw her back in my clinic one week later to attempt to remove the catheter but she was unable to urinate on her own. The catheter was replaced, and over the course of 3 months, she never was able to void on her own despite numerous attempts to get the catheter out, and was unable to learn how to intermittently catheterize herself.
I performed a cystoscopy on her early on in which I looked in her bladder with a scope to rule out any sort of anatomic abnormality such as a stone, tumor, or scar tissue, but none was found. Unlike men who can develop urine retention because of an enlarged prostate or strictures in the urethra, she had no good reason to not be able to void. She did not have any other neurological reasons for the retention such as spinal defects, multiple sclerosis or diabetes mellitus.
Because of her inability to void, and because the catheter was beginning to cause some erosion of her urethra, I decided to schedule her for a surgery to place a suprapubic tube. This is a procedure in which we make a small incision in the lower abdomen, and place a tube directly into the bladder. I saw her for her pre-op visit, and when I finished the workup, I had an intuition to try to see if there were any emotional components to her urine retention. This woman had several other medical conditions including hypothyroidism, depression, and fibromyalgia, and in fact had required a great deal more pain medication after her knee replacement than is usually required. In my mind, the condition of depression had probably made her hypersensitive to the pain.
She seemed to be motivated to try EFT, which I briefly introduced as a form of emotional acupressure, because the alternative was surgery. I asked her, “If there was an emotional component to your inability to urinate, what would this be?” She said, as I asked this, that she experienced a severe pain in her lower abdomen that was a 10 in intensity. I said, “If you could just trust the answer that comes up, what is the event responsible for this pain in your lower abdomen and also for the urinary retention?” She thought for a minute and said, “Its stress from when my husband was in the hospital back in October, 2004, and he almost died.”
As I had her think back to this event, the intensity level was initially a 10+. We tapped for various aspects including:
Even though my husband almost died in the hospital…
Even though I don’t know what I’d do without him….
Even though I couldn’t do enough for him to keep him well….
Even though he’s been suffering a great deal….
At this point, much of the intensity had decreased, but it became apparent that she was still carrying around a great deal of guilt regarding his hospitalization. Seems that she was by her husband’s side 24 hours a day while he was in the hospital, but had stepped out of the room for 10 minutes to talk to some family members who had gathered down the hall in the waiting room, and during this time her husband’s physician came by the room and told him that he thought he was “not going to make it.” The wife started crying because she felt so guilty that her husband had to hear this news without her there to support him. So we tapped for:
Even though he had to hear the news without me….
Even though I feel so guilty that I wasn’t with him….
At this point, I decided I needed to reframe this whole thing, since some of the initial charge had been reduced by tapping, so we did a long, running commentary, while tapping on the karate chop point, which went something like this:
Even though I feel guilty for having left the room during that 10 minute period, I know I’ll feel better if I break some glass and put it in my shoes and walk around suffering for a few days…..
Even though I feel guilty, this doesn’t mean I can’t handcuff myself to my husband next time he is in the hospital so I don’t ever miss another doctor’s visit, and I can wear this catheter so I don’t even have to leave his room to pee…..
After tapping on these two statements, she had a major physiologic shift, starting having deep sighing breaths, and realized how she’d been beating herself up all this time for something she really had no control over. Clearly, as is often said, the reframes wouldn’t have worked unless we first decreased the intensity with tapping.
After this 10 minute EFT session in the middle of a busy medical clinic, the patient had her bladder filled with water, her catheter removed, and she voided just fine. And I saw her back today, 5 days later, and she is still urinating just fine, and emptying her bladder completely. Its difficult to say whether her problem was in her mind, or in her body, or both; or perhaps we cannot separate the two at all, ever……
Eric Robins, MD