Dear EFT Community,
EFT practitioner, Carol Crenshaw, outlines a case history of helping a client greatly reduce her chronic 30-year neck, hip, and shoulder pain and how finding a past traumatic emotional event from childhood can hold the key to relief.
By Carol Crenshaw, Certified EFT Practitioner
The Subject’s Story
I already knew the client, who I will call Barbara. I remember talking with her and her friend after yoga classes and enjoying the conversations. The one thing that I did not know about Barbara at the time was that she was in a lot of pain. When I started working with her, she said that she had chronic pain for many years, and I felt a great sense of urgency to get to work on this.
For the last 30 year she had endured pain in her hips, neck, and right shoulder.
Details of the Session
In the first session, I reestablished rapport with Barbara by catching up on details of her life and mine. I had not seen her in a couple of years. I then asked her for more information about her pain and its causes. She spoke about many accidents from being a gymnast and subsequent surgeries that she had due to injuries from the accidents.
The surgeries caused many complications and I got lost in the maze of details of all the accidents, surgeries, and problems from the surgeries.
In addition, I felt that focusing too much on all these details would somehow skirt the core issues. Nonetheless, we spent a good deal of the first session focusing on the first accident. She could not connect it with anything going on in her life then and there did not seem to be any emotional cause from what she said.
However, she said she felt a lot better after the session, her muscles were more relaxed, her breathing was freer, and she did not have pain. She emailed me the next day that the previous night was the first time she went to bed without pain in the last 30 years. She also said that she had some mild pains the next day but tapped them away. I then started to wonder if all accidents have emotional roots, or if some just happen due to risky activities. I got some of my answer in the next session, when the emotional underpinnings started to come out.
In session #2, we spent a few minutes centering with deep breathing at the start of the session.
Something inside me said that there had been another accident besides the gymnastic ones, and that it was very dreadful and happened earlier in her life. To check this out, I asked her if there were any other accidents she hadn’t mentioned. Indeed there was – when she was 10 years old she was in a car with her siblings. They had just picked up her sister who was leaving her husband. The sister and her husband had just had a big fight and angry words right before they parted, making matters worse.
In the middle of the night they were driving home, the car went off the road and down a steep incline, and this sister was killed. Now the core issue of grief was starting to come out.
She was quite upset and cried during this session.
In addition, she was surprised that she still had these feelings about the accident, as she hadn’t talked or even thought about it in a long time. I used the Movie Technique with her. Her movie was entitled “Don’t Hit the Brakes on a Blowout.” She started with a SUD Level of 7 for the title and tapped it down to 3 or 4 and then to 1. We then went on to the first part of the movie, and tapped on her waking up in the night, hearing a loud noise, finding the car on two wheels, and there being a lot of screaming and fear.
We also tapped on the siblings looking for the sister and having to go to the hospital without her. At first the SUD was 6, and then it came down to 2, then 1, then 0. She said she felt calm. The next spike came when she spoke about the sadness she felt about her sister leaving her husband after a fight and then leaving the world without being able to make amends. She started at 8 and went down to 4.
She said she felt sadness but no stress.
That was all we had time for in this second session. In the third session we tapped out the remainder of this sadness in a few minutes. I had her rewind the whole movie and replay it, which she did in a calm manner. We then worked on her neck pain and related it to her pain in the neck class and pain in the neck administration. We had fun and reduced her neck pain at the same time.
Among other set-up statements, we tapped on:
This pain in the neck administration, it wasn’t what I expected.
This wild, unruly class was a pain in the neck.
The class and administration were both a serious pain.
This class was too much to cope with. I dreaded every day.
I was miserable teaching during those two years.
Those two years were the worst time of my life.
Slowly it went from being serious to being funny. She could now look back on it without getting involved. She was ready to move on. Her pain was just about gone, and she knew how to use tapping if traces of it came back. She had made amazing progress in just three sessions.
I learned many things from working with Barbara. For one, there do seem to be emotional underpinnings to accidents, even if they are not readily obvious. But I also learned that pain can be controlled or eliminated in many cases using EFT without even addressing these emotional roots.
Barbara got rid of a lot of her pain in the first session without addressing anything but the details of the first accident and the pain itself. I also found this to be true with other chronic pain clients I have worked with.
I have also found that the Movie Technique yields very different results with different people. In the case of Barbara, it followed a more traditional course as explained in EFT. But I have not always found this to be the case.
With another client, I spend the whole second half of a session (30 min.) just tapping down the title, and didn’t even get that down near a 2 during that session. But by the next session a day or two later she was able to go through the whole movie right away without emotion, stating that she was never before able to talk about the accident without getting upset. There was a delayed reaction after the first session, but an effective one (I also used cross crawl and collarbone breathing with this client).
In a third case, the movie was getting nowhere and I needed fast results before this woman’s meeting the next day. I ditched the movie and did talk and tap with reframing and affirmations, and was much more successful.