By Karl Dawson
In many branches of traditional talk therapy, there is reference to the importance of the “inner child.” These inner children are also known as “parts” or “subpersonalities.”
The inner child phenomenon occurs when, energetically speaking, part of our neurology splits off in order to isolate traumatic events that were unbearable to the conscious mind and emotional resources of the individual at that moment in time.
In my earlier days as an EFT practitioner, these problems seemed a little too complex to understand and deal with using EFT, especially as I had no previous psychotherapeutic experience. But as I learned more about EFT and got to feel, see, and hear the experiences of my clients, I learned that these events were so crucial in relation to so many of the presenting problems that I went back to the drawing board and took another look at someEFT DVDs.
I heard on many of the DVDs what has become my favorite reframe.
At a crucial moment in a person’s “Rejection movie” on one DVD, the setup phrase is used: Even though I’m still listening to a 16-year-old boy’s advice…
Why is this such an important reframe? Because that is exactly what we do: we spend our whole lives listening to these inner children and their often mistaken perceptions.
In my EFT DVDs, I gained a deeper understanding of the inner child from Dr. Stephen Daniel, who specialized in serious physical and psychological illness. One of his techniques involves getting the client to imagine the inner child tapping on itself inside the client’s body as the client tapped on themselves on the outside.
Over a period of time, I would occasionally try this method, but I never got the feeling my clients really identified with the concept. However, as has often been the case, it was one of my trainees that finally produced a breakthrough for me when working with the inner child.
Several years ago, I was teaching EFT in Asia. During training, one of the participants had a memory surface. As we practiced the core EFT techniques (the Movie Technique, Chasing the Pain, and the Tearless Trauma Technique), the same memory kept reappearing, even though for every technique she had started working on a different memory.
As the course progressed, she was becoming more and more agitated as she did not want to deal with this particular memory.
At the end of the second day, I said I would be happy to work through the memory with her outside the class, as her subconscious obviously wanted her to deal with it. She was hesitant, as she knew the content of the memory, but agreed.
This childhood memory concerned an event she had refused to accept or acknowledge ever since. She was convinced that if she did face it, it would forever destroy her relationship with her father and the way she saw him, which had otherwise been wonderful throughout her life.
My intention was to work with the memory using the standard Movie Technique, collapsing as much intensity as possible using the Gentle Techniques before going through the movie, but straight away she could remember and, importantly, see herself as a 5-year-old sitting on a bed, looking distraught.
In one of those profound moments of learning as a therapist, she said to me, “I can see her so clearly–I could tap on her.” So I asked her to go ahead and do just that. I simply said to her, “I’ll tap through the points on you as you imagine tapping on the points on that little girl.” The effect was profound in collapsing the traumatic memory, as it has been in the numerous times I’ve used this technique since.
Since discovering this technique, it has become one of the most profound I use in EFT. It’s not a replacement for any of the existing EFT tools. Rather, it fits beautifully with the Movie Technique.
Over the last few years, I’ve developed this simple technique to help not only with clearing trauma but also with reintegrating parts, overcoming psychological reversal, gaining forgiveness, allowing wonderful client-driven reframes, and, literally, rewriting the past.
The technique, which I have named Matrix Reimprinting, also fits beautifully with recent scientific discoveries in cellular biology and quantum physics, as it affects cellular memory by changing morphic fields at a quantum level.
As noted, the first time I used Matrix Reimprinting by tapping on the client while they imagined tapping on the inner child, the effects were dramatic. What was an incredibly traumatic memory had much of the intensity taken out of it in just a few minutes. This is not to say it replaces the Movie Technique or the Gentle Techniques, as they would still be my first choice when approaching a traumatic memory.
The beauty of this simple technique is that whenever the appropriate moment appears, be it straight away, during, or at the end of the Movie Technique, it can be utilized. This simple technique allows the client to talk directly to the inner child, which elegantly facilitates gaining understanding of and releasing the energy from the trauma, helps the client reframe the situation, learn and gain wisdom from the event, let go of the negative emotions, reintegrate the child/part and, ultimately and importantly, forgive the perpetrator and/or self–one of the most important parts of any therapeutic work.
Although at the time I realized what a wonderful application of EFT this was, I didn’t realise the full implications of what could be achieved until later. For example: These inner children are real energetic realities existing in the field, or matrix, as I prefer to call it.
These memories of the inner child are locked in space and time. It doesn’t matter how long after the traumatic event you work with them, be it a month later or 90 years later. In the energy system, there is still a 3-year-old, or infant, 6-month-old, 1, 7, or 15-year-old, baby in utero, or even past life.
These memories are still current events. They are still happening now in the person’s life as far as the subconscious mind is concerned. The subconscious responds to these images. As long as they are locked into the energy system, that is how life is perceived. These inner children have real personalities that not only react to the original trauma but also affect reactions to present-day circumstances.
In extreme cases, these inner children develop in such a manner that a person will switch between personalities, as is the case with multiple personalities. There have been documented cases in which different personas exhibit different physical traits, such as eye color or whether they express disease symptoms or not. In many instances, the dual personality issues on the schizophrenic spectrum are due to the effects of the inner child.
Working this way with a client and their inner children also allows for a great deal of flexibility and creativity and, by keeping it simple without any need for scripts or process, supports the EFT ethos of allowing the practitioner to keep themselves out of their own way, out of the process, and stops them projecting onto the client.
An example of the creativity available within this process occurred during an EFT training. During a breakout session practicing the Movie Technique, I was walking round the room checking on progress when I noticed one of the trainees looked very distressed. When I checked in with her she was on the edge of an abreaction. Her mind was filled with the intense images of some disturbing photographs she was forced to look at as a child.
Instantly I took over, tapping on the trainee and instructing her to focus on the child in the memory and imagine tapping on this younger her. She easily got a sense of this but couldn’t get the intense photographic images out of her mind. I asked her if it was okay to give permission to the child to burn the photographs. In her mind as we both tapped (me on her, she on the child’s image), the child lit a match and burned the photographs. The relief was instantaneous.
A few days after the training, this trainee sent me the following email: “Firstly, thanks for the help on clearing the issue today around the photographs. It was an ingenious idea to get the little girl in me to burn the photos. I’ve had lots of psychotherapy (from an excellent therapist) on this issue; in fact, my last psychotherapy session a couple of weeks ago was about the same issue. When I compare the results from EFT to psychotherapy, there is no comparison. I feel like resolving my issues should be about me and not about others, and the resolution should come from within.
“The second exciting thing is that when you came to help me this afternoon when you saw I was in trouble, I was actually having a bipolar episode. Every episode I have ever had has lasted a day minimum and you brought it down with EFT in 5 minutes!!! This is incredibly exciting to me and my partner, and now I have seen that it is possible to bring it down with EFT, I feel confident that I can do it myself if it arises again. It is interesting how you connected bipolar with child abuse and it was the memory of the abuse that brought the bipolar on–I can definitely see the connection now. The fog that it creates in the depression is to protect me from the reality of my memories, and the hypomania is created to avoid the memories.
“Thirdly (and perhaps most excitingly), I feel like I have found myself in EFT!! I was always training in some course or other and engaged in everything I did, but I didn’t feel that spark like I do with EFT. It feels now that everything has brought me to EFT and although I value the past experiences, I feel so passionate about this one!!”