This case study emphasizes the importance of seeking out and dealing with all the aspects of a case and not assuming that the various root causes are linked in any obvious way.
The client was the daughter of an existing client who had done very well using EFT for her own problems. I had not seen the daughter, but the mother rang on the clinic’s 24-hour help line in a terrible panic saying that her daughter was having a heart attack. From the description the mother gave over the phone, this did seem to be the case. The daughter, Jean (not her real name), was reporting the classic symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction): pain in the centre of the chest radiating down the left arm, weakness of the arm muscles, shortness of breath, and a cold clammy skin. The only unusual thing about the attack was that the victim was a healthy young female non-smoker in her 20s—not an obvious candidate for a heart attack.
Jean was some 30 miles away from me and all I could suggest was that her mother immediately ring for an ambulance and take her to the hospital.
Jean went to the hospital and the emergency staff also recognized her condition as a myocardial infarction. She was immediately moved to an intensive-care ward and subjected to a barrage of tests. The test showed that she was not suffering from an infarction and after a further period of observation she was sent home.
In the next few days, Jean suffered three more "infarctions." Her mother brought her to me for an investigation. On her arrival at my office, Jean looked fit and well and showed none of the warning signs of a potential heart attack victim. We discussed the background to the problem and earlier events of a similar nature. Jean mentioned that when she was upset or annoyed, she had often had less severe pains in her chest and arms and that a sign she was becoming upset by a situation was a tingling in her left arm. It seemed that these "infarctions" were linked to times she was upset or angry. The event that triggered the severe attack that led to her hospitalization was her witnessing a traumatic event on TV; this event upset her greatly. This in itself could be a trigger for a true heart attack, but I was relying on the accuracy of the hospital tests that showed that her symptoms were not myocardial infarction.
The problem had first appeared while Jean’s cousin, who she disliked, was staying with them in their home. Jean could remember her cousin "winding her up" and the pains starting as soon as her cousin began his antics. The mere thinking of her cousin and saying his name caused her to become emotional. Here was a clear place to start using EFT.
Jean was aware of EFT and its power as her mother had been a successful patient of mine, so she was a good and willing subject. We used the Movie Technique to work through a number of incidents involving her cousin until she could think of no more. At that point, she was able to think of her cousin and mention his name without any emotion, and could even remember some good times they had had together.
We then turned to the traumatic event seen on the TV. Using the Tearless Trauma Technique, I first wondered aloud what would be her reaction if she thought about it and then I directly asked her what she thought her reaction would be. She was calm but still upset by the incident, so we tapped some more, until she felt completely relaxed about it. We discussed the TV incident and I had Jean bring it to mind in an increasingly vivid way, tapping all the time. Jean was able to discuss the incident. While she still felt unhappy about it and that it had been shown on TV, she was not emotional and could talk about the pros and cons of its transmission.
After a quick check that the situation involving her cousin had remained clear, I could have finished the session and called it a success. However, it is always worth checking for earlier root causes, and I asked Jean if she could recall any earlier similar incidents. She could recall one—a long forgotten incident from years previous. It was not similar to the incidents we had been working with in any way nor connected with them (or so she thought!), but it had just popped into her mind.
Many years earlier she had been asleep in bed and her mother had woken her insisting that she rush out to help her younger sister. The sister had walked to the bus stop on her way to school without an umbrella and it was raining hard. Jean jumped out of bed, put a raincoat on over her nightclothes, and rushed out—still half asleep—to take an umbrella to her sister waiting at the bus stop. When she returned home, she was soaking wet and the arm that had been carrying the umbrella was aching and full of "pins and needles." In recounting this tale, Jean burst into tears.
We tapped all over the incident, without a Setup phrase, but using "garbage and gold" reminder phrases. We covered a lot of ground: her anger with her mother for waking her, her anger with herself for oversleeping, her anger with her little sister for existing, the fear she had for her sister getting wet, being wet herself, the pain in her arm, and much more. In the end, Jean was laughing at the vision of herself as a teenager sopping wet in a raincoat and nightclothes carrying a somewhat ineffectual umbrella.
Had we found the root cause of her "infarction"? Probably not, but we had removed sufficient table legs for the table that produced the infarction symptoms to fall over. It is now some months since she came to visit me and she has had no further problems.