Dear EFT Community,
Dr. Alexander Lees from Canada skillfully applied EFT to a client whose only chance of survival was to have a bone marrow transplant. He ends the article with a letter from the client in which she gives her perspective on the EFT work and its results.
– EFT Universe
The slim, middle-aged woman now in my office had started talking even before she alighted on the couch. “Let me get to the point,” Erin said brusquely. “I was diagnosed with AML in September of 2002. I was informed I had two to six weeks left on this planet, unless I started chemotherapy immediately. That scared the hell out of me, but I suppose there was no easy way for them to say it. Anyway, in spite of the pain, the nausea, the fear, the hair and weight loss, the treatment was successful, and I was in remission for 14 months. I’ve just learned I’ve had a relapse, and I’m devastated. I’ve been using all kinds of alternative approaches, I’ve been eating all the right foods, and the damn thing is back! You cannot begin to imagine the degree of resentment I have at this betrayal. I’m angry, resentful and scared, and I don’t want any psychotherapy or analysis; I want a quick fix. Do you know what AML is?” she finished, leaning forward off the couch.
As the latter part of this monologue had come at me at the speed of light, it took me a few seconds of backtracking through my mind to realize a question had been posed. “Er, yes. AML–acute myeloid leukemia. It’s known as an aggressive form of cancer, affecting the production of certain white blood cells in the bone marrow.”
“Well,” she said, as her eyebrows raised and she settled back on the couch. “How did you know that?”
“I read,” I offered lamely. “Would you like some tea?”
“No, I need information, I need some tools, and I need them now!” she shot back.
Having ascertained from information on the intake form that Erin had a strong academic background, I chose to explain briefly the mind-body connection and then segued into a brief explanation of EFT.
She wrote furiously, occasionally pausing to ask pertinent questions for clarification and then bent over her notebook once more, scribbling again. After some time, Erin looked up, placed her notebook and pen aside, and said, “Show me.”
We started with a resentment issue and, after a shortcut round, found nothing had changed. “So, it doesn’t work,” was the comment. “Of course not–not yet,” I responded. “That first round just sets the stage. Do you resent the medical establishment, your body, or the fact the cancer has returned?” “All of it,” she replied.
“Okay. When we trim a tree, it’s usually best to begin by trimming the branches first. We have three branches on that particular emotional tree. Which one would you like to trim first?” We began with tapping for her resentment that her body had betrayed her.
Starting with the side of the hand point, we used the statement “Even though I feel my body betrayed me, especially after I looked after it so well, I deeply and completely accept myself.” This was repeated three times, and we then did a shortcut round using the Reminder Phrase “This resentment toward my body.” The slight color change in Erin’s face suggested to me that I wait a moment before continuing.
“I don’t really resent the medical doctors,” she said after a few moments. “But I’m really scared of going back into the hospital. And if they don’t find a match (bone marrow), the best they can give me is seven months, tops.” The fear of the hospital was still higher than we both wanted after two rounds, so it was time to go creative.
After some discussion, I asked Erin, “What is your favorite activity?” “Walking the beach and people watching,” she responded with a smile. We tapped the points using the phrase: “I choose to go to the (she named the cancer ward of the hospital) with my beach-walking, people-watching attitude.”
Erin and I had three more sessions in the office, fine-tuning the word patterns for attitude and other resentments and fears. The next two sessions were done by phone while Erin was in the hospital. During the first call, we focused on, starting with the side of the hand point, “Even though I fear more chemotherapy, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
After we completed several rounds on the various aspects (different thoughts about it) that came up, Erin suddenly started talking about the nausea the chemo produced (the deeper issue). We did two rounds on: “Even though the chemo makes me nauseous, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Then we used the Reminder Phrase “This nausea from chemo.”
“How do you feel about chemo right now?” I asked her on the phone. “How do I choose to like it?” she fired back. “I choose to accept the chemo is going to help me, and do so with minimum side effects” was what we settled on.
“I need a quick tune-up,” began the second phone session. “They found a donor, in Seattle. The stuff is on its way here now, by plane. The concern is the closer the match, the better my chances are. This stuff seems to be three points off, or something–and there’s a lot of concern.”
We did a round, starting with the side of the hand point, using: “Even though this isn’t a perfect match, I trust my body will make the appropriate adjustments, and I deeply and completely trust myself, and believe in the body’s innate wisdom.”
“It’s my body, mister, not the body,” she fired back, in that no-nonsense style of hers. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied meekly, and we made the correction. We did a round for the fear of rejection possibilities, and Erin promised to continue on her own, repeating when necessary.
“How are the people on the ward?” I asked, before hanging up. “I just watch and talk to the ones having fun,” she replied. “They’re open to hearing about this stuff, and so we just walk the beach in our minds, tap, and talk.”
Erin had the bone marrow transplant, and she decided to give her new bone marrow a name. She felt it would feel more at home in her body if she addressed it properly, and decided to affix the name “Julie.” The critical time frame for Erin was set at 100 days. If she made it through that time period, she was told, she’d probably make it. (One of these days, I must do a seminar for the medical community about the power of words.)
While Erin was in the hospital, she kept me updated with emails. “It’s day 75!” was a really good one to receive. Shortly after that email, I got a phone call with not so good news. Erin explained that, because the immune system had to be depressed to accept the transplant, she’d had a recurrence of chickenpox (she’d had it as a child) and had suffered a collapsed lung. It was a setback. But Erin remarked offhandedly, “I just tapped my way through that. They couldn’t give me medication or painkillers, so I simply used EFT.”
Erin got through that battle, and continued to praise “Julie,” even telling all of us she was now proud to be half a Yank and half a Canuck! Then it was Day 124, and Erin dropped by my office to say hello, thank me for introducing her to EFT, and ask, “So what are you going to teach me next?”
After our visit I said, “Nice hat,” as she prepared to leave the office. “Where are you going now?” “To walk the beach and people watch, what else?”
And now, with respect and admiration, I would like to include an email from Erin, which she sent to her large support group and to me. It is her perception, in her own words, about her journey. She likens it to housecleaning in the spring.
Spring Cleaning by “Erin”
Deep inside I listened to my body and still do to this day. I believed I wasn’t heading for remission. I was so frightened. Even though I had tremendous love and support from my family and friends, I was in this hole so deep that I felt there was no way out. It felt so alone despite the numerous supportive phone calls and emails. Being in that pit was indescribable. Hopelessness is a key ingredient for failure. I just couldn’t muster the courage and strength to turn it around. The resentment and depression were far too powerful. Down deep I still wanted to live, so how in hell was I going to get out of this mess?
I went to see Dr. Alex Lees, a psychotherapist who specializes in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). I described to him that the train was coming and I was right in the middle of the tracks. I needed someone or something to pull me out of the way quickly. A year of therapy isn’t what I needed at that time. I needed a quick fix. He then went into the message system of how we talk to our bodies daily–60,000 thoughts a day!
The technique for emotional freedom involves identifying the feeling specifically that is blocking the body and mind from functioning fully. You then tap into your meridians, which are the pathways of the message system in your body. The tapping lessens the negative feeling and thus reduces its effect on the body. Later, positive emotional feelings are tapped into the body message system. I did a lot of tapping! (I also want to emphasize that EFT is not to replace chemotherapy.)
Alex Lees told me that I was taking my cancer too seriously. I agreed, and began to pull away from the cancer grip and look at all the other aspects of my life. Three days later, my blood cells followed the proper plan by hitting their best levels, and staying there for two weeks. All the doctors just shook their heads at this. At that point, I knew I was in remission!
Let me pause to mention four areas where EFT was important in my road to health:
- The acceptance of the bone marrow mismatch. The doctors thought the three-point difference was a big deal and were very concerned about it. I believe EFT paved the way for the proper internal body adjustment.
- To my doctors’ astonishment, the transplant had no side effects.
- The remission that occurred prior to the bone marrow transplant. Without that remission, the transplant could not have taken place.
- Managing the pain during the collapsed lung and chickenpox. Because of my condition the doctors couldn’t give me any painkillers.
I hated going to the hospital as an outpatient. All I could see were people dealing with the complications of the bone marrow transplant. Is this what I had to look forward to? I changed my vision of the place and started to seek out patients who had a sparkle in their eyes and weren’t lying in bed but sitting in a chair for their treatment. I found 15 and they were very positive about their progress. The point is that these people were always there. I just couldn’t see them.
I also strongly believe that housecleaning occurs through the integration of mind, body, and spirit. It is obvious in these stories. Therefore, when I am going through a changing time, I balance all three areas. When we initiate spring cleaning, or are forced into it, we can’t beat up on ourselves. There’s probably a small area of our whole selves that would benefit from a good dusting–then we shine!
Alex Lees firmly believes that we should have fun at going about these changes and not be too consumed by them. Finally, there is an old Chinese saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” It sure took me a while!