At a recent EFT workshop, we tested participant levels of emotional trauma before and after. We used a questionnaire called the PCL, short for Post-traumatic stress disorder Check List. Everyone’s scores on the PCL went down after the workshop, except for two people, whose scores went up. Yet these two people made huge breakthroughs, and were very pleased with their results. Why did their traumatic stress scores go up?
The reason is that both of them had a history of dissociation. They had both experienced severe psychological trauma as children, and to cope the abuse, they’d distanced themselves from their feelings.
The dissociative response makes perfect sense for a child. The child has to survive and live on in the abusive situation. He or she cannot escape, and the caregiver is often the abuser. The child resolves this paradox by pushing the bad experiences into the subconscious mind. Carl Jung described the “Shadow,” that part of self into which these “unacceptable” and unhealed traumas are stuffed. Poet Robert Bly calls it the “Bag,” and he says that we fill our bags with these unhealed experiences during childhood, and drag it through our adult life like a huge burden that weighs us down and robs us of our joy.
After a lifetime spent stuffing bad experiences into our shadow, and not truly feeling or processing our negative experiences, a person has a fixed habit of doing this. They might feel very few of their feelings, and perceive them as dangerous and disruptive. Their safety lies in dissociating.
When a person with a lifetime history of dissociating, and a huge collection of disowned personality fragments stuffed into their shadow, starts to learn EFT, these fragments may start to emerge. While the person might have managed to feel OK in the past by suppressing them, and might have reported low emotional intensity, they’re now feeling them fully, and reporting high emotional intensity. In this case, a rise in emotional intensity is actually a sign of healing, as long as the emotion is then fully processed through, to where the intensity subsides, and the shadow fragment is re-integrated into the whole personality as an acceptable part.
There are several modules in the EFT trainings that teach you how to deal with difficult problems like repression, the shadow, and dissociation. Please take an EFT workshop to learn these skills. Workshops usually include demonstrations and hands-on practical learning exercises to learn to deal with dissociative states.