I had a thought: It takes emotional courage to begin the journey of working on your trauma with EFT.
But only to begin.
Why? Because we assume the process of healing the trauma will involve re-exposing ourselves to it. That the trauma being uninstalled from our body will be as painful as it was when the trauma was being installed. As bad going out as it was going in. Like ripping off a BandAid…only a million times worse.
No wonder it’s the LAST thing we want to do! No wonder it takes EMOTIONAL COURAGE to step into the process…
But, unlike so many other modalities, EFT is NOT a painful process. In fact, the techniques for dealing with trauma are called the Gentle Techniques - because that is exactly what they are.
So, though it might take courage to sign up for what you believe will be a necessary (but awful) experience of healing, you VERY SOON discover that it’s nothing of the sort.
In the hands of a properly trained, trauma-informed practitioner who is using Clinical EFT, the experience of healing not only brings the relief that comes with being freed at last from the residue of those bad experiences, it does it in a WAY that doesn’t require ANY COURAGE. Because it’s not painful. It’s not awful. It’s not retraumatising.
I asked ChatGPT to write this blog post and got the below result. No wonder you thought healing trauma would require emotional courage all the way through! Most of the world, basing the assumption on experiences with exposure based therapies like CBT, thinks it’s a tough process from start to finish. Some of what's below is true for EFT, like the part about patience...but lots is not.
Whose version do you prefer? :-)
Trauma can have a profound impact on an individual's life, leaving lasting scars that affect everything from their relationships to their ability to function day-to-day. While many people may understand that healing from trauma is an important step towards recovery, it can be difficult to take the first steps towards that journey. This is where emotional courage comes in, as it takes a great deal of strength and bravery to face the pain of trauma head-on and begin the process of healing.
First, let's define emotional courage. Emotional courage refers to the ability to confront and manage difficult emotions in a healthy way. It involves being willing to be vulnerable, to face the unknown, and to take risks despite the possibility of failure or rejection. Emotional courage is not about ignoring or suppressing negative emotions but rather embracing them and learning from them.
When it comes to trauma, emotional courage is essential for healing. Trauma can be deeply painful, and it's natural to want to avoid or suppress those emotions. However, avoiding the pain of trauma can lead to more significant issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. On the other hand, embracing the pain and working through it can lead to a greater sense of self-awareness and empowerment.
So, why is emotional courage necessary for healing trauma? Here are some reasons:
In conclusion, healing from trauma takes emotional courage. It involves being vulnerable, facing fears, self-reflection, and perseverance. While the journey may be difficult, it's essential to confront the pain of trauma to move past it and live a fulfilling life. If you're struggling with trauma, remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and that healing is possible with time, effort, and emotional courage.
Imagine an orchestra of 20 musicians. Eighteen of them are playing well and have instruments that are perfectly in tune. Two of them, however, are playing out of tune. How good does that orchestra sound? Kinda ruins the overall effect, right?
Now imagine that each one of those musicians in that orchestra are parts of you. Only two out of twenty are wounded and need healing but the overall effect on your life is discord. You feel broken. It feels hopeless. The two parts that aren’t healed are taking all your attention and affecting your whole existence so you aren’t able to enjoy the wellbeing available to the other eighteen parts of you!
As you heal with EFT, you do experience shifts and for a while these shifts make it feel like everything is fixed. So, it can be confusing when negative moods return. Did the result not stick? Was it not permanent? The answer, if you are doing Clinical EFT and not just surface Tapping, is yes! You DID create permanent change.
It’s just that now you’re back to noticing the parts that are next in line to be “tuned.” And, just like with an orchestra, all it takes is one or two players out of tune to spoil the music and make you say “This orchestra sucks!!”, even though the majority of players are doing well.
That’s why it’s a journey, a process, and not an instant overnight fix (for most things).
Just because you still feel symptoms, emotions, have thoughts that you don’t want, it doesn’t mean you haven’t made significant progress.
The next time you find yourself questioning your results, try to focus on the parts of you that have improved. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
And then turn your attention to the parts whose turn it now is for healing.
I just realized that, without even knowing it, I have been celebrating the ten year anniversary of my discovering EFT, healing my depression and changing my life!
About a week ago, I was lounging on the guest bed in my friend Carole’s house in Los Angeles, recovering from the intensive 4 day Clinical EFT training I had conducted in San Diego a couple of days prior. I was looking out the windows at the green canopy of foliage, musing about how happy I had felt on this trip so far - happier than usual - and how much the trees had grown since that time I stayed in the little granny flat below…
Thinking about my stay in the granny flat made me smile. It was a joyful time, that month all those years ago. So joyful that I had kept jotting down details in a little notebook, not wanting to forget...
A couple of days ago, a trainee emailed me a really great question:
"How do you feel when you run sessions for others and you are tapping on yourself to direct the person but you are also stating their problems back to them?
On an energetic level, how do you think this effects us as healers? Do you have techniques to teach us how to not let the affirmations for them effect us, or how to not take it on? This is my main concern from a spiritual point of view."
ANSWER: First of all, I LOVE this question!
For a while now I've been using two metaphors that seem to resonate with tapping clients and students. One is what I have seen referred to as "the spinning wheel of death." If you use a Mac, it's that multicolored little pie icon that spins eternally when the computer is stuck somewhere just short of frozen. That point in a process where you've clicked some button and the computer goes to work on whatever command you gave it....and the spinning wheel indicates "okay, just give me a moment here" and that moment turns into... an eternity. Your computer is, for all intents and purposes, unusable until you perform a hard reboot by turning it off and back on.
For people without Macs (though I am sure there is a PC equivalent), the metaphor I use involves an anaconda snake trying to eat a cow and getting stuck with the cow half swallowed. Without manual intervention, that cow isn't coming back out and yet the snake isn't big enough to finish the job of swallowing the cow! As with the tech analogy, everything stops. Forward progress is impossible and there's no elegant way to back up.
What both these examples have in common is they illustrate a process being interrupted by something TOO BIG. Something that the process can't cope with. The Mac had too many programs running simultaneously and the snake's ability to unhinge its jaw exceeded its throat's potential to expand. Result: Stuck.
I saw a video on YouTube that really stuck with me...
It was the rescue of a stray dog. First seen at night, scared eyes reflecting the light of the smartphone documenting its capture, the poor creature was filthy and matted but you could still tell it was white underneath the weeks if not months of neglect. It was some kind of maltese/poodle cross. The kind of dog you see trotting happily on a leash - not living, feral, teeth bared, under a dumpster in the parking lot of an innercity supermarket.
Shelter volunteers had been alerted to the dog's plight by a cashier who had caught a glimpse of it when returning to her car several nights prior. It had taken a number of patient stakeouts before they got the glimpse they needed to confirm the dog was still in the area.
It had become really good at hiding.
The the video began with the excited rescuer capturing the last few seconds of the dog's race ahead to squeeze into the darkness under the dumpster. Explaining into the phone's camera that the dog looked like it had been out here for months, and speculating on what appeared to be signs of physical injury, the rescuers were certain the bigger issue was the psychological injury the dog had suffered. It was rare for them to encounter a dog this determined to avoid any and all human contact.
The dog was going to have to be approached very, very carefully.
I recently overheard a fellow EFT practitioner remark to someone, "I've never worked with children." I didn't think anything of it at the time. Most Tapping practitioners have experience or preferences that lead them to specialize in certain areas or with certain types of clients or to work on particular issues. It's also important that we know where not to go, what not to work on. Perhaps it's an issue we are aware we haven't cleared in ourselves. Perhaps it's a matter of not feeling confident we have acquired the skills to maintain the safety of clients presenting with issues involving serious trauma.
And, certainly, working with children presents a special set of challenges, even though we are taught how to do it in our training. But those overheard words, pinging casually around in the back of my mind, collided with reality the next day as...
A couple of months ago, I was heading to my car for a day of errands when I noticed the washing out on the line. I knew it was dry but the sky looked ominous and I was sure it would be soaked by the day's expected rain unless I hauled it inside before leaving.
Hurrying, I darted over to where it was hanging and began ripping it off the line, tossing it into the nearby basket, clothes pegs flying as I fumbled to get it done. My mind was already on the road and my body was frantic to get this chore over with so I could catch up with it.
The basket full, I wheeled around and crunched back over the gravel pathway towards the terrace, taking a shortcut that meant a hop over a low wooden garden divider.
It was a dumb move. I was going too fast for the uneven ground, for my inability to see
For some reason, having my hands in warm running water while looking out my kitchen window at the first signs of spring reminded me of my friend Elizabeth's house in Bolinas, California. Maybe it was the way the wind was tossing the branches of trees around in the sun, reminding me of that bright, blustery coastline. Maybe that combined with the warm water and reminded me of sitting in her hot tub that looks out over the ocean. I felt a wave of longing to go back and be in that magical place again.
And then, a realization dawned. The last time I was there, it didn't feel magical. It was last Christmas. Had the chill in the air and flat silver light of winter been to blame? I turned my mind back to...