This EFT "two-for-one benefit" is brought to us by Suzanne Lerner. Note how using EFT for some specific events helped move this case toward success.
By Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD
I recently had a lovely EFT session, working with an 8 year old girl who had developed several behavioral problems, including anger, tantrums, and a seeming inability to tolerate pain. Her mother had taken her to the dentist's office, and in the mother's own words, "it's like she turns into a feral animal, struggling and screaming and trying to escape!"
The dentist had arranged a special "lunchtime appointment," so that the other patients wouldn't be distressed. It was coming up in just a few days but, armed with EFT, I was confident that we could at least diminish her symptoms. I worked with the girl on specific aspects: the bad feeling when her name is called to come in, the gagging feelings, the bad taste from the cleaning paste, feeling trapped, and we were able to bring her level of intensity on all these aspects down close to zero.
We then worked on a core issue around pain. When she was a very young child, she fell off a couch, and had a head wound, with blood pouring into her eyes, and she had to be taken to the hospital to get some stitches. We tapped on those issues, including the pain, the blood, and the fear. "Sophie" was very cooperative, and she enjoyed learning this new tapping tool.
I then worked with her on some of her anger issues, which especially seem to flare up, when she is with her maternal grandmother. It turned out that she felt angry that her grandmother doesn't listen to her. I worked with these issues tapping on:
Even though I get angry and I'm ready to punch (her words) I still know that I'm a good kid.
We brought some of her levels of intensity down and then turned to a choice statement:
Even though I get angry and sometimes I'm ready to punch somebody, I choose to stay surprisingly calm and peaceful. She really enjoyed that!
Since Sophie loves to draw, I had her draw a sketch of when she is angry with her Grandma, and she drew herself with her Grandma, with her fists all clenched and raised. Then I had her draw a brief picture of how it would look if things were better with her Grandma, and she drew herself with her hands down and relaxed. I encouraged her to put these pictures somewhere where she could look at them from time to time. We then tapped some more, supporting her new choices.
I received a very joyous call from her mother, the evening of the dreaded dental appointment.
"The appointment went beautifully! We tapped beforehand, and also in the waiting room, as you recommended. Then I tapped on her fingers, while she was in the chair. I could feel her begin to tense, but with the tapping, she just relaxed again, and the whole appointment went fine.
Not only that, but her whole behavior has changed. She is more cooperative. I see her begin to get frustrated, but then she seems to "catch herself" and verbalize what she is needing, instead of the screaming! This is just so great, I can't believe it. This EFT really made the difference."
Now all this occurred after just one session. But the most remarkable part of the story is still to come. It is my approach, when I am working with a child, to also meet with the parent. Since I am trained as a family therapist, as well as a psychologist, I understand how a parent and child's issues can often interact. For example, a parent, even though very well meaning, can worry about a child's problem in a way that makes it even worse. Other times, a child's issues can trigger old unresolved issues from a parent's own childhood. Resolving some of these issues with EFT can help the parent not get so triggered by similar behaviors in their child.
So for this session with Sophie, I first met with her mother. As we tapped on the mother's concern about Sophie's behavior, following my intuition, I said:
Even though Sophie's behaviors seem out of control at times, I choose to know that I am a good mother.
Even though Sophie is having problems, I choose to honor that I am helping her deal with them at a young age, and that certainly wasn't available to me when I was her age.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Not below how the mother tuned into a specific event that was likely a core issues. This often happens naturally within an EFT session
Well, the mother just started sobbing really, really hard. This was unexpected for both of us, but we just kept tapping, as the story revealed itself.
It turns out, that when the mother was Sophie's exact age now, her parents were going through a very painful divorce, with her father leaving the country. In the midst of all this, her beloved brother died suddenly and tragically, while she was away for the week-end! Because her mother was already emotionally overwhelmed from the divorce, there was no one really there to help this woman, at the time a young 8 year old girl, to deal with all her feelings around her brother's loss. These feelings had just gotten "walled off" somehow.
This was the first time the mom had ever been able to have someone there while she experienced these feelings: the pain, the sadness, the anger, and the guilt. It was like a HUGE weight came off, layer after layer. She was both surprised and extremely grateful, to finally have some resolution to all this pain. There was definitely a new sparkle and light in her eyes, in a beautiful way.
No one can say for sure whether the mother's old unresolved pain was feeding into her own daughter's issues. But the fact that in one 90 minute session, I was able to facilitate such major healing transformation, in both the mother and daughter, is an incredible testimony to the power of EFT!
Love & Blessings,
Suzanne ib Lerner, PhD