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Depression of Man in His Mid-60s Linked to Childhood Bullying
This interesting case study was presented by Forrest Samnik as part of her certification process. You can learn a great deal from the way she applied EFT to eliminate depression, as well as get an idea of how case studies should be prepared. Visit Forrest's website.
by Forrest Samnik, LCSW, EFT Cert-I, CCH
Well groomed, 63 year old male looking all of his 63 years presents with depression marked by low energy, inability to concentrate, insomnia (wakes up feeling scared with cold sweats and can’t get back to sleep), and depressed mood. He states, “I feel like I’m starting all over and I don’t know if I have the energy or time, at my age, to see this slump in the economy through.” He reports he’s easily agitated and short tempered along with the other symptoms mentioned. He indicates he’s happily married and enjoys his grandchildren greatly, but has no interest in other activities outside his business. He reports he has had a recent medical examination and the doctor reports there’s nothing physically wrong which would account for his symptoms. This case was recorded with client permission.
I asked him how his body was telling him he was depressed. He said, “In my chest”. I asked him what the sensation was in his chest. He said, “A heaviness, like a weight on my chest.” I asked him to say outl oud “My phone’s not ringing” (something he mentioned several times during the intake) and check in with his chest. He reports a SUDs of 8.
“Even though I have this weight on my chest because my phone isn’t ringing, I deeply and profoundly love and accept who I am anyway.” Alternated reminder phrase with “all this weight on my chest” and “my phone isn’t ringing”.
About halfway through the round, I changed the phrase to “All this pressure and weight on my chest.” He stopped me and said, “Yes! I have all this pressure to meet payroll and pay the health insurance.” He states the SUDS has increased to a 10 with a racing heart as well as the chest pressure. He states, “The responsibility is crushing.”
“Even though I feel all this pressure from this crushing responsibility, I deeply and profoundly accept who I am and how I feel.” Reminder phrases: All this crushing responsibility; I’m responsible for a lot of people and it’s crushing me; My heart is racing from all this responsibility; I don’t know how I’m going to pay all these people; They’re counting on me; This overwhelming responsibility; How am I going to do it with no business coming in?
Report SUDS down to a 4 (chest lighter, heart is slower).
I asked him if he had ever experienced this kind of crushing responsibility before in his life. His eyes got big and he said, “When my parents sent me to military school in the 4th grade!” His eyes went up and to the right. I asked him what he was seeing in his mind’s eye. (NLP Eye Accessing Cues) He said he could see himself on a grey hound bus heading home from military school. I asked him to look at that little boy and tell me what he was experiencing. He started to cry and said, “He’s so scared. He’s on his way back home on a break and he’s afraid he won’t get off at the right stop and he won’t be able to get home.” Reports SUDs of 10, chest and heart.
Round Three and Four:
“Even though I feel so scared that I won’t get off at the right stop and won’t be able to get home, I am an amazingly brave kid!” Reminder phrases: I’m so scared; What if I get off at the wrong stop; This is too much responsibility; I’m not old enough to handle all this by myself; This is really scary having to figure all this out; I’m just a little kid - of course I’m scared; What were these people thinking sending me off by myself; They must have really believed I could manage all this; I don’t want to be on this bus by myself; There’s no one to take care of me if I need help; I’m totally responsible for my safety and I don’t feel safe.” Report SUDs of 4. States, “This is how I’m feeling now, like I can’t keep myself safe, I’m all on my own.” I asked him to repeat this statement: “I believe I am not capable of keeping myself safe.” He reports a 6 on the truth scale with 10 as being absolute truth. I asked him how the statement would need to change to make it absolutely true. He said, “It’s not safe to manage all this responsibility
“Even though I believe that I can’t manage all this responsibility all on my own, I deeply and completely accept who I am anyway”. Reminder phrases: This belief that I can’t manage the responsibility and keep myself safe; As a little boy I really felt this way; I still feel this way; I’m all on my own and I can’t manage all this; If it was true then, it must still be true; I was afraid that I couldn’t keep myself safe because it was too much responsibility; I believe this is still true; no I don’t; yes I DO; there’s a part of me that still feels like this little boy; there’s a higher part of me that knows how strong and capable I am.
Repeats the statement, “I believe it’s not safe to manage all this responsibility.” Reports truth of statement at a 4. Reiterated times when he was capable of managing lot’s of responsibility.
I asked, ”Was there ever a time when you couldn’t keep yourself safe? He replied, “The hazing was pretty bad in military school.” Open further exploration, he remembered a time when he was cornered by some upper classman and they yelled and threatened him. The Movie Technique was utilized. The title he chose – “Petrified”. SUDs 8-9
Round Five and Six:
“Even though I have this Petrified move, I deeply and completely love and accept who I am. (x 3)” Reminder phrase “This Petrified Movie.” Big sigh, face and shoulders relax. Report SUDS at 5.
“Even though those upper classman yelled and threatened to beat me and I was so scared, I deeply and completely accept who I am anyway.”
SUDS went up to a 10 when using the phrase, “I thought they were going to kill me.” Did another round just on the fear of dying: I thought they would kill me; There’s no one here to help me; I don’t know how to defend myself; They’re bigger than I am and there’s two of them; they could kill me with their voices; they look like they want to kill me; they’re in my face. “ Another big sigh. Report SUDS at 5.
Had him tell the story and he became triggered at the point when one guy got in his face and yelled ” You’re a maggot and don’t deserve to live.”He reports feeling a 6 in his chest (hard to breathe, fear).
Even though he got in my face and yelled “ You’re a maggot and don’t deserve to live”, I deeply respect who I am. ET I got so scared when he yelled “You’re a maggot and don’t deserve to live.” ET it was hard to breathe I was so scared….
He got in my face and screamed at me. That look on his face terrified me. I thought he could kill me. I was petrified. I was just a little kid and he was so big. Of course I was scared. He was a big bully and wanted me to be scared of him. It worked. He’s still scaring me. He’s probably old and decrepit right now, but he still has the power to kill me with his words.
At this point, he starts to laugh and says, “I can see him in a wheelchair trying to scream at me as I’m towering over him. His voice sounds so weak now.” I ask him to tell me the story again. No intensity reported.
I ask him to repeat the phrase “My phone’s not ringing.” After doing so reports a SUDS of 4. When asked how he knows it’s a 4, he states, “I felt a pang in my solar plexus.” We explored other times he felt weighted by responsibility which were noted to address in the next session.
How rapport was established at the beginning of the session, and what you did to make the client comfortable in the clinical setting.
· We had already had a consultation, so rapport building had already started
· Water was offered and explained importance of hydration
· Asked him how he was feeling about getting started and asked about any questions or concerns
· Reviewed the intake form and paced with him while he expounded on past history
How did you explain to the client what to expect?
· Was the client asked what s/he already knew about EFT? (If this was the first visit) This was done at the consulation
· Was any theory explained? At the consulation
· Did the practitioner ask if the client had questions, and, if so, were the questions
answered accurately and confidently? Yes!
· Were the set-up and the reminder phrase explained (if first time)? During the consult and then again when I started this first session.
· Did the client and practitioner do a practice round of tapping to ascertain that the client
knew the tapping points? (If this was the first visit) Yes – used the Constricted Breathing Technique.
Was there a discussion of confidentiality, and/or signing of Informed Consent? Both are part of my Treatment Contract which I also reviewed with him personally.
How did you demonstrate presence with the client?
· Eye contact
· Active listening & furthering questions
· Mirroring & Pacing
· Expression of compassion & understanding
· Lack of judgment, refrain from giving advice
If a new technique was introduced, did you explain what would happen? Was there a core issue underneath the presenting issue, and, if so, how was that discovered and handled?
· Detective work
This client was pretty forth coming with events that may have been part of the presenting issue. It took 4 sessions to completely abate the feelings of depression. Worked through a lot of fears and limiting beliefs about money. At the last session he reported his energy was back, he was sleeping through the night, and had scheduled two business meetings that culminated into fairly large contracts. He said it was like once he let the fear go he got clarity as to what he needed to do to get new business.
by Forrest Samnik