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Combining EFT with Humor
Dear EFT Community,
Humor in an EFT session signals that we are making progress (when we can laugh at an issue, it means we have worked through the trauma associated with it) and also serves as a guide for reframing, in order to look at the issue from a different perspective, which is part of healing. Dr. Alexander Lees from Canada writes about the use of humor in a subject one wouldn't ordinarily associate humor: fear of terrorism. In "taking the light road," Dr. Lees helps the client lighten his load. This case also highlights an important point about core Issues; they are not always relics from the past.
Perhaps it's because my office is located two streets from the Canada/US border, or perhaps it's something else, but whatever the reason, I have many clients from the Seattle area. As soon as they clear customs, they turn left, and drive down a quiet country lane to my office. "Ron," a new referral, was sitting in my office lamenting the border line-up. As is often the case, presented concerns are expressions of a deeper issue, a core issue, and it is the resolution of the core issues that allows the most change and emotional growth to occur.
One of the traps of learning to go after the core issue is the assumption that core issues occur in time, and future events are coloured by them. It really isn't that rare an occurrence when something happens in the present and in turn biases or contaminates memories of the past. In these cases, the now occurrence (or occurrences) is the core issue(s). This turned out to be one of those cases.
Ron continued, "It was less than a two-hour drive up here, but it took another hour to clear customs. Boy, they sure are edgy these days," he commented. Before I could respond, Ron continued, "My friend Jeff, that referred me, said it's a heck of a lot worse returning to the States. He was asked for his passport, and he was born in Washington! Well, he didn't have it with him, and it took him two and a half hours to get an okay to drive home."
We spent the next 10 minutes delightfully trashing the bureaucracy involved, and then Ron cited the reason for his visit.
The Presented Issue
He outlined his growing-up years, especially his disappointment at being raised in a single parent home, his successes and failures in various school sports, and the embarrassment of spontaneously kissing a girl on her birthday in eighth grade. "She wiped her mouth and said 'Yuck!' right in front of everyone. Geez, I was embarrassed for days after that," he declared.
After a bit more time had been spent in what I call the information gathering stage, I finally asked him, "Well, you've certainly had your ups and downs," (Ron nodded) "and am I assuming correctly that you'd like to begin to clear some of this stuff up?" My tapping digit was already beginning to awaken.
"Well, yeah," he said, half-heartedly. The tapping digit began to relax a bit. "Okay," I responded. "Share something with me. How do your childhood experiences affect you now?"
"How do you mean?" Ron asked, looking a tad perplexed.
"Stuff from our childhood, when it bothers us in our 20s, usually fits one of two categories. We either find ourselves doing something we'd like to stop or we want to do something and find ourselves procrastinating or stopped in some way." Sometimes my seemingly brilliant insights come across as exceedingly dim, and this seemed the case now, judging by the look of consternation I was now receiving.
The Core Issue
"Well, I don't know about any of that, Doc," Ron offered. "But I do know the world's going to hell in a hand-basket, and I feel pretty down."
"Whose world?" I asked.
"Mine, my friends. We have this colour-coded alert thing in the States. Everyone we know is scared. It's like they keep flashing Danger! all the time. And the border guards are paranoid. Even my mom says she's afraid driving to work. Last Saturday she came home from the mall crying. She said she was sick of being scared. She even quit her bowling team because she's too scared to drive in that part of town at night."
I listened attentively for another half hour or so, and the following points were noted from that part of Ron's narrative.
Ron and his mother fight a lot.
These arguments cause added stress in both their lives.
Their mutual and respective fears regarding terrorism is the root cause or, in my way of thinking about things, it is providing the emotional fuel driving the arguments.
This fear has now generalized out to many other aspects of Ron's life, and his mother's.
The terrorism threat is also affecting their friends.
I now felt I had enough information to begin. "Ron, first off, you're right. There is a great fear that's spreading through both countries, yours and mine. You seem like a bright young man, so I know you will understand when I say the fear spreading is exactly what the terrorists want. Confident people are a threat to them. People going about their lives are a threat to them. The whole idea of terrorism is psychological warfare. Frightened people don't fly in planes, they produce less, the economy and social structures begin to crumble. People in fear become immobilized, and that's how a terrorist wins. Do you remember how frozen you were when the kids laughed at you for kissing the girl in school? You might as well say that was a feeling of terror."
"So what can anyone do?" he asked. My tapping digit jumped to attention. "There's some really neat anti-terror spots on the body," I began. "Let me show you." I grasped his left hand, and began to tap the Psychological Reversal point. "Say this out loud for me; it helps make the editing buttons work better," I told him. "Repeat after me:"
"Even though the world's going to hell in a hand-basket, and the US and Canada in particular, especially Seattle, because it rains too much there anyway, and I'm scared, disillusioned, and upset, especially 'cause I am worried abut my Mom, nonetheless, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway, even though what's-her-name didn't appreciate my kiss."
We then did a quick round using the phrase, "The terrorist thing."
Three more rounds, with a variation on the theme, brought us to the end of a two-hour session. Ron knows and appreciates there is more to do, but couldn't contain himself from blurting out how much better he felt. "Can I bring my mom up?" he asked just before leaving. "Of course, but tell me, when do you want to work on your childhood stuff?" I tested. "You know, Doc, right now my childhood seems like it was just a childhood. I'd much rather deal with this stuff." I agreed with his assessment.
My training before EFT would have allowed me to "talk" Ron through these very real issues. Eventually, given enough time, his thinking would change, and because of that change, he would begin to feel better. EFT works a little differently. By zeroing in on the emotions and beginning to clear those, Ron's attitude and his thinking will change automatically, which is a much shorter route to success.