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EFT for OCD-like Behaviors

Dear EFT Community,

In this article, certified EFT practitioner
 Sherrie Rice Smith relates how she used EFT to help a client become free of the multiple obsessive-compulsive behaviors that were controlling him. As often happens with EFT, clearing the main ones led to the spontaneous elimination of four other behaviors, without needing to tap specifically on them.  

-Stephanie M

By Sherrie Rice Smith, RN (Ret.), EFT-EXP

A year or so ago. I had written up a case study about Tom and his light switch flipping. That behavior was quite similar to obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Recently, Tom phoned me to “confess.” He hadn’t wanted to tell me about these other episodes, but EFT had worked so well on them that he now decided he wanted to brag a little about what he had been able to do for himself while tapping. I was all ears! EFT is a self-help tool. I was glad to see I had taught him well.

About 2 weeks after we tapped to disable Tom’s flipping light switches (something he had done since early childhood), four times each in order for him to make sure the switch was really turned off, other “OCD-ish” habits emerged. The light switch habit was something he probably started innocently enough when he realized it irritated his father, and he did it for just that purpose, as a child will do when a parent is abusive. I suspect it was a behavior Tom, feeling powerless, used to get back at his father. The other OCD-like behaviors that began surfacing were not new.

Rather, Tom now recognized that he actually did the behaviors and realized they were “controlling me.”

Tom and his wife take daily dietary supplements and Tom is responsible for putting a week’s worth of those together for them. He now realized that if a pill slipped from his hand and went into the “wrong” compartment, he would remove it from the “wrong” compartment and put it in the “right” compartment, even though both compartments would contain the exact same pills in the end. “That pill was destined to go into the second slot, not the third one, so I had to make sure it went into the second one, even though in my mind I knew it made absolutely no difference. The pills were all the same kind.”

He felt frustrated that he HAD to set out those pills in what he perceived to be the perfectly correct order. 

I asked him what he felt like when he decided to tap on this issue. “I felt stupid and trapped by the behavior,” he told me. 

The technique he used was the one I learned from Valerie Lis, EFT-EXP, where opposite sides of the behavior are emphasized and each emotion elicited is tapped to 0 on the SUD scale. 

So Tom tapped, “I always, always, always will have to make sure the pills go into the correct hole. If it was destined for the third hole, it cannot go into the second hole. I always have to correct the problem, no matter what.” Tom was feeling “stupid” and “trapped” and “frustrated.”

To tap the opposite of that, Tom used the statement, “I will never get them in the correct order. They will fall all over the floor. I will never get it done right.” When I inquired what he was feeling when he tapped the opposite side of the issue, his response was “I knew the action was dumb, it made no difference what cup they went into, as long as there was one in each, but I felt compelled to make sure they were lined up in the exact logical order with no exceptions. I couldn’t stop doing it this way no matter what I told myself.”

Tom added that  “feeling compelled” and “out of control” were also present, in addition to the feeling “stupid,” “trapped,” and “frustrated” again.

To his amazement, and he knows he probably went a bit overboard in tapping, after about 20 rounds of tapping, he never again cared where the pills landed! If a pill “destined” for cup one landed in cup six, oh well, not a problem! Now, 18 months later, he has never again pulled a pill out of a cup to put it in the “right” compartment. 

Shortly after dismantling that behavior, he realized another behavior popped up that he had never recognized as problematic.

Tom loves to cook, but he realized he had to follow the recipe in the exact order. The ingredients had to be assembled precisely the way it was written. No skipping around to make cooking easier or time saving. Precision was the key.

Again, I asked what he was feeling when the realization came to him of his compulsive behavior. Tom said, “I felt trapped in my own mind. My mind was controlling me.” 

Once he had the light switch flipping and the supplement issue dismantled, Tom said it took only about seven rounds of tapping to knock the recipe one out of him. 

However, the more amazing part is Tom realized a few weeks later that four other behaviors he had never identified and never tapped on also went away once he had tapped on these three aspects of the compulsive behavior.

Those other four behaviors included: Tom showered in a very specific order. He realized that, after 60 years, he had changed the way he showered. His wife once had suggested to him to wash his hair first, top down, and he simply couldn’t fathom doing anything but washing his hair last. Odd as it seems, his wife is a nurse and “sterile technique” requires “clean to dirty.” His point was he couldn’t make himself change his technique, no matter how much talking he did to himself about switching it up.

The second inadvertently changed behavior was how he mixed drinks. There was a very specific order to how the ingredients went into the glass and nothing could make him do it differently, even if his way took more time and effort. It all was cemented in his mind. Tom remembered his father’s saying, “It’s my way or the highway.” How much did this saying enter into this behavior? Tom actually tapped on that saying, too.

The third was similar to the initial light switch flipping behavior, as this one was checking and rechecking lamp switches by turning those off and on multiple times, too. The fourth, and for now, the last, was Tom always opened the mail slot exactly four times on the big street mailboxes to make sure any mail he had dropped into it had really cleared the slot and slid to the bottom of the box. It might be interesting someday to have Tom tap on the number four, as several of these behaviors had to be done four times. What’s the significance to the number four?

The saying that “old dogs can’t learn new tricks” is so outdated. Science has now proven that neuroplasticity or neurogenesis is in. Anyone at any age can learn anything. Mentally, age is no longer an excuse for not learning new things, or changing annoying behaviors. 

If you have an OCD-like problem, feel free to phone or e-mail either Valerie Lis or me. We are both listed on the EFTU website under certified practitioners. We would both be delighted to help you tap and teach you this technique that Valerie developed to dismantle OCD-like behaviors. It’s a pretty amazing way to free you up to live a happier, healthier life. 

Tom and OCD Light Switches

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. If you're a newcomer, please download our free Get Started Package, and refer to the EFT Books and EFT workshops for a more complete understanding. You will find our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy here, our Disclaimer here, and our Copyright Notice here. Please refer to a physician for all medical issues.

Tom and OCD Light Switches

Dear readers,


-EFT Universe



This past summer a client, whom I have known for many years, presented to me with a fairly common problem. Tom is male and doesn’t always identify with what emotion he is feeling, but this he did know: he was sick & tired of his wife always yelling at him for forgetting everything! I snickered to myself with this one as how many times I have heard this complaint from all the women I know; however, what presented itself was no giggling matter!

Tom & I have tapped in the past & he has exactly 4 emotions – fear, frustration, anger, & sadness. This time proved to be absolutely no different. Tom lays fear and frustration out on the tapping table, telling me no matter how hard he tries, he always forgets something, then his wife gets angry, yells, & the day gets ruined.

I had Tom tune into that fear & frustrated he told me was in his chest and tap for a minute or 2, allowing his subconscious to bring to his mind the earliest event with this feeling, he could remember.

Sure enough, back to his childhood he went, again. “Dad was always yelling at me about something. I never did anything right, so I would check and recheck everything, like light switches, by turning them off and on about 4 times. Of course, that just made Dad madder and I got yelled at even more, but I had to be sure I wouldn’t burn down the house!” Tom’s fear & frustration was a SUDS of 7, so we began the tapping.

I’m not going to take you all through all the tapping phrases I used because they are the usual Gary Craig EFT Techniques, but what I want to relay to you is something I learned from Valerie Lis, an EFTUniverse instructor.

As Tom & I tapped this session, his fear and frustration dropped as it always does, but I wanted to take this a bit further. I questioned him about the light switch issue. Did he still do that behavior in his adult life? Tom admitted that he always has, but he went further, telling me he had a few other habits that were similar, like double checking doors and stopping the car about 5 miles down the road when leaving on vacation to make sure he had packed one thing or another. This infuriated his wife, too.

To me, this was beginning to sound like an OCD problem – Obsessive Compulsive behavior of sorts. Tom is a very accomplished man & to look at him one would never suspect this behavior, but it obviously was giving his married life some challenges.

I asked Tom if I could try a method I had learned from Valerie on him. He was agreeable to try just about anything! The fear and frustration were reduced to his usual 1, so now he was ready to re-program some neurons!

Valerie teaches to have the client tap on both sides of anything OCD.

I had Tom close his eyes and imagine that he can never, ever again do anything in his life except turn light switches on and off, 24/7/365, no eating, no beer, no vacation, no sleep, nothing except turning those damn switches on and off. “How do you feel about doing that?” I asked Tom. Tom’s anger & frustration was way off the chart, probably above a 10 SUDS.

So, we tapped down that 10 anger & frustration again to his usual one. Tom is an engineer and he will never, it seems, admit he is at a 0. His one is everyone else’s 0!

I then asked the opposite side of the question. “Tom, you can never, ever again touch a light switch to double check it. You turn it off once and you walk away. How does that make you feel”? His answer was similar to the first question, “frustrated”. This frustration was a 9 SUDS. We tapped the 9 frustration to a 1.

As I think about how this method works using the standard EFT, it appears to me, and maybe Valerie said this, so I will give her credit, that neutralizing both sides of issue by using the “never, ever 24/7” phrases, the client tends to land somewhere right in middle between the 2 odds or extremes. I’ve used exact technique on a couple of occasions and it appears to do just that. The unbalanced, severely tipped behaviors seem to ameliorate themselves back towards something more controlled. In this case, it happened immediately!

Dawson Church asked me to write up this case as part of my EFT-EXP certification.

This case was tapped on July 10, 2012 according to my records. I asked Tom yesterday, February 23, 2013, about the status of his light switches and door checking. He proudly related to me that he never again double checked a thing since the day we tapped his forgetting things! Isn’t EFT a glorious thing? To God be the glory!

Sherrie Rice Smith, R.N., B.A., EFT-EXP

Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner

Matrix Reimprinting Coach

Best Stress Busting Technique on Earth

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Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to get our Free EFT Get Started Package or our EFT Books and EFT Trainings for a more complete understanding. For more, read our EFT Info and Disclaimer Document.

EFT Resolves 2 OCD Symptoms in a 4-Year-Old Boy

Dear EFT Community,

The techniques used in the two sessions described here by Dale Teplitz combine experience and knowledge of EFT with creativity. They help illustrate the importance of following one’s intuition while improvising spontaneously in order to address underlying disruptions that lead to negative emotions. Note that though the sessions may seem unorthodox because Dale never talked about the OCD symptoms with the client, they still contain the most important components of EFT, including tuning into the problem, using specific events, identifying separate aspects, and testing the work. 

-David MacKay

By Dale Paula Teplitz, M.A. EFT Universe Expert and Trainer

Joey is a beautiful four-year-old boy who arrived at my office with his mother.  His behavior and speech development were more like those of a reserved two-year-old. Almost immediately after they arrived, Joey was fixated on finding the bathroom so he could wash his hands. His mother reported that since Joey was old enough to reach the sink, beginning about two years ago, he has been compulsively washing his hands up to 100 times per day. He was on medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) prescribed by a psychiatrist.

During the past two years, whenever his mother tried to change Joey’s behavior, he became more anxious and angry, resulting in tantrums of screaming and falling on the floor. It was the mother’s fear that if this compulsion could not be calmed, Joey would have to take even stronger medication and possibly be institutionalized.

The mother reported that Joey’s father does not live with them, and his presence in Joey’s life is random and unpredictable. The mother is very angry at the father for his irresponsible behaviors, including drug use, and doesn’t hide her feelings from the child. My guess was that Joey was feeling abandoned and betrayed.

Though he wanted to run away to wash his hands during the first part of the session, we were able to get Joey feeling safe and comfortable by having his mom cradle him on her lap while I gently spoke to him and tapped on his face, torso, and hand points.

He became so relaxed from the tapping that he became almost limp in his mother’s arms and started to repeat my setup phrases without prompting:

Even though I am sad, Mommy really loves me.

Even though I get angry sometimes, I am a really good boy.

Even though I don’t know where Daddy is, I know he misses me too.

I did several rounds of tapping for each setup phrase, using portions of the phrase itself while tapping each of the points, rather than switching to a more abbreviated reminder phrase. 

At no time did we ever discuss the hand-washing. During the hour-long session, Joey only went to the bathroom once and then settled quickly back into the tapping routine.

The following day the mother called to happily report that she couldn’t even get Joey to wash his hands! We agreed that was great progress and she wouldn’t push him to do so.

However, she noticed that he still had a tantrum when other children tried to touch his toys at pre-school.  Once handled by others, he felt they were dirty and needed to be thrown away or washed repeatedly.

Several days later they came in for a second session.

In that session I allowed Joey to lie on the floor and color in a coloring book with crayons. I lay down across from him and began to color on the same pages with him.  As he began to show frustration with having to share the book and crayons with me, I tapped on him while he colored. We did not use any setup or reminder phrases but rather just talked about the pictures we were coloring.

Once he was comfortable with the sharing, I began to “steal” crayons he was using from out of his hand and rub them around in my hands, all the while tapping on him, once again, without any setup or reminder phrases, as I knew he was already tuned into the problem. 

As in the previous session for the hand-washing problem, we never discussed the issue itself. This time, we chatted about the pictures we were coloring as a distraction from the tapping. I was trying to bring up negative feelings for him to focus on without crossing the line that might trigger a tantrum.  Joey gradually got comfortable with sharing and reached the point where he didn’t mind picking up the same crayon I had just put down, if it was a color he wanted to use.

Several weeks later, Joey’s mother reported that there were no more tantrums at school during the following days, nor had the hand-washing compulsion returned.

It’s easy to imagine how Joey’s life would have progressed if he had not released his energy blocks with EFT. The odds are that his behavior would have continued to deteriorate until he was drugged into submission and/or taken away from the person who loved him most. Of course, prescription drugs and life in an institution would not have cured Joey, and he would have faced an uncertain future.

As the founder of EFT often pointed out, if the client’s attention is focused on a specific problem, it isn’t necessary to describe the problem in standard setup phrases – or for that matter, any setup phrases. Just tapping on the EFT points while focusing in on the problem can be a fast and effective, and in this case, appropriate use of EFT.

Tapping with a Developmentally Disabled Adult

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. If you're a newcomer, please download our free Get Started Package, and refer to the EFT Books and EFT workshops for a more complete understanding. You will find our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy here, our Disclaimer here, and our Copyright Notice here. Please refer to a physician for all medical issues.

Tapping with a Developmentally Disabled Adult

Dear Readers,

Helen McConnell, EFT INT-1 Practitioner, writes with a touching and in-depth account of the multiple successes she has achieved using EFT with a developmentally disabled client.

-Will M.

 By Helen McConnell, EFT INT-1

I love being an EFT Practitioner. It has allowed me to work with some really amazing people, and see them in a way I might never have been able to otherwise.

One of my clients is a developmentally disabled adult named Alan (not his real name). Alan is 58 years old. His sister is a client of mine, and she decided to ask Alan if he’d like to “tap.” Alan agreed, and he consented to have his sister sit in on our session. I had no idea what to expect, but as always, I assumed that if the Universe brings a client to me, I must be ready to practice EFT with them.

Alan was a little anxious at first. He said he could feel it in his arm. So we decided to call it his “anxious arm,” and he could tell me whenever he felt it. I taught him how to tap, and his “anxious arm” quickly eased. As with all my clients, I listen very carefully to what they say. With Alan, I had to listen especially closely, to be sure I understood all his words. He and his sister had created a short list of items, before the session, that they thought he might want to tap on. They had given me the list, and I gently approached the first item. As we tapped, Alan seemed to know what I was going to say - he sort of hummed the words right along with me, rather than repeating. After each round, I checked in with him, to see how his anxious arm was doing. It never bothered him again that whole session.

During that hour, we tapped on a current issue, around a person at his group home. I was surprised at how quickly Alan’s intensity went down and he was ready to move on. To test, I simply asked him some questions about the very thing we had tapped on, and asked if his anxious arm was bothering him, or if he felt anything else in his body.

We then went to an issue from his childhood, where their mother had gotten so mad at him for something he didn’t do, and had yelled at him in front of all his siblings, and no one stood up for him. Their childhood had been unpleasant, being raised by two alcoholic parents. I don’t think anyone had ever asked Alan, before our session, how he felt about these events. I believe that alone was very healing for him, and the tapping seemed very effective.

The next day, Alan’s sister contacted me by email to say that Alan was very happy - she had never seen him so happy. A week later, she emailed to say he was ready to tap again. She wrote “You are the best thing that has ever happened to Alan.” Me and EFT!

We have since had three sessions, each time carefully addressing issues from present and past that are important to Alan. We have covered anger, frustration, sadness, being told to “shut up” his whole life, being misunderstood, dealing with people he doesn’t like, and many other issues. Alan showed me a place on the back of his hands - right above his knuckles - that he likes to tap. Today, we were wrapping up our session, and I asked him if he had any discomfort anywhere in his body. He did a full self-scan. Nothing to report. He looked at his sister and she said “Oh my god, it’s gone! I just noticed that you [Alan] don’t roll your eyes back into your head anymore!” She couldn’t remember when it stopped, but it had been several weeks. She had always thought the eye-rolling was due to his disability. It had made her uncomfortable because it made other people uncomfortable, as it resembled a pre-seizure eye-roll. Somehow, we had tapped on the emotional aspect that was at its root, and cleared the physical manifestation. Alan’s sister reports the he has also kept his room at the group home clean for several weeks - something that had never happened before. Alan is much calmer than he was at our first session. He seems more sure of himself, and happier.

Helen McConnell is an EFT INT-1 Practitioner in Portland, Oregon

Purpose Coach/EFT Practitioner                

Know who you are, be who you are – in everything you do! 


Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to get our Free EFT Get Started Package or our EFT Books and EFT Trainings for a more complete understanding. For more, read our EFT Info and Disclaimer Document

Hallucinations and Anorexia with Schizophrenia

Dear EFT Community,

Schizophrenia is a very difficult issue to tackle, but we've had several reports of success. Here Sonia Novinsky from Brazil spent nearly a year working with her schizophrenic client on a host of interwoven issues and memories. Please remember that, unless you're a licensed mental health professional, the EFT ethics code does not permit you to work with clients with mental illness unless they are simultaneously and continuously under the care of such a professional.

-Dawson Church

By Sonia Novinsky

Jacqueline came to me about one year ago. She was a beautiful woman, in her forties and had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic with auditory hallucinations, depression and an inability to operate in social environments. Now, after a year, the hallucinations are gone and she is well adapted to society. Along the way many other benefits occurred...including relief from anorexia and the cessation of smoking. Here's the story.

She arrived in a very depressive state, saying to me: "This is my last chance. And all I can pay is 10 dollars per session." It was impossible to refuse her desperate appeal for help. She said...

"For 9 years now, since my daughter was born, I am taking Haldol, Prozac and other medications because Psychiatrists considered me an incurable schizophrenic patient. I've been sleeping most of my daytime during all these years.

After a traumatic event when my daughter was born I fell into a depression. I started listening to Mary's voice (Jesus's mother) -diagnosed by her former psychiatrist as an auditory hallucination-

and I had some inappropriate behaviors, including a kind of anorexia, with hospitalization. I heard about your work with Energy and I want to try it. I believe that this could help me to get rid of medication and my disease. The only reason I don't kill myself today is because my religion forbids me to do it."

My first thought was: should I do EFT for a psychotic client? But the despair I saw in her eyes touched me and I decided to try. She said she would do anything to be free from Haldol. In fact, she threw away her drugs and cut off communications with her psychiatrist. She refused to take drugs because of the negative effects on her and made it a requirement that I work with her on that condition.

At the first moment she told me that she had a supportive husband and parents, and also wonderful children and that made her feel more guilty for being a mentally ill person. She complained of smoking too much, of having difficulties to rest and sleep. She said she was also 30 kg more than her ideal weight, partly because of the antipsychotic medication. During the last 9 years she was afraid to drive a car, which was normal to her before her crisis.

The last psychiatrist she saw was very oppressive, telling her she had an incurable mental illness and was obliged to take Haldol for the rest of her life. When she arrived at my office she was very angry with all psychiatrists and therapists who took care of her during all these years. They gave her no hope: just labels and drugs.

Before investigating core issues, I worked for some weeks on our rapport, trying to help her on her self esteem and trying to develop some trust in our connection. She was very upset with the kind of relationship she had with her psychiatrists and therapists. A hierarchy was always present, and she was the inferior part of it, all the time. Her objections about the treatment were never validated by them.

I agreed to try to work with her without medication (her choice) only if we could see each other almost everyday and talk on the phone whenever necessary. She agreed to tap with me on the phone whenever I asked her.

In this case it is very important to stress how strong was her intention to get rid of any medication because they condemned her to be out of a normal life.

In this case, besides EFT, praying was used almost everyday. She bought "A Course in Miracles" and did her lessons everyday. The first result, from the combination these items, was that hallucinations started fading down and disappeared completely.

I will make a summary of the main topics we worked with EFT. We did EFT hundreds of times. I learned a lot with Gary, so I do a free talk while tapping, in a way that I can't reproduce here, introducing humor and installing new meanings and possibilities. She was entirely open to work with EFT.

We started working with the most apparent sensation she was having at the moment she arrived. In my experience you can start with this state, even if it is not a core issue. When this layer is reached, even if you don't clear it completely, it gives room for the traumatic memories to show up. Meanwhile you get the basic trust needed to work deeply. Defenses hold back slowly while the person calms down. At the same time inner positive resources become more available for working with more delicate issues. So we started working on her self image and self esteem, while tapping:

Even though I was shocked by the label of "incurable schizophrenic" Dr. X put on me, at his office, that makes me feel completely hopeless, I am not this label, I am more than what people think about me and I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

While we were tapping I installed some reframing about how I was one with her, no hierarchy between us, how we were together and no label separating us.

The result was important for the rest of the treatment: she trusted that she was not alone and that I was assuming a strong, deep, and personal commitment with her. Differently from other professionals she had seen before, I was not just using a technique or medications or my professional skills. Sometimes when there is a lack of this commitment, then technique, titles or medications become tools that are responsible for the client's feelings of isolation, inferiority and separation. When this happens, these tools become inefficient.

She disclosed that when her daughter was born she was very upset with some events and we tapped on them. The worst one (which launched her first psychotic episode) was her husband's imposition that his mother should be the godmother of her daughter. Since they started dating, his mother and his sisters disapproved of Jacqueline and were mean to her. Jacqueline's husband, Leo, didn't allow any choice to Jacqueline. He almost begged for this, crying and screaming. When Jacqueline went to see her mother in law to invite her, her reaction was very negative. She said: "I accept to be the godmother but I will not receive your family in my house." This was a traumatic event for Jacqueline.

She felt very unhappy, with no way out, and thus she had her first psychotic attack. She undressed completely at a soccer stadium full of people.

We tapped for this event, and many aspects showed up. We tapped for the shame and guilt of not having control of her behavior. While she was narrating the event I tapped on her. This is my preferred way of tapping specific events. This one was a very traumatic event but finally her husband agreed on her demand that his mother would not do the baptism of their daughter.

Thus she was victorious in some way, but she paid a high price for this "victory": from this day on she carried the label of a sick person. After two months her mother in law died suddenly and that gave Jacqueline the illusion of having a mean power inside her, and that made her still more guilty. In some way Jacqueline felt she had no control over herself but from another point of view she was afraid of having some extraordinary power.

While doing EFT....

Even though I lost control about my behavior that day in the stadium and I am ashamed about it, I completely forgive myself. This was they way I found at that time to validate my protest against my mother in law and my husband demands.

Even though I did what I did at the stadium and she died two months later, it is only a belief that I can control someone else's time to die. This is God's power, not mine so I can be free of any responsibility for other people's life or death.

Jacqueline wanted to drive a car again. She felt ready to try it, after clearing her psychotic attack and its consequences. So we tapped for the fear of driving, first at my office, then in her car.

Even if I have fear of driving a car because I went out of control that day at the stadium, and my mother in law died just after it, and my husband said that I was not trustable anymore, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Some aspects of her fear were: fear of losing control, fear of hitting the car, fear of hitting some one on the streets, fear of hurting her children if she hits the car, fear of killing someone.

We made a test. We went inside her car and tapped in the car for any aspect, like "heart jumping too fast", "I am not able to drive anymore", etc With me at her side, in the car, she drove the car by herself. After a couple of minutes she was very calm, driving the car. Since that day she is driving the car with no problem, with her children. Sco Paulo (my home) has very dangerous and wild traffic. Many normal people don't drive cars here. But she does it now.

Schizophrenia is caused sometimes by double messages received mainly during childhood. Since her birth we could find many situations where double messages were received. Clearing all these double messages along Jacqueline's life, since her birth until now, it was essential to allow her to see everything in a different way and to create a more integrated identity.

Jacqueline was the first child. Her father (Italian origin) wanted only a male child. When Jacqueline was born her mother felt in some way not comfortable with the fact that she couldn't give her husband a boy. At the beginning of her life Jacqueline felt no holding, no sensation of being desired. Eleven months after her birth her mother gave birth to a boy who received all the attention of the parents. Jacqueline was most of the time with a single aunt that had a strong passion for a catholic priest at that time.

We tapped for all events and sensations Jacqueline could remember that were related to this belief of not being wanted, of not deserving love, of being guilty for not being the boy her parents were waiting for. The strategy Jacqueline found was trying to persuade her father that she was good enough like a boy would be, and to do so she became too close to him and that made her mother very jealous and ambivalent towards her.

Even though I felt the cold eyes of my cold and felt alone in my little bed, feeling I didn't deserve love for not being a boy,....

Even if I still feel guilty for not filling my parents expectations, when they said to me how important it was for them to have a boy as their first child...

Even if I felt an ambivalence in my mother's way of looking at me because she wanted a boy instead of me and she was jealous of my love for my father...

Investigating it more, I discovered that when Jacqueline had her crisis, after the birth of her daughter, she was feeling guilty and not deserving to have two healthy children, a boy and a girl. This was connected with a specific and important event that we addressed in each detail.

When she was 18 years old she was dating her future husband and she got pregnant. As she was very religious and she wanted to become a mother she didn't want to make an abortion. But her husband, Leo, said that he would stay with her only if she made the abortion.

She postponed it as much as she could. She felt under a big pressure. She didn't want to lose Leo and didn't want to lose her child. She talked with her parents and they agreed with the abortion. So she did it. It was a very traumatic event for her. She felt guilty for the abortion, felt enraged with Leo, who didn't go with her to the clinic, and felt very uncomfortable with her father. After the abortion he was very critical to her. Their parents were supportive on one side, but on the other they were very severe and full of deception.

We tapped for each aspect of this event: the blood she saw, the place where she laid down, the light of the room, the questions the doctor asked her, the ambivalent sight of her mother, the feeling of abandonment because Leo was not there, the guilt of killing a 4 months old fetus.

We discovered that her anorexia was connected with the blood she saw at the abortion.

Even if the medication had controlled the anorexia, it was a good release to understand and clear this event and the compulsion that it triggered. From that day she started feeding herself on a more balanced way and started losing the extra weight she had at the beginning of the treatment.

She cried a lot when we were tapping for this event. Anger at herself, anger at Leo, anger at her parents that could have said to her: "You may have the child and we will help you", anger at her father, who called Leo to drink a whisky to calm down, sensation of having committed a murder, etc

After some sessions working on this issue we tapped for forgiveness, reframing that she was not alone on what she had done, she was just a girl in love with Leo and in some way she did the abortion to save her relationship with him.

Sometimes Jacqueline called me during the evening, crying, hopeless, feeling that something was wrong with her, feeling that her husband didn't love her, although he always said the opposite. She never had an abreaction, we just tapped on the phone and she calmed down.

We could see at that moment how the mother in law event triggered the abortion trauma, guilt and anger. When her husband made this second imposition to her: "My mother will baptise my daughter", she fell apart and collapsed. Since that day she started hallucinating and having inappropriate behaviors. One manifestation of this behavior was a passion for a catholic priest (like her dear aunt in the past), who held her in a compassioned way at the church.

In my point of view, the main issue for Jacqueline was not being held since the beginning of her life, and this fact was repeated many times, maybe because the writings on her walls were like these: "I don't worth to be loved, I don't deserve to be hold, there is something wrong with me, I should be different to be accepted, I am inappropriate, I have some strange powers that can harm people, etc"

I was suspecting, from some facts Jacqueline told me about, that her husband was also sending double messages to her. On one side he said he loved her, on the other side he was indifferent, quiet, isolated, absent.

I worked with the couple for three sessions and my impression was confirmed. Leo was very polite but was always concerned with Jacqueline in a very distant and professional way, asking me if she shouldn't start with the medication again.

During the year we worked together Jacqueline had some more depressive moments. Sometimes she was very accelerated, talking and talking, reading the Bible compulsively, going to the church and speaking in a non-spontaneous and hearty way. I supported her not taking the medication in all these moments.

Beyond EFT we did some yoga therapy, grounding and breathing exercises to calm her and connected with the here and now, feeling her body sensations and trusting them. Being touched by me in a very tender way very important for her to feel grounded and accepted, bringing hope back to her life. These procedures were enough to stop any process of losing control or wish to die.

What was interesting is that when we cleared all aspects of the guilt of the abortion, including the guilt of having healthy children and the guilt of being alive (she used to talk of suicide as a self punishment), on the same week her anxiety stopped and her voice became more calm and she stopped smoking.

As she was more awake and present to her family she started trying to be closer to her husband but he was always very distant, even repeating mechanically that he loved her.

We tapped: "Even though I feel like I am crazy with the double messages he sent to me yesterday, and maybe since I was 18 years old, I hold myself, I deeply accept myself, and I choose not to believe that I am crazy. Maybe there is something wrong with him.."

She asked him to go to therapy but he didn't go.

After some time, as she was more centered and not feeling crazy, she started realizing how strange was her husband's behavior. It was not difficult for her to find out that he was having an affair. Coldly, he agreed and told her he didn't love her anymore.

Now they are in a divorce process. As a catholic this is very complicated to her. But she has the serenity to face this fate. She brought her children to therapy, she went to a lawyer and asked for the rights of her children. Leo came to me and confessed that since she was 18 he didn't love her. He only married her because she made the abortion and he felt committed with her and grateful to her. So maybe he has been sending double messages for twenty years.

Jacqueline became very angry with him and with herself. We are now tapping for her to accept reality as it showed up and finally be free of these double messages that made her schizophrenic for 20 years. The good part of it is the two wonderful children who are really special and are doing the best they can to facilitate this difficult moment for Jacqueline and Leo.

We have more work to do. The important thing is that Jacqueline is working again in her profession. She could finally see that her husband was away for many years, although physically present.

I think the most important piece of this therapy was the possibility she opened for me to have a deep rapport with her, while tapping. She started believing that she was a person, not a sickness, and as far as this occurred, her own family started to legitimate her like a mother, a professional and a complete human being. She felt self confidence to re-start her professional life again. For 10 years her family and Leo's family considered Leo like the best husband, almost an angel, and Jacqueline was the crazy one, the problem.

The whole system around her changed when she changed. The truth showed up and she could see how she felt crazy also because her husband was sending double messages since a long time, maybe during all their marriage.

She is now living alone with her children. Leo left the house, and Jacqueline is very grounded, determined, not even feeling a victim. She said to me, "It's time to turn the page: the page of my marriage, of my labels, of my poor self esteem. I am ready to take care of me and my children, and all I want is Leo to be happy, as far from me as possible."

Some months ago she gave me a long written testimony ( in Portuguese), about her issues and her treatment, confirming some results I wrote above. Her intention was to help other people who could profit from her experience. One of these last days she completed the testimony verbally. I quote this her words :

"For the first time in my life I feel peace in my heart. I have difficulties with my son and with my husband but they don't disturb my peace. I want to live like a normal woman and like a helper, for this I am praying and serving as a volunteer in a hospital.

For the first time people trust me again. I was elected for the directory board of my club, and possibly I will be a candidate for a public position in the near future. I am free from the obsession toward the priest, I know it because I went to see him in the church and could see him only like the priest he is. I don't need smoking nor the voices I used to listen to. I can remember the abortion without guilt. I couldn't have a child for myself at that moment. I feel free from the double messages my husband used to send to me all the time, saying he loved me but excluding me from his life and problems and pleasures. I feel ready to take care of myself, and to take care of my children. I am living each day, not anticipating the worse like I used to. The pressure I felt in my heart is gone. I think I tried to protecte my husband by accepting the double message without any protest, putting the guilt on myself. I feel healthy as anyone in this life even if I need therapy for some more time."

I wrote in the computer while she was speaking. Her voice was soft. During her worse days her voice was too acute and full of irony and arrogance. This day her eyes were tender, her voice was tender, her posture was elegant, her energy was kind and balanced.

Concluding I think that what was decisive was EFT plus the holding she felt because I could accept, without any judgment, her passion and fantasies toward the priest, her wish to die, and her fear of getting crazy, and her deep pain, out of any category or classification that could separate us.

Sonia Novinsky

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