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EFT for Grief: Tapping for Blessings

Dear EFT Community,

EFT practitioner Marissa Bianca shares how she helped a client through grief over her mother’s death and tap her way to acceptance of life’s blessings. Visit Marissa’s website

Stephanie M.

By Marissa Bianca

A client I worked with this spring for clearing a sweets craving gave me a call to set up an appointment. She was unsure what was wrong exactly. She described feeling exhausted and drained. She felt as though she was searching for something that was missing. Some of her aches and pains were coming back and she blamed the weather.

I asked her if the month of August reminded her of anything. She said the weather reminded her of the time her mother passed away. Her mother was sick in August and passed away in early September. The entire time was very exhausting and fear filled.

When she came in for her appointment the next day, she again described the feeling that something was missing. She said she missed her mother terribly and felt the loss of her every day. I asked her, "If you could wish anything for your mother, what would it be?" The words came to her quickly and effortlessly, "Divine blessings, well cared for, and happiness."

I then asked her to imagine this beautiful vision for herself. "What is stopping you from receiving divine blessings, happiness, and being well cared for?" Once again her answer came quickly and effortlessly, she told me that she used to meditate every morning and evening. She has been unable to carve out the time since her mother died. It was the one thing she did to center herself and relax but now felt that nothing could comfort her like her mother's physical presence.

We began our session tapping on the loss of her mother, missing her mother, and not accepting her mother's passing. After a few rounds of tapping, she stated, "Nothing can replace the comfort of my mother's physical presence."

We then tapped on “I can't be comforted and I can't comfort my mother.” This brought up the memory of her grandmother's death when she was only 5 years old. We tapped on her recollection of no one telling her what was happening, going to the funeral and seeing her grandmother's body, watching her mother cry and feeling like she could not help her, looking for her grandmother in the sky, and being unable to accept that she was gone.

When I asked her how she felt now about not accepting her mother's death and the idea that nothing could comfort her, she stated, "I suppose I have to accept it because it happened, but I don't know that I really accept it." We tapped on other things she didn't accept to see what came up.

We tapped on “I can't accept my sister's meanness, my husband's work schedule, that I’m alone, and my husband's selfishness.” After a few rounds of this she stated, "My mother was my only blessing."

We then tapped on, "Even though my mother is my only diving blessing, I am open to receiving more divine blessings to comfort me." In this round she was able to say, “My dog comforts me, ice cream on a hot day comforts me, my husband is reliable, he walk the dog, he calls me before he leaves work, and my meditation practice.”

I asked her how she felt about starting to meditate again. She said she cared for her mother and had no regrets. Her mother would want her to enjoy life and be happy. She said that as long as she kept thinking of her mother as the only blessing in her life, the searching for something missing feeling would always be there. She left our appointment ready and open for all of life's blessings.

Death of a Parent and Divorce Processed with 9 Gamut

Dear EFT Community,

This story is excerpted from The Clinical EFT Handbook. It's a good example of when to use the 9 Gamut technique, and describes how as a practitioner it's vital to pay close attention to a client's eye movements.

 -Dawson Church

I have found that when administering the 9 Gamut as a practitioner, it is extremely important to observe the client's eye rotation. Clients can persistently jump over some portion of the visual field. For instance, I worked with a client with a close relationship with her father and a distant relationship with her mother. Her father had died recently, and her core belief, compounded by a recent divorce was "I'm all alone." The strength of her cognition around this belief was a 10. Though she had begun the session presenting with a minor issue having to do with a co-worker, her more fundamental layers of grief began to surface involuntarily.

When doing the 9 Gamut, this particular client's eyes persistently skipped over the lower right hand quadrant of her peripheral vision. She was also crying uncontrollably and unable to tap or follow directions as she began to feel her grief deeply in the safe environment of the EFT session. Complicating matters, we only had 15 minutes in which to complete the session, which is why I emphasized the 9 Gamut in this case.

Observing her inability to view one quadrant, I used my hand to guide her. I asked her to follow my hand with her eyes while I slowly described a large circle with my fingertips. She still skipped over the same quadrant. I slowed down further, and moved my fingers through the part of the arc she had trouble viewing until she was able to complete the entire circle. I had her say, "I'm all alone," periodically as a reminder phrase. I then reversed direction, and spent a minute or two working on only the problematic quadrant, going in both directions. Eventually she exhibited many physiological signs of stress relief, such as sighing, a relaxation of the trapezius muscles in her shoulders, yawning, and deeper breathing. Her SUD numbers dropped slowly and steadily.

Out of time, I tested her level of intensity on the cognition "I'm all alone." She smiled and told me she has a great group of friends, two sisters with whom she's close, and that she feels stronger for having survived divorce.

Some clients are unable to perform the 9 Gamut without such a visual reference from a practitioner's fingertips. Because EFT is primarily a self-help technique in which the power of transformation should rest in the client and not the practitioner, my preference is to encourage the client to perform the 9 Gamut on their own as soon as possible. However, clients typically have difficulty in perceiving when their eyes are skipping over a particular area of their peripheral vision. Even when asked to notice and correct for this, many clients are unable to do so. 

For this reason, clients usually find the 9 Gamut easier when led through the procedure by a practitioner. This can be successful even if the session is being conducted over the phone, as in Case History #3 above. The procedure is not so difficult that a verbal description by a practitioner is insufficient for a geographically distant client to perform it. Distant sessions with visual contact such as those delivered by Skype, Google Plus, or Face Time are easier since the client can follow the practitioner's eye movements, and the practitioner can see whether or not the client is following the procedure.

The old model of memory believed that memory was static, like taking a picture out of a photo album, looking at it, and putting it back in the album unchanged. However, new models of brain function show that when we recall a memory, we might associate the memory with cues from the present. For example, the memory of a rape might be terrifying for a client to remember alone. When told to a sympathetic therapist in a safe setting, elements of the current setting may be incorporated into the emotional content of a memory. This phenomenon, called memory reconsolidation, is well-understood.

I believe that subsequent research will show that something similar is happening when clients perform the 9 Gamut procedure. Research tools such as fMRI and magnetoencephalograph, which show with areas of the brain are active during recall of a memory, show activation of the fear centers of the midbrain during the recollection of a traumatic event. It's likely that these areas will show a reduction or even complete extinction of these neurological patterns after the 9 Gamut.

For these many clinical reasons, backed by the emerging science linking eye movements to memory reconsolidation, the 9 Gamut is an essential part of every Clinical EFT practitioner's toolkit.

Relieving Old Grief

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.

Relieving Old Grief

Dear Readers,

Sherrie Rice Smith, EFT INT-1 Practitioner and frequent submitter to the newsletter, writes in with an in-depth session that helped an out-of-state relative resolve deep grief over an abortion she had at a young age, as well as other issues.

-Will M.

By Sherrie Rice Smith, R.N., B.A., EFT-INT

Recently, I had an EFT session request from an out of state relative with whom I’ve had a few email/phone exchanges about the subject.  Annette had downloaded the mini-manual & tapping sheet & she had done a bit of tapping on her own on a few personal issues, such as a headache & anxiety, with good success. What she wanted to discuss was something bigger than she figured she could handle on her own.

We made a noon appointment to do EFT over the phone.  When she answered the phone, I made sure she had the tapping sheet available, along with a glass of water. I had texted her earlier in the morning to remind her to find the tapping paper.  Once again, I made sure Annette understood that I would tell her where I wanted her to tap and how she needed to repeat what I said. I also told her that if she didn’t feel connected to my words, that she should change them in any manner she felt appropriate, as this was her session, not mine. I was simply guiding her.

A word of explanation to the tapping community here – I’m a Christian EFT coach, which means that if I have a Christian client, I will pray with the client before we begin a session, asking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  I will also use Christian-based  tapping phrases. I have used this in multiple cases and it works just as well, if not better, than the standard EFT phrases. My clients connect with these phrases better, as do I.

Annette indicated to me that she had a fairly high anxiety & stress level, pre-anticipatory grief over the soon to happen death of her father, who is quite ill.  Her SUDS was a 7, on a scale of 0 - 10.

The set-up:

Even though I have all this stress because I know Dad is going to die soon, I know God loves me.

Even though my anxiety level is through the roof, I know Jesus loves me.

Even though I’m already worrying about how I’m going to handle all the hassles of the estate with my brothers and sisters after Dad passes, I know God loves me very much.

TH: I can’t stand all this stress about Dad.
EB:  I’m nearly beside myself worrying about all the stuff I will have to handle.
SE:  I know the other kids are going to give me all kinds of grief about the house.
BE:  I can’t live here forever; the house is too big.
UL:  I won’t have anywhere to go when Dad dies.
CH:  I can’t imagine I will be able to handle all this.
CB:  All this work that is going to fall on me when Dad dies, so I try to keep him alive as long as possible.
UA:  Dad’s dying and I can deal with that, as he is old, it’s all the after stuff that is so hard to think about.

We did a couple rounds of tapping around these issues with Annette changing a few words here & there to match what she was feeling. At this point I stopped her & had her drink some water, deep breathe, and tell me where she was with her SUDS & what she was now thinking.

SUDS had come down to a 3 or 4, but a new aspect had arisen.  “I talked to Jimmy about this, but I think I deserve all this hassle & I shouldn’t be complaining at all about it because I had that abortion in high school.” Annette went on and on for a good 15 minutes about this issue, so I let her talk, as I had time, but I told her to keep tapping while she “ranted”.  By this time her SUDS went back up to a 6.

We tapped:
TH:  I deserve all this hassle.
EB:  It’s all my own fault that I have to deal with this.
SE:   I know God has forgiven me, but I still feel guilty.
UE:  When I don’t feel guilty, I feel guilty because I don’t feel guilty, and I think I should be feeling guilty.
UL:  I worry about what other people are thinking. They think I should have more remorse than I’m showing.
CH:  How can I face that child in heaven? I killed that baby.
CB:   I deserve what I get taking care of Dad. I caused it all.
UA:  This is my punishment for what I did. Someone has to make up for killing that baby.

We stopped after 2 rounds, reevaluated, drank some water, and tested. The SUDS was down to a 2.  

Annette brought out another aspect that popped up. “I have no self control with food. I have all these weight issues which are punishment, too, for what I did”.  Hesitantly, she went on about lack of interest in sexual matters and my body is “tired and not holding up well”. She was frustrated with herself, “doctors, insurance, and hospitals”.  She discussed for a short time the Catholic Church teachings on sexuality now that the subject was opened up.

Her SUDS went back up to a 10. No setup done again. We went right back to tapping.

TH:  I’m disgusted with myself.
EB:  I have no self-control. I just keep stuffing food in my mouth.
SE:  I’ve gained all this weight & I can’t keep up in life.
UE:  I’ve lost all interest in sex and Jimmy just keeps going.
UL:  I’m just so tired keeping up with Dad and the kids.
CH:  I’m frustrated with myself that I can’t seem to be able to do this job.
CB:  I’m tired of all the doctors, insurance and hospitals. They wear me out, too.
UA:  I’m so very disgusted with myself, but I know God still loves me.

After 3 rounds with the above reminder phrases, we again stopped to check where she was.  Some deep breaths, a drink of water, and a short break told me she was still at a 7.

Because this was a phone session and I was listening extremely intently to any changes in her voice, I knew she was starting to break down, as her voice was cracking. I knew she was near to tears. Asking how she was, Annette told me this all brought back an incident from when she was aged 12.  I had at one of the previous breaks quickly explained to her that EFT was particularly effective, if one could link the present emotion to a childhood event.  Annette had just come up with a childhood event.

I told her to keep tapping while she told me this story:
While playing around an old building with some friends, playing hide & seek, a man ran up to her and grabbed her across the chest on “my boobs”, then ran off.  None of her friends witnessed it, but she told them about it when they returned. Her girlfriends asked why she hadn’t screamed.  “I tried, but nothing came out”, was her answer. Of course, none of them believed her, so one of her friends asked, “Did you enjoy it?” Her answer was an emphatic “no”, but she had realized she had a bit of sexual arousal around the event, so in set the guilt & conflict over not being able to scream and the “nice” feelings. “I was a coward for not standing up for myself. I was too weak to scream. I was too weak to say no to the abortion. I was too scared to make a decision about anything. And now I can’t make any decisions about much of anything either,” all came streaming out without a break.  

I quickly asked for a SUDS which I suspected was pretty high because the tears were really beginning to flow.  Again, no set-up, as she was definitely in the moment & her SUDS was an 8 & she was in tune with her intense feelings. I asked if she had Kleenex. She did.  I could hear her blowing her nose…a lot!

TH:  I’m a coward.
EB:  I don’t know how to stand up for myself.
SE:  I was too weak to say no to the abortion.
UE:  I’m too scared to make any decisions about anything.
UL:  I tried to scream. Nothing came out.
CH:  I’m such a coward.
CB:  I’m weak.
UA:  I don’t know how to stand up for myself.

Crying had slowed a bit, so I continued.

TH:  I was alone when that man came.
EB:  I told my girlfriends what had happened.
SE:  They asked why I didn’t scream.
UE:  I did scream, but nothing came out of my mouth
UL:  He grabbed my boobs.
CH:  I was so surprised and embarrassed.
CB:  Did you enjoy it?
UA:  Did you enjoy it?

Crying began again, so I continued. I knew I was hitting a really sore spot with Annette and I wanted to disarm it quickly and thoroughly.

TH:  Did you enjoy it?
EB:  I couldn’t scream.
SE:  He grabbed my boobs.
UE:  Did you enjoy it?
UL:  No one believed me. He ran off.
CH:  I feel guilty because it aroused me.
CB:  I feel that guilt, but I know God has forgiven me.
UA:  God forgave me, as I was only 12 and it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for it.

Crying slowed again, but I did another round on the hand points on the last 4 phrases as above to make sure the issue was gone.

We reevaluated again, along with getting another glass of water for both of us, and taking some deep breaths. Annette said she felt much better and had a SUDS of 2.

Another aspect change showed up, as Annette’s voice softened and I knew she was thinking about something else now.

“That progression of growing up with so much immorality.  All that feminity.  I allowed guys to walk all over me. I was so promiscuous. I never told Jimmy too much of it because I feared it would damage our relationship.  He didn’t want to know he said. I was taught right and wrong.  I feel so guilty. I remember feeling like trash. I was always heavy and bigger than my older sisters, but everyone told me I wasn’t heavy, I was just big boned. I was told I looked like Dad, and Dad always had weight issues until recently, so I figured I would be fat, too”.  “What am I going to say to that baby when we meet in heaven?” I assured her that the baby is in heaven and I suspect the baby will run to her, wrapping her arms around Annette, saying, “Hi, Mom!”.  I asked Annette if she had confessed her sin to Jesus.  “A hundred times, but I still feel so guilty”, she answered.  I had her tapping while she talked.

Usually, I would ask a client where they physically felt all these issues, but Annette had no problems articulating what she was feeling, nor did she have any problems getting into the moment of the issues.  She was such an easy client to work with even though this was all being done over the phone!  She was once again beginning to cry. I asked her to give me 2 different SUD levels – one on the “immorality” and another on the weight issue.  Both were 10s.

I decided to do one at a time, rather than confuse the issues.  This would enable me to know where the SUDS level was on 2 different issues, and make sure I disarmed both of them adequately.

We began again without a setup, as she was sniffling quite a bit, with me tapping using her own words:

TH:  All that growing up.
EB:  So much immorality.
SE:  I allowed guys to walk all over me.
UE:  I never told Jimmy much of this.
UL:  I felt like trash.
CH:  I’m ashamed of myself.
CB:  I went to all those clubs and drank like a fish night after night.
UA:  All this guilt over that behavior.

Next round continued as I could hear the crying subsiding, but not completely:

TH:  All this immorality.
EB:  I didn’t feel too feminine, so I let the men walk all over me.
SE:  Those men used me & I let them.
UE:  I knew right from wrong. I was taught better than this.
UL:  I feel so guilty.
CH:  If I tell Jimmy, it might damage my marriage.
CB:  I felt like trash.
UA:  I still feel like trash.

Again, the crying was nearly finished, so I went one more round:

TH:  I feel like trash & I killed that baby, but I know God loves me.
EB:  I feel so ashamed, but I know Jesus died on the Cross for me & this shame.
SE:  I feel so guilty because I killed my baby, but I know Jesus loves me very much.
UE:  I let men use me because I wouldn’t stand up for myself, like I didn’t stand up for myself when I was 12.
UL:  I think I can let myself forgive me because God loves me & forgives me.
CH:  I think I can forgive myself because Jesus forgives me.
CB:  I do forgive myself.
UA:  I do forgive myself because Jesus has forgiven me & has tossed those sins as far as the east is from the west.

Annette was down to a 2 on the sexual immorality guilt & shame and she wanted to leave just a little to remind her of how she had behaved in her younger years & to keep her from never taking for granted all the forgiveness God and other people have given her for these issues. That was her choice and I honored that, as I know that at times that the SUDS of 2 might well drop lower as the calm & peace of the EFT effects set in.

We next tackled the 10 SUDS issue of weight:

TH:  I was bigger than my older sisters by the time I was 8.
EB:  I’m not heavy, I’m big-boned everyone told me.
SE:  I’m so ashamed of my size.
UE:  I look like Dad & he always had weight issues.
UL:  I figured I would always be fat like Dad since I looked like him.
CH:  I was bigger than Sis and that made me feel fat.
CB:  I think I can forgive myself for my weight.
UA:  I know I can forgive myself for my weight.

We did a 2nd round on this with the second round emphasizing the forgiveness part a bit more and this weight issue dropped like a rock to a big fat 0! Pun intended!

Annette was elated on how wonderfully relieved she felt and wanted to leave the session right there. Her following comment emphasis revolved around the Christian aspect of forgiveness and “how much God does love me”, which she says, “I needed to hear, so thank you.”  I gave her instructions to keep tapping daily, but not to neglect her prayers, confessing her sins daily, particularly making sure she went over her day with the kids mentally and tapping away any problems or issues, so they didn’t build up into some larger emotional issue. She is to call me to set up another appointment when she is ready, or email me if she gets stuck, allowing me to help her frame out the wording, etc.  

It was a classic EFT session, Christian style. I checked on her via email the next day and Annette was thrilled because “I feel so calm today and I don’t know why!”  I giggled and told her, it is the EFT.  That’s the way it works!

3/12/12 Another text arrived from Annette thanking me again for taking time to tap with her. “I’ve never had this much peace in my life. Many of my fears and anxieties are gone. I’ve lived with those for years. God is so good. I’m grateful He sent me to you. I’m sorry Bill died, but what a benefit to me that he did. I reconnected with you.”

EFT Session Involving Grief Over Loss of a Pet

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. Please consult physicians on all medical issues.

EFT Session Involving Grief Over Loss of a Pet

Dear EFT Community,

Valerie Burke, EFT INT-1 shares how EFT can be a tool a client who just lost a beloved pet can use as she moves through her grief process over the loss.

-Stephanie M

By Valerie Burke, EFT INT-1

LN was referred to me by a friend/colleague. I had never met her before, and she was unfamiliar with EFT.

However, she had received acupuncture in the past and was familiar with the concept of energy and meridians, in a general way. This single session took place in her home. Rapport was established immediately as LN welcomed me into her living room and introduced me to her two dogs—one a Rottweiler, and the other a huge black Newfoundland. LN immediately expressed her desire for help with her grief over the loss of a third dog (about one month prior), whose name was “Bear,” also a Newfoundland.

I expected the client to ask for help with this issue, since it was what prompted her referral to me for EFT.

However, what I didn’t expect was her complicated psychiatric history, which made addressing this client’s grief much more complicated. Briefly, here are the confounding issues. LN has Bipolar Affective Disorder, diagnosed in 1993, and she’s been treated with lithium since her diagnosis. She believes lithium is very helpful in leveling her moods. She also has a history of abuse as a child, although we didn’t discuss the specifics. She has been in a psychiatric hospital at least once for suicidal ideation, at some point in the distant past.

Several years ago, during a manic episode, she became lost in the woods for several hours in the middle of winter, in a short sleeve shirt and no coat, nearly freezing to death. Following that episode, she was diagnosed with PTSD and was treated by a psychiatrist using EMDR.

However, she continues to experience nightmares related to this traumatic event. On top of all that, she has a neurological problem that her physicians are not sure how to treat. Some have labeled it “psychogenic tremor;” she starts shaking violently when she’s under stress.

However, other physicians disagree and believe the tremor has more of a physiological/neurological etiology. She also has some characteristics of aphasia, evident in her difficulty repeating longer sentences back to me during our session. I had noted even before meeting her (from our phone contact) that her thoughts seemed quite confused and she was unable to give me clear directions to her house.

The most recent events in her life have been very stressful.

Her adult son was in a severe accident a few months ago. He is undergoing a long rehab process and is on intravenous antibiotics for a severe infection. There was a period immediately after the accident where she learned he might not survive his injuries. About one week after the accident, while LN was visiting her son in the hospital, she and her husband returned home to find their two Newfoundlands missing from the yard, having somehow gotten loose.

An 18-day search ensued. After two days, one of the dogs (Goliath) was found, in good condition. But the other dog (Bear) was found dead after being struck by a car.

Thanks to the efforts of the entire town in trying to determine what happened, it was discovered that a deputy was negligent in getting Bear to a veterinarian and in fact just left him there in the ditch to die of his injuries and/or exposure. There is now an investigation into this deputy’s negligence, which adds to the intensity of LN’s anger and grief.

I began by having LN tap while she told the story of how Bear was found, as well as the events surrounding his death and the 18-day roller coaster of searching for him, not knowing whether he was dead or alive. I asked her what the worst part of it was. She reported having recurring disturbing visions of Bear lying helpless and injured along the roadside.

As she related this, she immediately became tearful, with obviously high intensity. I decided to employ tearless trauma technique by having her name a movie of Bear lying in the ditch, without viewing the movie. Her SUDS was a 10, and she remained tearful. She named the movie “Abandonment.”

We tapped through three rounds on “Abandonment.”

Her SUDS came down to about an 8, and she was no longer tearful (although she appeared to be lower than an 8 to me). Since she had not come down much in intensity, I used a setup statement in case she might be reversed.

The statement I used was:

“Even though I have these terrible visions, I completely and deeply accept myself and my feelings.”

She hesitated with the acceptance statement.

So I added to the next two setups,

“…Unless I don’t.”

This seemed to make it easier. We then tapped a round of the full basic recipe, with my hand guiding her eyes in a circle, as she was not able to independently make a steady circle with her eyes. Upon completion, she said she was having other intrusive memories related to other events, including her own experience of getting lost in the woods. I suspect the movie title “Abandonment” itself may have brought up some other aspects or traumas. Her SUDS about the movie title was now around 7.

During that round of tapping, she went in and out of tears, but she was a trooper and kept tapping. Since I felt like she was not moving quickly enough out of this pain, and because my intuition told me there was more attached to “Abandonment” than just Bear’s death, I decided to have her tap just on his name. My thought was to get her focused on only this ONE trauma, without other things the word “abandonment” may trigger.

We did two rounds on “Bear.”

She indeed did seem to relax with that change. At the end of those rounds, she began talking about some other less stressful things (unrelated to the loss of her dog), which I just went with as it seemed to be her way of backing away from this very intense session. After a minute or two, I asked her to tell me what her SUDS was on “Abandonment.” She said it had come down “a lot,” to about a 5. As before, she appeared to me to be lower than a 5.

I think it’s possible her intrusive memories of other traumas may have been muddying that number, as she wasn’t completely able to disentangle herself from prior events, having mentioned them off and on several times. We did another round on “Bear,” and this time, she had a vision come to her from a home video she had of Bear sitting on her husband’s lap on the sofa, looking adorable and content.

She said this is how she wanted to remember him.

I thought this was an important shift—the joyful image, instead of the disturbing image of his suffering.

So we “tapped in” this image for a round. At this point, we were at the end of our allotted time.

I didn’t want to leave her hanging, so I coached her through a round of:

“Even though I know I have some more work to do about Bear, I completely love and accept myself.”

“Even though I know I’m not finished with this, I know I have plenty of time to heal. I completely accept myself and my feelings.”

“Even though there is more work for me to do, I have time, and I am allowing myself that time to heal.”

LN appeared calmer and more relaxed at the end of the session than at the beginning. Even though we never made it past the movie title, I think LN now has a tool she can use as she moves through her grief. There are certainly MANY more aspects to this event, far more than could be addressed in one session. I instructed her to just tap any time she feels the tears coming on, and she doesn’t have to say anything... just tap through it.

I left it open for her to contact me if needed, and offered her another session some time in the future.

LIfelong Guilt over a Childhood Death

Dear EFT Community,

This account of how a childhood death turned into a disabling adult problem moved me deeply when I read it. I was part of the team that read case histories submitted by EFT practitioners meeting their grandparenting requirements, and I was impressed by the skill and sensitivity of our certified practitioners! This memory was the "big one" that the client never dared share, and finally coming to grips with it, with the help of EFT and practitioner Agatha Gelderloos, was a life-changing experience. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her web site.

Dawson Church

By Agatha Gelderloos

I was introduced to Maria (not her real name) through a few friends that were deeply concerned about her. She is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at her small town medical center and studying to become a paramedic. Maria experienced daily fainting spells that could last from a few hours to a full day. Her neurologist diagnosed her with conversion disorder. Conversion disorder is a neurological disorder in which physical symptoms are unconsciously caused by a stressful or traumatic event. Her symptoms caused her to be dismissed from her department, her driver’s license was revoked and she could go no longer on ambulance calls. A friend of hers recommended she give me a call.

During our first conversation it was clear to me that she had never heard of EFT, but she knew of acupuncture and how that worked, so I explained the principles of EFT to her and how trauma is locked in the body. She then proceeded to tell me that she wanted to share something she had only told one person, just recently. I told her that if this was the “BIG ONE” we could tap before she told me her story to take the edge off, but she was adamant to relate the story to me.

She continued to tell me about an incident that happened when she was about four, five years old. She was walking by a river and came upon an older boy that was startled by her sudden appearance. He proceeded to beat her up, choke her and pummel her. Scared, she tried to kick him away from her, which she succeeded in doing, but then he lost his footing and fell into the river. She saw him struggle for a while and then disappear in the water. She also explained to me how she had forgotten and repressed this memory and how the memory got triggered by a similar event; the drowning of a tourist that happened in her home town during the summer. She was there as the EMT to recover the body of this person. After that incident the memories came flooding back and the fainting spells started.

Maria was very determined to use whatever it would take to release this memory and heal it. I explained the movie technique to her and we started to very slowly and deliberately go through the movie as she remembered it:
Session 1:
We worked on every aspect with a charge as it came up after she started to run the movie, starting with:
The shock of the boy pounding on her:
Starting with a SUDs level of 10.

“Even though I can still feel the shock of this boy coming at me and pounding on me….”
“Even though I did mean him no harm and I was just walking by the river….”
“Even though I was so much smaller than he and I had no idea why he was so upset….”

Reminder phrases: (all tapping on the reminder phrases was done for at least three rounds as I could feel that the issues were not resolved after one round. We did continue to tap until I felt a shift in energy)
I was just a little tot.
I was so scared when he came running to me and jumped on me.
He just kept hitting and hitting me.
I did not know what to do.
He was so angry.
I did not know what I had done wrong.
I was so scared.
SUDs levels reduced to 1
Her feeling of the boy trying to choke her:
Started with SUD’s level of 10+

“Even though I felt I would die, he was so angry and his hand was around my throat…”
“Even though I felt so helpless and I was so much smaller, I could not fight him…”
“Even though I still can feel his hand around my throat and the sense that I will choke….”

Reminder phrases:
I could not breathe.
I felt I was going to die.
I felt paralyzed.
I couldn’t breathe
I was so much smaller than he was
I had to do something.
I couldn’t get away from him.

SUDs level reduced to a 2
The boy falling in the river, which was not her intention to do.
Starting with a SUDs level of 10+++

“Even though I heard the splash of the boy falling into the river…”
“Even though I kicked him hard to get him off me…”
“Even though it was not my intention to kick him in the river, but I had to get him away from me…”

Reminder Phrases:
I had to kick him to get him off me
I was so much stronger than I thought.
I kicked him really hard.
I didn’t know I had that kind of strength
I heard him splashing in the water.
I had kicked him in the water.
I could not do anything.
I could not swim, I could not help him.

SUDs level down to a 2
Seeing the struggle of the boy to keep his head above the water.
Suds level 10+++

“Even though I was horrified to see the boy struggle for breath…”
“Even though I felt so helpless that I could not do anything…”
“Even though I felt paralyzed, I can still feel that in my body, the horror and sense of being paralyzed…”

Reminder Phrases:
He couldn’t breathe
I saw his arms popping up trying to swim
I was so scared
He was struggling to keep his head above the water.
I couldn’t help him.
I was paralyzed. I can still feel that in my body.
I was so scared.
I was totally paralyzed. I can still feel it in my body. Total horror.
SUDs level down to 1

The fact that he did not come up after a while.
SUDs level of 10
“Even though I totally panicked when he did not come up after a while...”
“Even though this immense sense of shock came over me….”
“Even though I felt horrified when he did not come up any more….”

Reminder Phrases:
I felt this panic when he did not come up after a while.
I was so shocked..
Maybe I had killed him.
I was terrified.
I was in shock.
He did not come up anymore.
He drowned.
SUDs level down to 1

The guilt she felt about this whole event. “I should have gone for help” the shame and sadness that she was not able to go for help.
SUDs level 7  (this was a current feeling, not a feeling she remembered having at the time)
“Even though I wished I could have ran for help…”
“Even though I feel this deep remorse that I couldn’t go for help…”
“Even though I was so paralyzed and I could not move…”

Reminder Phrases:
I was paralyzed
I couldn’t move.
I wished I could have gone for help.
I was so scared.
Had I just killed someone?
I did not want this to happen.
It did happen.
SUDs level down to 0

Even though not all aspects came down to a zero after several rounds, I was confident that the continuing tapping on all the other aspects would trickle through the remainders. This proved true when I asked her to run the movie in its entirety again. She was able to re-run the movie without any triggers.
I also asked her to tell the story to me again which she could do without any increase in SUDs levels. After she told the story I asked her to say to me:
“I killed that boy”, to test if she still would have a trigger to that statement. She reported that that statement did not feel true to her any longer

Maria reported the next week that she had only one short fainting spell (15 minutes). She seemed very happy with the results.
We talked about what happened after the incident. She reported that she went home and her mom noticed her dress was ripped and she was dirty. She told her mom that she had fallen. She also reported that since that incident she became very withdrawn and turned inward, until she totally forgot about it.
She reported that she remembered it to be very difficult to hold that secret and that she was always afraid that the police would come to pick her up because “she had killed someone”

We started to tap on all the various emotions that she said she experienced as a child: (I continued to do multiple rounds of tapping on these issues until I felt the energy shift)
SUD’s Level 8
“Even though I am a really bad person…”
“Even though the police will probably come one day and pick me up…”
“Even though I felt so scared…, nobody knows about this…”

Reminder phrases:
I killed someone.
I am a really bad person.
Maybe no one has to know.
Maybe the police will pick me up.
I will go to jail.
I killed someone.
I was so small.
SUDs levels down to 0

We started to tap on: “Nobody knew about this and nobody noticed”
SUDs level 7
“Even though nobody knew about this, I wonder how it could be that nobody noticed the tremendous change in me…”
“Even though I was so changed after that incident, nobody noticed, I wonder why…?"
"Even though I was so scared during that time, nobody noticed…”

Reminder phrases:
Nobody noticed.
Nobody saw my anguish
I was all alone with this horrible secret
I couldn’t tell anyone
No one noticed how I changed
I was all alone
I was so sad and scared
SUDs level down to 0

During that second session she accidently said “accident” instead of “incident”
(She had up until now referred to this story as an “Incident”). Initially she responded very surprised as I pointed out her “slip of the tongue’. I asked her how she would respond to her own child if something like that would happen to her child. Her eyes lit up as I saw her shift to looking at it from a different angle.

We reframed and tapped on “the accident”:
SUDs level 7
“Even though it is hard to accept that this was an accident….”
“Even though I was only five years old and the boy so much bigger…”
“Even though I still feel the need to punish myself for this accident…”

Reminder phrases:
It is hard to realize it was an accident.
I have convinced myself it was my fault
I was such a small child then
It was not my intention to hurt the boy
Maybe I have suffered long enough?
Maybe it is time to stop punishing myself?
How would I feel if I could let go of this?
SUDs level dropped to 0

At this point Maria’s faith came into the picture. She was afraid that God would never forgive her (Maria comes from a very fundamental Christian family and she was trying to sort out where she stood individually with this). We explored the depth of her faith and she asked herself some really hard questions such as: “If Jesus died for our sins, would He exclude me because of what happened?”
“If I decide to make up my own mind about God, what does that do to my relationship with my family?”

We tapped on forgiveness and Maria’s doubts about deserving it:
SUDs level 10
“Even though I killed someone and I have sinned…”(Maria’s words)
“Even though God could never forgive me….”
“Even though I am not worthy to be forgiven….”

Reminder phrases:
I wonder if God could ever forgive me.
I wonder if Jesus also died for this
I wonder what this whole experience was for?
I wonder if I deserve to be forgiven as well.
I know God’s love is unlimited.
I wonder if I could accept this incident as an accident and allow God to forgive me.
I know God loves me, and I wonder if He still does love me even after what happened.
SUDs level dropped to 0

Energetically it felt like this was the core issue for her. She had cut herself off from her deepest Truth: that she is love worthy and lovable.

After the second session, as part of her “home work”, I asked her, if she could and would be able to talk about this accident to at least one trusted person that week. The friend she choose to talk to was very supportive of her which was a great relief for her. I gave her this homework to help her create a support system as well as to “normalize” the experience and move beyond the secrecy phase. Later she also started to share the story with her family and received tremendous support from them as well.

After five weeks of intense and deep work, she went back to work and moved on with her life. Her driver’s license was returned to her and she is currently driving the ambulance again. She has been able to see, through tapping and through telling the story to her friends and family, that no one is holding her responsible for this accident. She then, finally, could let go of her heavy self judgment and self criticism and come to a point of acceptance and forgiveness for her little five year old self.  

(Post Script: Some of her friends looked in old newspaper files from the town where this accident happened to see if someone drowned during the time. So far no one has found any evidence of anyone drowning during that time.)

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