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EFT for the Psychological Aspect of Infertilityclinical EFT handbook

Dear EFT Community,

EFT practitioner, naturopath, and clinical hypnotherapist Julie Phillips-Moore, PhD, of Sydney, Australia, shares highly useful information on the emotional components of infertility, including the role of the stress response and the affects of the stress hormone cortisol on reproductive hormones. She explains how EFT is an invaluable tool for overcoming the stress and anxiety associated with infertility and offers two case studies to illustrate its effectiveness. 

-Stephanie M


By Julie Phillips-Moore, PhD 

When one hears the word “infertility,” thoughts often come to mind about physiological problems (e.g. uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome), medical procedures, and IVF (in vitro fertilization).

Little thought, however, is given to the emotional/psychological aspect of this disorder. Fortunately, interest in the mind and its influence on the body is increasing and research in neuroscience has shown that emotions permeate both mind and body and can affect not only our susceptibility to stress, but also many systems of the body including the reproductive system. 

Negative thoughts, beliefs, and unresolved negative feelings (such as guilt or shame after a termination or unresolved grief after a miscarriage) can create extreme emotional conflict that affects every cell of the body and can cause or compound reproductive problems.

The mind perceives these negative thoughts and emotions as a threat and the body’s stress responses are activated. 

One result of chronic stress is the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which causes increased cortisol production in the adrenal cortex. When excess cortisol is released, it can upset the reproductive system in a number of ways, in both men and women. For example, in women: 

Excess cortisol can increase: 

Prolactin secretion, which affects fertility hormone signaling. 

Luteinizing hormone (LH), which has an effect on both ovarian production and oocyte (egg) development and is a factor inherent in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). 

Excess cortisol can decrease: 

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which prevents ovulation. 

Progesterone, which prevents ovulation and could possibly cause a miscarriage. 

Estrogen, which can result in ovulation suppression and a reduction in the thickening of the uterine lining required for the implantation of fertilized eggs. 

Gonadotropic-releasing hormone (GnRH) drive, which is a common cause of anovulation and amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods). 

EFT is an valuable tool for overcoming the stress and anxiety that often accompany infertility. It is especially useful in cases where the patient is constantly reliving the trauma of a miscarriage (in some cases, multiple miscarriages) and/or is avoiding talking about it or actually avoiding (where possible) situations that might cause her to remember the trauma. 

IVF is another aspect of infertility that causes extreme stress and creates negative beliefs and fear in some women.

They often have flashbacks of how invasive the procedure was, how scary it was to self-inject, the horrible effects the drugs had on them and the fear of having to do it all over again. EFT can not only take away the intensity of the memory of their IVF experience, but it can also help them cope better with each stage of the next IVF cycle. 

The following case studies demonstrate the positive effect of EFT on women suffering the trauma of miscarriage and IVF treatment. 

Case 1 

“Melissa” walked into my room looking very pale and downcast. She started to tell me why she had come but couldn’t get past the first syllable of “miscarriage” before she started to sob. I immediately started tapping to take the edge off and, when she was calm, tapped on “This word I can’t say.” Eventually, after a few sequences of tapping, she was able to say the word “miscarriage” without crying. 

We then went on to EFT’s Tell the Story Technique and slowly and gently progressed through the story of her miscarriage and the grief she felt. She returned for her second session delighted by the fact that over the weekend she had met her new neighbor, somehow got to talking about the miscarriage she’d had, and was amazed that she could tell her story calmly and without tears.

I haven’t yet seen her for her third session, but am sure that the tapping has helped reduce her stress level and cleared the way for conception and, hopefully, a successful pregnancy. 

Case 2

“Helen” had had a bad experience with her first attempt at IVF treatment and was very fearful of attempting another. She desperately wanted to have a child but the thought of going through another IVF cycle was too overwhelming for her.

She had repeated disturbing images of self-injecting and the process of egg-collecting and embryo transfer, and desperately tried to avoid thinking about them. When something reminded her of her experience, she said that her heart pounded and that she had difficulty breathing. She also had difficulty sleeping. 

As she was so fearful and “didn’t want to go there,” I used EFT’s Tearless Trauma Technique with her, beginning with the strongest emotion, which had to do with the self-injecting. I asked her to guess what this emotion would be (on a 0–10 scale) if she were to vividly imagine the incident, but I also asked her not to actually imagine it. She said it was a 10. I then asked her to think of a phrase we could tap on and she decided on “This self-injecting fear.” 

We began by tapping on “This self-injecting fear” until the rating came down to a 2. I then asked her to vividly imagine the incident and we tapped on that. She surprisingly came down to a 0 after two rounds.

In the following sessions, we tapped on the remaining fears about the invasive medical procedures of egg-collecting and embryo transfer, plus a few minor ones such as the memories of the clinic and examination room, which had relatively low scores but still had some intensity. 

Two months later, she had her second IVF treatment and, within a month, was pregnant.

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Trying to Get Pregnant? Try EFT

Dear EFT Community,

EFT practitioner Marissa Bianca tells how she helped a client clear her stress and issues around getting pregnant. Visit Marissa’s website at eftwithmarissa.com.

-Stephanie M


By Marissa Bianca

Anyone who has been trying for a baby knows all about being on an emotional roller coaster. Even though you know stress can block your attempts at conception, it is so difficult to switch off the fear, anxiety, and worry.

Studies show that stress may negatively affect the conception rate and that stress reduction may improve it. If you are considering natural alternative support to get you through this overwhelming time, here is an example of how EFT tapping can help with the layers of stress that can pile up.

Shannon and her husband had been trying for a baby for a full year when her sister-in-law announced at a family picnic that she was pregnant. Shannon described hearing the news—her ears were ringing and her whole body was tingling. She felt like the words that were actually said were, “Shannon Can Not Have A Baby!”

She was gripped by fear and jealousy as her mind raced irrationally.

Shannon described living month to month, in a cycle of hope and disappointment. She read an article linking stress and fertility issues and decided to inquire about EFT as a way to get her emotions under control.

Having gone through this same issue myself as an “older” mother, we discussed my positive experience, but I did not want to over-promise.

I explained to Shannon that EFT was a proven stress reduction technique that could help with her overall stress level. I also explained that she could tap on past fears, limiting beliefs, issues around pregnancy, babies, or family life that could be burdening her subconsciously.

She decided to give EFT a try and we scheduled a session.

During her session, she described her presenting issue as “consumed by pregnancy.”

We tapped on this phrase and several other feelings such as:

  • Waiting,
  • Anticipating,
  • Fear, 
  • I’m a failure,
  • I’m alone,
  • I’m going to be found out,
  • I’m obsessed,
  • It’s too late,
  • My husband can’t take this,
  • I can’t give up,
  • I can’t take a break, 
  • Empty,
  • Desperate.

As she felt more relaxed and present, I asked her: “What does this waiting, consumed, desperate, empty feeling remind you of? Where else has this shown up in your life?”

Shannon replied, “It reminds me of hating school and waiting and waiting to graduate. I was definitely desperate to get out. I wanted to go to college as far away as possible. I was consumed with leaving. I had friends, but I kept my feelings to myself and felt empty inside. I think I was depressed. I definitely struggled not to give up mentally.”

We tapped on all of these old feelings. We tapped on feeling disappointed when she finally did get to college, and nothing really changed. Shannon stated that while she does think having a baby will make her happy, what she actually knows is that she will still be the same and even more stuck.

Shannon said she has a lot of fears but glosses over them as the fear of never being a mom hangs over her.

Shannon and I tapped on her fears, anxiety, and stress weekly for four months before she became pregnant. We continued tapping for many months into her pregnancy.

She credits EFT with getting her through this stressful time, clearing past issues, and allowing her to enjoy her pregnancy as she joyfully anticipated the new arrival. She thanked me for teaching her this tool that she has incorporated into her life and can share with her little boy.

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.

Bleeding and a Fear of Miscarriage

 


By Rebecca Marina

This story is one of the most wonderful cases that I have had using EFT.

I received a frantic e-mail from my client Ana wanting to know if I could work her in right away, she said, "'I'm pregnant again and I am bleeding. I'm afraid I'm losing the baby."

I had worked with Ana by phone a few months earlier over her anxiety about getting pregnant. She did have two healthy children but had suffered 3 miscarriages and was worried that she would never be able to have another healthy pregnancy.

When I first read the frantic e-mail my heart sank. Having had 2 miscarriages myself I knew that once you start bleeding it is very difficult to keep the baby. My first impulse was to tell her I could only help her with her anxiety over the miscarriage.

I remembered the work I had done with the live blood cells and I decided it was worth a try to stop the bleeding. I squeezed her in between already scheduled clients as soon as I could that day. I told her that we would try EFT for the bleeding but there were no guarantees.

As the session began, I could sense that she had so much anxiety in her energy field that she needed to calm down before we could work on anything else.

I asked her, "Ana what emotion is the strongest for you right now?"

Her answer surprised me. She said, "I am angry, so angry!" I asked her who she was angry at. She replied, "God. I'm so angry at God for making me go through this again." So I told her, "Ana I'm giving you permission to be really angry at God, we're going to do EFT while expressing that anger." Ana said it felt like a 10 plus!

So our first round went like this, "Even though I'm so mad at you God, I love and accept myself. Why are you making me go through this again? I can't take it anymore! I want to scream at you God!" after two rounds of this she felt much better and was down to a 2 on anger. She felt ready to proceed with the positive choice so we did, "Even though I'm still a little mad at you God I choose to allow peace, and that feels so much better." That took her down to 0 on the anger.

At this point Ana started to tell me about the first 3 miscarriages she had previously. (Perhaps, she needed to explain why she had felt so much anger)

I said, "Ana, if you need to talk about it, begin with the first miscarriage and tell me about it, and then the second, and the third, we will use the Tell the Story technique." I guided her in touching all the points as she told the stories. Ana felt even more relief, she was calmer and stated that she felt no more anger, just sad and hurt about the 3 previous miscarriages.

Since it was so obvious that the impending miscarriage was bringing up fresh pain over the "lost babies," I felt guided to help her get in touch with the essence of those "lost babies". I guided Ana in a round in EFT for "Even though I'm so sad and hurt for my lost babies, I love and accept myself." Then we did another round for, "I love you my babies, and I wanted every one of you. I wanted to hold each one of you in my arms and I'm so sad I didn't get to." She and I were both in tears at this point yet felt such a sweetness as if the "lost babies" were really giving her comfort. Ana said she so felt much better, a sense of relief that she had acknowledged the babies she had lost.

At that point, I asked if she was ready to work on the physical symptoms.

We started with her breathing. She could only take a number 5 breath (on a scale of 1-10). She told me that she had congestion in her lungs from a cold and she was worried that if she took a deep breath she might start coughing and put stress on the uterus. I explained to her that the only way her baby could get oxygen and nutrients was through her blood. She knew this of course but when you are worried about losing your baby, you tend to lose your logic.

We did EFT for, "Even though I'm worried I will cough and hurt my baby, I'm allowing the lining of my lungs to be soothed, and allowing all the little sacks to be filled with air, and that feels good." Ana took a deep breath in and it was an 8 and it felt very smooth. She was quite astonished as we had done EFT in a previous sessions but only for anxiety.

When we had her breathing all the way to 10, we proceeded to work on the bleeding. Ana's concern was that if it was not a viable pregnancy she wanted to go ahead and lose it and get it over with, she did not want to get her hopes up only to be devastated.

We did a round of, "Even though I'm bleeding, I'm asking all unnatural blood flow to stop. I command it! I am asking all the little capillaries to begin to seal themselves off. I am asking all unnatural bleeding to stop now!"

Another round of, "Even though I'm still a little scared I'm allowing my red blood cells to be filled with oxygen and nourish my baby. I'm asking all the organs and fluids in my body to assist in any way they can. I'm asking the cells of my womb to become strong and hold my baby tight."

It was just glorious, you could feel the electricity in the air. Ana felt calm, peaceful and strong. Ana called me the next day to tell me her bleeding had stopped completely!

She had checked her blood with the doctor and her hormone levels were excellent! It has been several weeks now and she has not bled one more drop. Her pregnancy is healthy and she is ecstatic!

Can I tell you for sure with scientific proof that EFT stopped the bleeding?

No, I cannot. However, I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything other than the EFT sessions that did this. I do believe that severe anxiety along with focusing on what is wrong with your body instead of what is right with your body can aggravate and worsen any condition. I also believe that the first miscarriage could have set up a "pattern" of energy that could easily be followed over and over.

EFT for Fertility, Labor, Delivery, and Birth

I've witnessed several births, including those of my own three children, and I believe that EFT has a great deal to offer in reducing the stress of the birthing experience for mother, father and baby. I've also heard stories of users who've used EFT for infertility by reducing the stress around their desire to bear a child. In the story below, Monika Benoit generously shares with us several methods of using EFT to prepare yourself for giving birth easily and free of fear. The article includes links to a free workbork and audio for a healthy pregnancy and calm, comfortable birthing. A must read for any new-to-be mother and her family.

Your Host,

Dawson Church, PhD
Best-selling Author of the Award-Winning Book The Genie in Your Genes.


Fertility Labor, Delivery, and Birth Case Histories

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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 consult a physician for all medical issues.

Change Your Expectations, Use EFT for Specific Aspects, and Change Your Birth Experience

Monika Benoit is an expert who walks you through the use of EFT to alleviate fear and stress, to reduce or eliminate pain, and to change your expectations of what the birth experience will be like.

-Dawson Church 


By Monika Benoit

Unresolved emotional issues can contribute to anxiousness during pregnancy and complications during labor. Users of Emotional Freedom Techniques, known most commonly as EFT, already know what a wonderful tool it is for neutralizing negative emotions and fears. EFT's ability to alleviate physical discomfort while simultaneously relieving frustration and promoting healthy relaxation makes it a wonderful tool to use during pregnancy, and in preparation for birth.

Using EFT To Address Labor Fears

If you are pregnant and feeling apprehensive about labor - simply address your feelings while tapping. To use EFT to address the anxiousness you feel when you think about going into labor, repeat the following while you tap on the Karate Chop Point:

"Even though I am afraid of going into labor, I completely and deeply love and accept myself."

To help you focus while you tap on the rest of the points repeat a shortened version of that same phrase, something like

"This fear of going into labor."

Getting Good Results

Typically, EFT works best when we can be as specific as possible, whenever possible. To increase our chances of getting great results when using EFT to help release a common issue, like the fear of going into labor, it is important that we tap on only one specific issue at a time. It is also important to continuously re-focus your thoughts during the natural reflection points in between rounds of EFT tapping. It can be helpful to use the following four techniques when identifying your issue, and deciding exactly what to tap on:

1) Becoming Aware of Your Body
2) Addressing Specific Events
3) Address Specific Aspects
4) Inner Imagery

When we are working with a large or global issue, like "fear of going into labor" for example, we may be trying to focus on too many feelings at once and EFT may not have any noticeable effect. To tackle such a global issue it is very important to focus in on specific parts of the issue. It is usually very useful to use all four of the following ways of "Getting Specific" as you work through any complicated issue.

Getting Specific with EFT

1. Becoming Aware of Your Body

Where do you feel the feeling in your body. What is it like physically? How do you experience this emotion in your body?

For instance:

"Even though I feel the fear like a void in my chest..."
"Even though my throat feels constricted because everyone is always criticizing me..."
"Even though I feel this awful nervousness in the pit of my stomach..."

Many times, after tapping you will feel changes in the way the body is holding the emotion.

The sensations may decrease, change in quality, or even move to a different place in or on your body. When emotional energy moves around the body, simply tap to adress the new location of your sensation - this is known as "chasing the pain," and it is definately a sign that you are moving energy - you're on the right track!

2. Specific Events

Break your issue down by focusing in on specific events in your life that made you feel the same way earlier in your life, either recently or when you were younger. What you believe about labor, birthing and your body's ability, is based on specific old events, conversations, t.v. shows, etc... As you use EFT to address these specific events and memories as they rise up during tapping, your beliefs about yourself and your expectations of the birth process begin to shift. When addressing specific events with EFT you may say things like:

"Even though my mother told me that giving birth to me was the most terrible thing she ever endured..."

"Even though the woman in labor on the TV show died while giving birth..."
"Even though my doctor told me giving birth naturally would be impossible..."

As you deal with specific events, you will probably start to feel the emotions of those times. By thoroughly tapping for all the details of the memories that feel upsetting, you will effectively erase the discomfort that comes with the larger issue you initially chose to work on. Working with specific events is highly recommended and often gets the most noticeable results. Address each detail of your specific memory with as many rounds of tapping as needed - until your emotional intensity is a 1 or 0. Address each of your feelings, and each of the limiting beliefs you took on, with its very own series of tapping rounds.

3. Address Specific "Aspects"

Every issue we work on has many parts, many details, and many possible triggers for the uncomfortable emotion that we are feeling. Recognizing aspects and tapping very specifically for different aspects is another skill required for effective EFT. For instance, if you are afraid of going into labor, you may have many aspects of that issue to tap on. These could be some of them:

Anticipating the pain of your contractions
Panicking at the thought of your baby "getting stuck"
The fear that something unexpected may happen to you or your baby during the birth

You can continue to uncover aspects with the question, "What bothers me the most about going into labor when I think about now?" Eventually, there will not be much that bothers you and the fear will be gone, unless there are core issues around which "fear of going into labor" might just be the tip of the iceberg. Many issues carry a complicated mix of emotions. Let's say you have tapped for your hurt in a certain situation. The hurt has subsided, but now you feel angry. As hidden layers of emotion emerge, these are more aspects of the issue and must be handled separately. Looking for different aspects and then specifically targeting these aspects with tapping will go a long way towards achieving lasting results.

4. Inner Imagery

Use an image to give your feelings more detail. If you are good at visualizing, imagine what the energy of the fear looks like, or feels like for you, and tap on the details of that image. Imagery is another way to listen to our feelings. As we tap, images often begin to change as our energy shifts. After tapping, ask yourself; Has the image changed in any way? How does it feel now? For example:

"Even though this anger is like a big, red ball in the pit of my stomach..."
"Even though this fear is choking me like a snake wrapped around me tightly...
"Even though I feel the sadness like a wave drowning me..."

Change Your Expectations, Change Your Birth Experience

With EFT you can naturally allow yourself to change and grow as you prepare for birth without feeling fear, guilt, anger, resentment or panic. Changing your expectations and your beliefs by letting go of fear and tensions will allow you to birth comfortably. Clues about core issues or events can come up spontaneously as you work on an issue. Just follow your feelings. Sit for a moment after a round of tapping and see what comes to mind. If in doubt, contact a qualified professional.

Monika Benoit

Monika offers a free copy of her latest e-book, "EFT for Pregnancy and Birth: An introduction to using Emotional Freedom Techniques for a healthy pregnancy and calm, comfortable birthing" on her website. You can also download a free copy of The Gentle Birth with Emotional Freedom Technique Workbook, and the Gentle Birth Affirmation Audio through this link:http://www.fertilitypregnancybirth.com/Resources.html

About the Author: 
Monika Benoit is a Holistic Practitioner who specializes in using EFT to help hopeful couples to get pregnant naturally, enjoy healthy pregnancies, experience natural childbirth comfortably and to help during postpartum recovery. As a mother of two young children, Monika has first-hand experience in using EFT to get pregnant, enjoy pregnancy and allow labor to unfold easily, comfortably and without stress.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit Monika's website.

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