By Dawson Church, PhD, Advanced EFT Practitioner and Trainer
Part of the EFT Gentle Technique is the Chasing the Pain Technique. Often clients have more than one site of pain. There might be a pain in the shoulder rated at a SUD Level of Intensity of 9 out of 10, plus a pain in the lower back with a SUD Level of 4 out of 10, along with a sore knee rated at a level 2 out of 10.
When Chasing the Pain, the EFT practitioner guides the client on tapping on each site of the pain in turn.
When the pain at one site reduces to a low SUD Level number, you move to tap on the next-highest pain site, and on down the line. Clients may also become aware of new pains as old ones are tapped away.
After you tap on a client with a sore ankle, which they tell you is at a Level 5, she might tell you that the pain has now shifted to her hip, which is at a Level 8. You then tap on the hip, after which the pain shifts to her stomach, which is at a Level 4.
The EFT practitioner follows the client's lead, "chasing the pain" wherever it occurs.
The reason that Chasing the Pain is considered a Gentle Technique is that many EFT clients use pain as a proxy for emotion. A grizzled Veteran who is unable to share any emotions at all will readily describe his physical pain. Processing emotional trauma may be too difficult, or triggering for a client to contemplate, or carry a stigma, while processing physical pain carried no such meaning. Physical symptoms like pain are thought of as objective medical realities, and few clients are unwilling to share them.
As the experience of many EFT practitioners shows, much physical pain is tied to childhood abuse.
Since the abuser was often the client's caregiver, feelings of anger toward the caregiver might be entwined with feelings of love and gratitude. A man might remember being beaten by his father, but also remember being loved and taught useful skills that helped him prosper later in life.
Sometimes clients feel that talking about a parent's abuse is disloyal because the parent also loved them and provided for them. At a conscious level, a client may be unwilling to address abuse. Here, tapping on the pain can serve to dissipate that emotional material without needing to confront it.
Noted German psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Fritz Perls, noted the link between physical symptoms and emotions after working with an artist on his repressed anger.
The artist was extremely nearsighted. After Gestalt therapy sessions, his many symptoms resolved and his vision normalized. Perls observed:
"Particularly if you get a combination of symptoms, like nearsightedness, lower back pain, anger indirectly expressed, instances of sexual impotency--you can have a noticeable positive impact on all the symptoms at once ... Psychologically the overruling of the taboos against expressiveness allows for greater self-expression, particularly of anger, then the eyesight improves, anger decreases, back pain goes away and sexual function is restored." (Blanton, 2011).
For some EFT clients, pain offers a useful proxy for emotions. As pain after pain is tapped away with EFT using the Chasing the Pain Technique, it is likely that a client unable to face his or her emotional trauma is making progress on resolving it in a way that is safe and non-triggering."
Excerpted from The EFT Manual, by Dawson Church
Pages 199 - 200