A young woman (I’ll call her Faith) came to me to work on an issue that she was very shy about. With difficulty, she began talking about it, though she looked directly at me while she talked. She explained that she is a hoarder and pretends that she just collects things. She said the problem was not so bad because she could still move about the house. She smiled then, but added that she was scared of her hoarding getting worse and was looking for help. Her distress over her hoarding was at a SUD level of 10.
I asked a few questions regarding her financial situation at present and in the recent past and didn’t find anything that could be connected with a need to hoard. I knew there must be some emotional issue and I dug for that.
We went back to Faith’s childhood and she didn’t find anything that could be connected with poverty.
I didn’t know what to do next, and then I remembered eye movements can help us revive memories of our faraway past.
I told her to follow my hand movement with her eyes, to follow it in the shape of a number eight. She followed it and found it to be fun. I noticed then that she relaxed. I continued with the figure-eight movement, asking her questions about her childhood, what she remembered.
Faith’s family was not rich, but she’d had a good, comfortable life. One day she saw, from a distance, a woman and a child (she assumed they were mother and daughter since they looked alike) working at a cardboard recycling station. She was intrigued by what she saw and asked her mom what the two were doing and why they wore that kind of clothes. Her mom tried to avoid answering directly, which confused my client and she insisted on her mom’s explanation. Her mom told her that they must be very poor if they looked like that and because they were recycling the cardboard for very little money to help them get some food. Her mother said there were probably more kids but too young to work, so the two of them recycled together.
Faith said, “I was surprised because this girl looked too young to be working that hard and why did my mom say that, and why were they so poor? Nobody could be that poor to wear that kind of clothes and do what they were doing.” At that moment, Faith experienced fear and wondered, “Could that happen to me?” She was very upset and fearful but never talked to her mom about it. Eventually, as time passed, she forgot about this event.
When I asked her how she was feeling now remembering and talking about this, she said she feared poverty and that the fear was 10 out of 10 on the SUD scale.
We then tapped on that fear:
Even though I have a fear of poverty, I know I am able to support myself.
Even though I have a fear of poverty, I am scared that this can happen to me one day, I know it isn’t a reason to collect unnecessary items.
Even though I have a fear of poverty, the hoarding cannot protect me from poverty, I know I can support myself.
We used the Reminder Phrases: That fear... That fear of poverty... I am scared, and I hoard stuff.... I know that fear... I feel that fear... Hoarding... I still hoard stuff... That fear... Fear of poverty...
I stopped then and asked how she felt about this now. She said she still felt fear, now 6-7, but she explained that it was a much stronger feeling than a number could actually describe. We then switched from the left to the right hand to tap three times on the Setup Statement:
Even though I still have the fear, I trust myself, I can support myself.
We used the Reminder Phrases: It’s still there, that fear... still a little bit of fear... it’s still fear... I still feel that fear... I still feel fear...I still feel fear...
The level of fear dropped to 3-4, but she was still visibly upset, more so than the number she gave. I told her to close her eyes and put her hands over her heart, one over the other, to feel her heart and relax. I asked her to take a few deep breaths and completely relax, watch the childhood event from a safe distance, to call her counselor, whoever or whatever that is, and ask her counselor whether the counselor had anything to say to her or had something to give her.
Faith imagined white energy coming from the Universe and showering her. There were no words or messages that she could recognize, but she did receive a gift. She got a stone in her hand—a nice, smooth stone from a beach. She didn’t know what the gift meant, but she likes to collect stones while walking on a beach. Bingo! I pointed out her words, “I like collecting,” and she said, “Yes, I like collecting from places I visit and keep memorabilia. Actually, I like collecting memories. That’s the reason why I collect stuff. I am afraid of losing my memories. I like to remember places, moments, people, nature..."
From that moment on, Faith showed a visible shift from poverty to joy and fun. Her fear was still at 2 out of 10, but she said she had a different view of her life now, her habits, and her behavior. She left the session with much more enthusiasm and the wish to reorganize her home and her life.