By Dr. Gene R. Nelson, N.D., Ph.D.
I would like to tell a story about my early work with PTSD with my client named "Clay." Clay came to me in my offices in Clearwater, Florida because he heard about this weird doctor who "tapped people." Clay was at the end of his life rope after spending 30 years in the Veterans Administration system without success.
He had tried everything, e.g., heavy drugs, years of cognitive and behavior therapy, lock-ups, etc. He was very overweight (had been eating bologna sandwiches for two years in his house which was completely closed off from the world).
Other than weekly visits to his PTSD group at the VA, he did not go outside; he'd given up his passion as lead guitarist (his work also); was diagnosed with coronary artery disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, skin conditions, etc.
Clay was a mess. He was dying and he knew it.
I talked with Clay about emotional freedom techniques (EFT) and I asked him if he could recall any experiences about his two tours as an Army Ranger in Cambodia during the Viet Nam war.
He went into visceral rage pounding on the chair, facial contortions, heavy breathing and spitting. It was a full-fledged body-mind-spirit rage! And of course, I had the answer to my question. Yes, he could recall his time 30 years prior to our meeting.
I stated that he did not have to tell me anything (he couldn't talk anyway; he could barely breathe). I asked him if he had one particular scene (movie) he was reliving? Yes.
I asked him to name the movie with the first two words that came to mind. He did. I did one round of the EFT Movie Technique through his continued physical rage expressions.
Upon finishing I asked if he could recall the same movie.
He could and did with eyes closed and his physical machinations were still there, but much more subdued. We did three rounds - maybe 15 minutes of EFT direct therapy.
I asked him, "Clay, can you recall the movie now?" He replied, "Yes" with a calmness that even surprised me, Clay explained that his experience was in a Cambodian street with a very young Cambodian boy running toward him, his buddies, and his jeep, with a live grenade. Screaming in Cambodian for the boy to "stop or Ill shoot!" the boy kept coming until Clay had to shoot him and thus kill him before the grenade could do more damage.
He detailed the story calmly to me as if he were reading it out of a book for the first time. Amazing!
So I asked Clay, after the personal (and professional) surprise subsided a bit, "Can you recall any other events from your time in the Rangers?"
Just a blank stare back at me--an incredible tinge of wonderment. No he could not recall another event from that time. Every event that had buggered him for 30 years--that he could not even bring himself to speak of to another human being--was gone! No recall, no movies left at all.
We talked a bit more. Did some additional EFT work on his upbringing with a brutal father and a non-protective mother. I taught him how to do EFT for himself.
He called within a couple of days to tell me that not only had he cleaned out his house, opened the shades, but that he had a musical gig that night. His thrill of passion and life rediscovered was palatable. And he was tapping all the time!