It’s an unfortunate fact in the world today, that many horrific things happen that cause long term trauma and anxiety for people. Whether it is witnessing something horrible, a personal experience of rape, childhood trauma, an unexpected accident or death, a soldier’s battlefield scars, or any of a number of upsetting things that leave their mark.
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled. (From National Institute of Mental Health).
I recently worked with a professional who contacted me because she was suffering from PTSD. She had been diagnosed by mental health professionals and was resistant to taking medication and after trying other methods, including hypnosis, she asked me to try EFT with her. One of the symptoms she was suffering from was sleeplessness, which manifested itself in being difficult to go to sleep and experiencing restless sleep. She wanted to address this first. It was typical for her to have to stay up very late, as late as possible, so that she would be sleepy enough to go to sleep. We spent most of the hour tapping on the inability to sleep; both going to sleep and staying asleep. I instructed her to go to bed at a normal bedtime, see how long it took to go to sleep and whether she had a restful night. I also told her, that if she did not, to continue tapping on the problem for homework. She did not follow instructions.
We used phrases like;
Even though I cannot sleep at night.
Even though I am so frustrated about these sleep issues.
Even though I haven’t slept well in 16 years.
(Lots of questioning and identifying thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings).
She did go to bed at a reasonable hour. It took her about a half hour to go to sleep. She woke up once during the night. She slept almost 8 hrs. This was a HUGE improvement. Where she did not follow instructions, was to keep tapping. She wanted to see how far that one session would take her. Within a few days, she was going to sleep quickly and sleeping through the night 7-8 hours. She had not been able to do this for almost 16 years.
The next session we worked on her irritability. She was having a very hard time relating to her children at the end of the day. It was too much activity, too much noise, too much to handle and she often ended up hiding in her office and her work. We worked on all of the feelings she was having about this and again, she noticed within days, that she was feeling more at ease, more relieved, and enjoying her time in the evenings with her children and spending only the time she needed to in her office.
Even though the girls drive me crazy after school.
Even though I feel like running and hiding very day.
Even though I’m so stressed out because I want to spend time with my children, but I just can’t.”
The last session we did together went straight to the heart of the matter. As a young girl, of perhaps five or six, one of her caretakers had sexually abused her. 40 years later, this event(s) was at the heart of her PTSD. We went through every piece of the memory. We tip-toed around it, so as not to create undue emotion. We took piece by piece and dismantled the power that it had over her. By the time 45 minutes had passed, she had released all of the negative emotions associated with the specific memory, and truly was released from the overwhelming symptoms that went along with it.
(I used what’s called the Movie Technique to bring down the emotional level from just thinking about the event without going into details. Once we did that, I had her go through every part she remembered, identified the level of intensity, and tapped on each specific piece until there was no more intensity.)
This was my second opportunity of several to help someone specifically with PTSD and/or traumatic events. I’ve also worked with my own grief and trauma surrounding my mother’s suicide. It’s an amazing thing to me. That you can walk through life, carrying such serious baggage and still find ways to function. In my case, I went to therapy for months. I don’t know how much I got out of that. To see myself and others in only a few hours, be completely relieved from traumatic memories, dramatic emotions, consuming thoughts, and grief that seems as if it will swallow you, is nothing short of a miracle. It is this part of EFT that I find so gratifying. It has the power to take things that are completely overwhelming, and almost like magic, cause them to go poof in a cloud of smoke. It is not always a one session resolution. This case took 3 sessions. More serious trauma may take more, but I continue to find EFT astounding in what it can do.
EFT is a very flexible improvement tool that can be used for just about everything. Although I try to remain true to my training, I am using my version of it here. I have had extraordinary results and urge you to contact me for more information. I don’t have medical or psychology training, but offer EFT as a teacher and coach. If you have concerns about your particular condition, please consult with your healthcare professional first.