This article is about Carl, a 62 year old male that came to me wanting to explore some issues by using EFT. He already had some prior tapping experience. In his intake form, I learned that his issues were primarily: A feeling of being stuck in his life, and that he feels he can’t make money.
When Carl arrived for his first session, we spent a few moments enjoying tea and warm, relaxing conversation. During this time, I explained more about how EFT works on the meridian points, the analogy to acupuncture w/o needles, and how it was important that if I said anything that didn’t resonate with him he should stop me immediately.
Being Stuck in His Life
I asked Carl to tell me what feeling stuck was like for him, and he told me that these feelings were tied up with his feelings of shame. I explored that a little further by asking him how far back the feelings of shame went for him. He told me that they went way back to as far as he could remember.
I asked him what his first memory of feeling this was, and he gave me some background information about how he was an unwanted baby having "two retarded brothers" – how his father would berate him for being "normal."
I decided to use principles of the Tell the Story technique, and we began with the aspect of his feeling unwanted. I asked him how he would feel about telling me what that was like for him, explaining that we would start from a neutral point (which turned out to be when he was still in the womb). I told him we would stop any time he felt any intensity at all – that this wasn’t like Psychotherapy (which he had done, along with other approaches, in the past). I also let him know he didn’t have to push through his feelings and be strong.
He agreed he was ready to share his story and began by telling me that it all started with his first recollection of his mom letting him know that she had a child that died before he was born and then two more severely retarded boys right after that. Carl said he felt "from day one" that he was an unwanted child.
Tapping Through It
We began the with the Setup, tapping on the Karate Chop: “Even though I felt like an unwanted child, I still love and value myself completely...”
Then we tapped through the Sequence using the Reminder Phrase: “felt like an unwanted child..." finally ending with, "I wanted me, I wanted to be here..." His intensity level on "unwanted child" was now down from an 8 to a 2.
Sensing that there were many aspects to being unwanted, I asked him to go back to the beginning about him finding out about his mom’s other children, and Carl added-in this time that his mother told him the reason they institutionalized his brothers was so that he could have a normal life. We tapped continuously through the whole conversion around his guilt, shame and blame for his brothers' being institutionalized.
Then he shifted to:
“Not my fault... I could have a normal life." I tested by asking him, "Was it your fault that your younger brother died and your mom had two retarded children?” He looked at me with a screwed up face and said, “No, that is such bullshit.”
Narrating from the Beginning
We went back to the beginning where he told me about his mom's other children. Carl got all the way through that to it wasn’t his fault when he connected to a specific event: He started telling me about at time when his parents took him to the place where his brothers were living, and that the sights and smells were so horrendous that he thinks it put him into a state of PTSD. He had memories of kids there eating bread dipped in milk. It disgusted him so much that to this day he doesn’t eat bread. His intensity was a 7 at this memory.
We tapped on, “that smell disgusted me” and “can’t eat bread," for several rounds, bringing his intensity level down to a 2. In a light-hearted way, I asked Carl if we could share a sandwich after our session. He smiled at me saying “I think so!”
Carl then got to telling me about his experience in grammar school – how shut down he was and how he didn’t do well in school, dreaming all the time, not trying to learn or pay attention or get good grades resulting in D’s and F’s across the board.
He told me that his father, a volatile man, said he would help Carl with his homework which scared him. He related how is father slammed his fist on the table and screamed “What do you mean you don’t know the answer?" Carl was "scared to death." His intensity level was a 9 after he told me this part. We tapped a lot of rounds on many aspects about how his father was a bully, which eventually included the Reminder Phrases of “I was daydreaming all the time”, “didn’t do well in school” and eventually “my dad was an asshole”. We tapped on that last one emphatically for several rounds getting which brought his intensity level on the fear to a 1.
To test, I asked him to narrate the story about his father again, and Carl told me that he was very angry from his experience with his abusive dad, so he joined the navy to get out of the house (during the Vietnam war). Turns out, Carl was very anti-authoritarian and the military was not the place for him. There was no “charge” when he was telling me this part, but then when he got to the part where he left the military and hit the job market, he had no idea who he was. He was emotionally wounded from the past taking “shit jobs” – he hated going from job to job and felt a great deal of shame around that part of his life, always living paycheck to paycheck. There was a strong charge with that shame – an intensity level of 9. We tapped on “shit jobs”, “couldn’t get a good job”, “had no idea who I was”, “living paycheck to paycheck” eventually tapping on “I know I am better than that”, and “I know in my heart I am good but my brain doesn’t get it." At this point, the overall shame was down to a level of 2.
Since starting over makes the person look at the scene a different way, I had Carl tell me the whole story of being unwanted again from the top. He did this with no intensity on any of the parts. When he was done, I asked him, “what is your opinion of yourself? What do you think?” He told me that he is a creative, people-person, spiritual, philosophical, deep, growth-oriented, and he admires his own balls for diving into this stuff with me. He also sees himself as a risk-taker, willing to “step into the fire" and has drawn wonderful friends to himself in his life.
As a way of closing the session and "tapping-in the good things," we tapped several rounds on his wonderful attributes. He smiled, was in a light place, and I asked him if it was a comfortable place for us to stop. He agreed.
I asked Carl how he had been feeling since our last session. He told me that he realized that his inner child was "holding on to this story" – that his inner child was "running the show."
Because our rapport was so strong, and he was so responsive to what we were doing together, we jumped right into the tapping, using the Setup: "Even though I want to honor my inner child, I run the show, I create the story, the story that I want... I run the show”
Reminder Phrase: “I run the show”
We did three rounds on this, and Carl got pretty enthusiastic saying loudly and emphatically “I run the show”, and his thinking that he inner child was running the show was now down to a 0. He was making connections on his own.
When I asked him how that felt, he said, “it felt pretty damn good,” but then he told me that part of him "doesn’t want to be here." He said he was at about an 8 with these feelings, and we tapped his words, eventually getting to a point where he started saying, “I can see how the best and most gratifying moments of my life were here on this earthly plane.”
I asked Carl how he felt now and he told me that he was afraid to step into his power, felt like his father squelched that, that he can’t step into his life. I asked him how strong those feelings were of being afraid to step into his power and he reported an intensity of 7.
We tapped several rounds with the Reminder Phrase “afraid to step into my power”, and “my father was a squelcher.” After several rounds he reported that he “felt different now” and his intensity level on the fear was at a 0 – feeling that now HE can create the story not his inner child. By tapping on his most present thoughts and fears, he realized that part of him was attached to the pain of the inner child. “Who would I be without my pain, without my story?" – so we tapped on just that for a few rounds.
During our time together, he was coming to his own "reframes," seeing his situation differently. At this point in our session, I really felt he was on a roll. The light-bulb had gone on! He finally came to, “I would be the person I want to be!” Ah, another ray of light! We continued to tap using his words, “being the person I want to be."
Carl called me up later that night and told me that he got more from our meeting than from "years of therapy." Since our session, he has been much more enthusiastic about creating work for himself, traveling more and even working more steadily.
Cheryl Aiello, of North Salem, New York, US
Certified EFT Practitioner with EFT International
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on Apr 26, 2014.