“Sylvia,” a woman in her forties, has always wanted to learn to play the violin and has begun taking lessons as an adult. Her problem is the severe performance anxiety that interferes with both her lessons and her practice sessions. After all, her purpose is to enjoy the violin, not have it be a source of anxiety and tension.
Our EFT work spanned four sessions and had many positive results, including one that was unexpected! This article shares the highlights of each session and the healing results.
Sylvia’s anxiety about playing the violin was strong, so we began with some rounds of tapping on the effects in her body, “can’t breathe, pressure behind my eyes, tense.” As she felt some release, I asked her, “Tell me in detail what happens inside you when you try to play.” She answered:
I feel a lot of fear.
I’m afraid I’m not doing a good enough job.
I’m afraid of criticism and judgment.
It will be my fault!
I didn’t apply myself.
I could have done better!
I then asked the classic question... “What does all this remind you of? Afraid of being judged and criticized, feeling it’s your fault, you should have done better...” Sylvia answered immediately, “My father.”
The story emerged of a childhood spent in challenging circumstances. Because of her mother’s instability due to mental health issues and her father’s anger and drinking problems, she never knew when chaos would erupt. Her father’s attitude was to shame the children and judge and criticize them-- “other people have it worse than you, get up and amount to something.” As we tapped for all the details, Sylvia was astonished at the amount of painful emotion. “I had no idea that was there,” she said.
Whenever I’m tapping for childhood issues, I like to extend the love and acceptance to our child self. Here are some of the setups we used:
Even though I’m so afraid of criticism and judgment, I love and accept my young self... it was hard for me being treated so harshly.
Even though I think I could have done it better, I love and accept my little girl... she did the best she could in that chaotic household.
One particularly poignant memory arose: “I remember that when things were bad, I used to get on my bike and take my little blue suitcase and escape to my grandmother’s.” It was a heartbreaking detail, made even more so when she said, “I was really little, probably only 5 or 6.” We tapped for this scene:
Even though I’m just a little girl, and I have to take care of myself, getting on my bike to go to Grandma’s, I love and accept and appreciate this little girl... I honor myself for how resourceful I was... I found a way to get what I needed.”
We ended the session by tapping to acknowledge her strengths, both then and now:
Even though I went through all that, I love and appreciate myself... I acknowledge how resourceful and strong that little girl was... I appreciate myself for becoming a caring and trustworthy person in spite of the difficult childhood.
Sylvia had been surprised by the first session, amazed that underneath the issue of violin playing there was so much that needed healing. But she was encouraged that we were on the right track.
“I’ve realized that I’m really hard on myself,” she said. “For instance, when I practice, I have this rule that I never can finish a practice without playing something perfectly.” As we tapped for that, awarenesses began to spark, and we took them as tapping opportunities:
Even though I make rules for myself... because as a child I thought my rules made things work... I love and accept myself... and I love and accept the child that I was...
Even though when I was a child the big rule was, “don’t upset your mother," and I tried so hard to follow that rule and avoid the chaos...
Even though things would set my father off too... and I was desperately trying to follow the rules and keep the chaos from happening... I had all these rules for myself to keep the chaos at bay...
The idea of “breaking the rules” gave her great anxiety, so we tapped for that. Finally she made a powerful choice:
Even though I had all those rules for myself, I love, accept and forgive my young self... that was then and this is now... I want to have a new relationship with rules... I can choose wisely the rules that work for me.
Sylvia reported some breakthroughs in her violin practices, “letting go and playing like a Suzuki kid!” But the lessons were still a source of anxiety. It was becoming increasingly apparent that this was not all about her. With new clarity, she acknowledged that the teacher was a big part of the problem. He tended to be cold, critical and insensitive when what she needed was nurturing and encouragement. We tapped to help her have a voice and refuse mistreatment.
Sylvia surprised me by announcing that she had “fired” that teacher! She had done it tactfully and kindly, informing him that she was taking a break from lessons and would contact him if she wished to resume. She felt empowered and delighted that she had broken her own rule of “you have to take it, stick with it, don’t be a quitter.” She could reject those judgments and honor her feelings and needs. We tapped for the disappointment that “I didn’t mean anything to him,” and she was ready to move on.
It seemed as though her resourceful self had taken the lead. She reported finding some excellent resources on-line, looking into other possible teachers, and best of all throwing caution to the winds and signing up for a Music Camp this summer “because it sounds like such fun.”
How beautiful to see her delightful child self coming through in her new freedom to play the violin for enjoyment, free of judgment, free of fear!
Betty Moore-Hafter, www.CreativeEFT.com, is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Master Trainer of Trainers and Advanced Practitioner offering EFT Level 1-2 and Level 3 Trainings several times a year. She also has a new EFT mentoring and support program at www.EmotionalFreedomMastery.com. Betty offers EFT sessions by phone and by Skype, as well as in person at her Burlington, Vermont office. You can find out more on both websites and pick up free gifts on each site.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on January 12, 2013