Note: because this article is longer than most, it has been published in two parts. You will find a link to Part 2 at the bottom of the article.
Arthur, a 72 year old neighbour of mine in Murcia, Spain, has been in ill health for 10 years, having had a double heart by-pass surgery and knee replacement surgery. However, Arthur is the most positive person that I have come across of late- always smiling, always positive. Arthur loves nothing more than tending to his rose bushes but has not been able to do so lately because of pain in both hands, which he assumed was the onset of arthritis. However, his cardiac consultant has found no medical cause for the pain and just puts it down to age. Having to forgo his favourite past-time has resulted in a change in his personality, with him becoming depressed and moody. Sue, his long-suffering wife, had heard from another neighbour that I was training to be an Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner and asked me if there was anything I could do to bring him some pain relief so that he could resume his passion for gardening.
Arthur himself recognised his recent mood swings especially after Sue replaced all his favourite rose bushes with pots and pots of artificial flowers which Arthur hated. In her defence, Sue informed me that as she too was suffering from ill-health and plastic flowers seemed the best solution to their gardening dilemma! It was low maintenance and they could enjoy the flora all year round! Also, as both are living on a tight budget, they could not afford to pay for the services of a gardener. Neither did they want to accept “charity” from other neighbours, being the proud couple that they are. Plastic flowers in the garden may have been Sue’s solution to the present dilemma but it was Arthur’s nightmare!
Setting Up Our Work Together
I was apprehensive at first, considering his ill health and not wanting to contribute to his health problems any further but I have noticed the change in his personality as well. As he has always been a good neighbour and friend, I eventually decided to “give it a go” but with the following conditions:
- That he understood the EFT disclaimer that EFT is not a replacement for any medication, consultation or advice given by medical profession.EFT is also not a diagnostic tool but can help a client respond better to current medical care by improving the energy flow in the body and removing any negative emotions that may impede recovery.
- That Arthur allow me to fully explain the concept and principles of EFT.I also provided him with as much written material about EFT and pain relief as I could and signposted him to useful sites on the internet, for further research. I felt that Arthur needed to be aware of EFT, not only its potential but also to satisfy his query about possible side-effects.
- That he watch the DVD “The Tapping Solution” to have insight into the process and it’s potential. (Arthur had earlier asked me if I had any videos or reading material to share with him).
- That he should be honest with me and also let me know if he is suffering any discomfort or pain in the EFT process. I wanted Arthur to have control over the proceedings and wanted him to know that he could stop whenever he wanted. I also wanted to work with Arthur at his own pace and was very mindful of his ill-health.
- That Arthur is responsible for his emotions (positive and negative).He gave me written permission to practice EFT for pain relief regarding his arthritis in his hands.
- That Sue is also aware of his decision to try EFT and was in agreement.
Finally, I encouraged Arthur to seek the advice of his GP and family before I agreed to proceed. I felt that in view of his severe health problems, it was imperative that there was awareness, understanding and agreement by all concerned, to proceed with EFT.I wanted to address any concerns that medical staff or family may have before commencing.
On 28th April this year, I met Arthur and Sue at their home and waited for their feedback on the above. They had discussed it matter with Arthur’s cardiac consultant, his local GP and their daughter and all were in favour of trying EFT. They all knew just how much Arthur missed gardening and how it was now affecting his moods. Everyone wanted what was best for Arthur as he was a much loved and respected person.
First Session - Assessment in His Own Words
Ensuring that Arthur was seated comfortably (and in the safety of his home and in Sue’s presence), I began my EFT consultation in earnest. I asked him to describe the pain in his hands and whether it was more painful in one hand or was the pain affecting both hands equally. I am aware that it is generally accepted that “pain” is one of the hardest conditions to describe as every person’s pain threshold and understanding of pain, is different. I am also aware that “arthritic like pain” can be different to “diagnosed arthritis” and as such wanted to avoid any pre-suppositions, from reduced finger co-ordination, reduced general ability and hand dexterity to stiffness of metacarpals and phalanges, on my part.
I wanted to get Arthur’s perspective on his situation and what abilities and/or limitations he was experiencing. Hence, it was important for Arthur to describe the situation in his own words, especially what it meant to him and how it was affecting him. I wanted Arthur to describe what the word “pain” meant to him and encouraged him to use metaphors in his descriptions, if he was so inclined.
Arthur informed me that both his hands were equally painful and felt “sharp pain” whenever he tended his roses. He mentioned that his cardiac consultant had said that there was no medical reason why he should feel pain in his hands and was keen to see if EFT could provide an explanation.
I decided to use Gwyneth Moss’s “Imagineering” technique to ascertain what the root cause of Arthur’s pain was. I explained the technique to Arthur and Sue summing it up as a journey into his body, via the eardrum, to “visit” the pain site. Arthur laughed saying that it is reminiscent of a 1960’s TV show called “Journey to the centre of the Earth”. He was willing to try it out.
THE EFT IMAGINEERING TECHNIQUE
This is a gentle EFT technique that uses ones imagination “to connect to the images, emotions and felt senses arising in the right side of the brain.....to gain access to the roots of the dis-ease.”- Gwyneth Moss, EFT Master.
Using Arthur’s reference to the TV show “Journey to the centre of the Earth”, I asked him to imagine himself inside the spaceship used in the show and to shrink this to the size of a pin-head and to enter his body via the ears. I asked him to manoeuvre this spaceship to whichever organ he wanted. This was a test run to ascertain if Arthur could use his imagination to reach the core issues of his “pain”. Arthur found this entertaining so I asked him to go back into his body. He wanted to visit his heart and his hands, which he said was the site of his pain. I asked Arthur to describe his journey to his heart first and as he exited his body he described his heart was “dark, gloomy and cold." I used the hot words - “dark, gloomy and cold” to set up the tapping sequence as follows:
The setup statement
“Even though, my heart is dark, gloomy and cold, I deeply and completely accept myself”. This was repeated 3 times while stimulating the Karate Chop point.
EB (Beginning of eyebrow): This dark, gloomy and cold heart is not healthy.
SE (Side of eye): This dark, gloomy and cold heart is not happy.
UE (Under eye): This dark, gloomy and cold heart, is that all there is?
UN (Under Nose): This dark, gloomy and cold heart is not making me enjoy my life.
CH (Chin): This dark, gloomy and cold heart seems lifeless.
CB (collar bone): This dark, gloomy and cold heart is scaring me.
UA (Under Arm): This dark, gloomy and cold heart, wants to live.
TH (Top of head): This dark, gloomy and cold heart, wants to be happy again.
I then asked Arthur to go back into his body and take a look at the site of his pain. He used his imagination and in his little pinhead spacecraft visited his painful hands. I noticed a change in his expression, which seemed to distress him and immediately asked him to come out of his body.
Pursuing my line of gentle questioning, I asked him what he saw and he said “my heart is in my hands and it is crying” .He looked at me puzzled as if to say, “Am I making this up. Am I really seeing my heart in my hands? Is it really crying?” I asked him how he felt about this revelation and he said, "Frigthened, scared and very worried”.
I am aware that when a client encounters a painful or traumatic emotion during the process, Gwyneth Moss has recommended that the practitioner should tap on these emotions to reduce the intensity and when this is done, to ask the client to re-enter the body and continue till the next emotional blockage is encountered. The tapping process is repeated until the client can safely explore the site of the pain and the accompanying emotions peacefully.
I gave him time to regain his composure and when he was calm again, I explained that what he “saw” was not what was physically or literally happening. It was just a visual representation, which is an indirect and metaphorical manifestation to the emotions of the underlying cause to his problem. I reminded him of the principle of the “Imagineering Technique” which is to find the chain of connections to the root cause of the problem. It was important to help Arthur understand his core issues and bring this safely into his awareness.
Exploring a Core Issue
To proceed, I casually asked if Arthur could recall a specific event or memory relating to the emotions of being “frightened, scared and very worried”. He replied that he felt like this when he had his first heart attack at the age of 45 years old and it scared him. His cardiac consultant in the UK had advised him to “take it easy” but he found this very hard to do.
Arthur was the breadwinner of the family and felt guilty at not being able to work as hard as he did before to provide for Sue and his daughter. However, he never complained about the situation and resigned to his situation. He had at times, wanted to scream but did not do so for Sue’s sake. This inability to express his frustration and emotions, made him feel “useless”. The word “useless” was often used by his father to describe “weak and workshy men who did nothing more than whinge about their problems instead of getting on with life.” Although this was a general remark made by his father many years ago, it had unconsciously become Arthur’s benchmark and general frame of reference regarding employment, family responsibilities and his health problems. I asked if he agreed with his father’s comments and he said he did. He loved his father and in his own opinion, men who did fight shy of work, are “useless”.
I wrote down his “hot words” as being:
*Frightened, scared and worried.
To get a confirmation from Arthur, I asked him if he felt “useless, guilty, frightened, scared and worried” presently and he confirmed the affirmative.
He went on to describe his frustration at not being able to tend to his beloved roses and how much he hated looking at Sue’s plastic flowers in his garden.”It’s not fair”, was a phrase he repeated over and over again. I asked him to describe the feeling and he said,”It’s as if I’ve had my hands amputated. What’s the use, if I can no longer use my hands? I am disabled!”He began to cry but with some comforting words from Sue, he regained his composure with the words, “At least, I am still alive”. I asked if this last statement was euphoric or said in resignation to his plight to which he replied, “well I am not dead yet”.
I noted Arthur’s new “Hot words” as they emerged during our conversation and these were:
- It’s not fair
- No use of hands
- Still alive/ Not dead yet
These were highly emotive words used by Arthur to describe his current circumstances. However, I needed to collapse these feelings into one (or two) emotive words that summarised his feelings. I reflected on Gary Craig’s “table top and table legs” analogy and whilst all of Arthur’s feelings are important, they may vary in terms of intensity, discomfort, heart felt pain and negativity. Being able to “collapse” all these emotions into an “Arthur’s negative emotions grid” meant that I could address the most important and intense of these feelings first as well as place them in order of priority. (Arthur’s not mine).
I repeated the “hot words” used by Arthur and asked him to:
- Confirm (or change) the emotions expressed.
- Let me know which emotion caused him the most frustration or discomfort.
- If these words resonated with him.
Arthur said that the emotion that frustrated him most was “unfairness of it all”. This was a change from the words previously used which were, “It’s not fair”. The former metaphor showed a slight shift in emotions but it resonated better with Arthur and threw up new “Hot words” of “unfairness” and “it all”.
I asked him to explain, in his own words, what “Unfairness of it all” meant to him. This again, I explained to Arthur, was to enable me to fully understand his perspective on the situation and to avoid any presuppositions on my part and/or any misunderstanding in communication. I further explained that no two people may have the same terms of reference to the statement “unfairness of it all” and I wanted to understand his view of the statement.
Arthur elaborated that he had ignored his original cardiac consultant’s advice in the UK to slow down following his first heart attack and instead increased his work load by taking on more shift work in order to create a nest-egg for Sue and his daughter. He did so foolishly in hindsight, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do to provide for his family, should anything happen to him in the future. He was always reminded about his father’s view about being workshy and this pushed him further to succeed, which he did. He was able to provide for his family comfortably in the following years and was able to take early retirement at age 50 years, confident that there was sufficient money to see them through the years. However, since moving to Spain, he suffered subsequent heart attacks and had double by-pass surgery which meant that he was presently not able to enjoy the “fruits of his hard work” and to make matters worse, he could no longer even enjoy gardening. This was his “bug bear” and he felt “useless” all over again. This was his explanation about “unfairness of it all”.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on Oct 18, 2015.