I have a client, I will call her Megan, who had a very hard childhood with severe abuse and neglect. We have had many, many sessions focusing on different issues.
One of her main problems has been Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Especially "smelly" people, means people using ordinary soap, shower gel, deodorant, shampoo, or perfume plunged her into severe physical discomfort and instant panic attacks. When I started working with her, she was practically housebound and feeling hopeless.
After our work together, she now drives everywhere, goes to her daughter's extremely "smelly" school, talks to her son's baseball coach right after he took a shower, visits her "smelly" siblings' homes - and feels o.k. She still doesn't like the scents, but she does not go into a panic attack and can handle it.
How Did That Happen?
Well, it happened in one session, actually within minutes in that session. (I will get to the "however" later).
She had told me (and other practitioners), that when the smell hits her, it is like a switch in her brain that is being turned on. She feels the panic attack coming on, and then she is physically sick for hours or even days. We had tapped on, "Even though I have this switch in my brain," repeatedly, but it didn't have much effect.
One day, it came to me to ask her:
"How exactly does this switch look like?"
Megan said: "Like an ordinary light switch, light beige. It is flipped up when it is on."
"Well," I said. "Why don't we just fixate on it in the 'off' position? How can we do that?"
She said: "Duct tape. I am taping it down with multiple layers of duct tape right now. There is no way it can go to the on position."
From that day on, no panic attacks, only mild to moderate discomfort with those smells. I have checked in repeatedly, and the switch stays securely taped down.
Now, this begs the question: If I had come up earlier with that simple question (duh!), could we have achieved this profound release much earlier?
Actually, I don't think so.
These were the main people in her childhood who were abusive - and "smelly" (In case you wonder: Her mother was not abusive but weak, sick, and "out of it").
1. Her father, using lots of aftershave, often flew into a rage and beat his children severely. One of the painful memories was an incident, when Megan witnessed her father beating her 4 year old sister with a belt after she had eaten his jelly.
2. Her much older brother using Irish Spring soap who beat and tortured her for years.
3. Her "smelly" aunt who disliked her and let her know it in many ways. We tapped on one memory when the aunt took her daughter and Megan's sister to the circus while Megan was not invited to go with them.
4. Cruel, "smelly" foster parents (she lived with several of those) who let her freeze in the cold outside for hours and punished her for things she did not do.
5. Rich "smelly" girls in junior high school who tortured her in the restroom because she was poor and didn't belong.
We had tapped on these - and more - traumatic memories for many sessions. I do believe that all that work needed to be done before the switch was ready to be taped down.
What do you think?
Carna Zacharias-Miller is an EFT International Certified Advanced EFT practitioner in Tucson, Arizona. Her specialties are working with people who grew up in dysfunctional families, www.MissingMother.com, and introducing EFT into the dance community. Carna's new blog, www.sacredquestforlove, explores the spiritual side of emotions. You can also find her books on the site, The Way of the Ugly Duckling and, for dancers, It Takes Two To Tango.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on July 13, 2010.