I was working with a client (“Mary”) on a specific memory recently. As she began to tell the very first sequence of her story using the Tell the Story Technique, the part “before the incident”, she was sitting alone in a room calling out to someone. I asked if there was any emotion and she said that there was sadness (7/10) and she could feel a pressure in her upper chest.
We tapped a couple of rounds on the physical sensation of the pressure itself as well as the emotion it but it didn’t shift at all. I thought that maybe it was related to what she knew was coming in the next part of the story as our subconscious minds often get there ahead of us. With that in mind, I encouraged her to keep narrating. I expected that once we’d cleared the rest of the event the pressure would be gone when we came back to replay the beginning of the scene.
After we’d been through the entire story one time and removed all the emotion, I had Mary go back to imagine her beginning situation, sitting alone and calling out. She said that as soon as she replayed that part, surprise, the pressure was back in her chest at the same intensity.
I was fascinated as we’d already been working for quite a while and released a lot of emotion related to the event. In a second attempt to release the pressure, I asked her to tell me what colour and shape this sensation might be if she could see it. She gave me black and oval.
We tapped and it shifted. Now there was no shape but it was red. The pressure she felt, though, stayed the same. The emotion was fear. We tapped a few more rounds and, though the images shifted somewhat and the emotion appeared to have changed, nothing seemed to move in the pressure level that Mary felt in her chest. It remained identical whenever we went back to the original image. It just wouldn’t budge.
This rarely happens with EFT, that things don’t shift at all, so I was beginning to be concerned that I was missing something. I couldn’t think of that many ways I could use to clear this pressure if working on the emotion, the sensation, the colour and the shape wasn’t working. She did not consciously know what was causing it.
Finally, I suggested that she either draw a picture or give me a metaphor that described the sensation more specifically. Having just done a type of visualization around the problem, I really felt I was grasping at straws but I wanted to be sure I had covered all the bases.
What Mary described was a cast iron plate pressing on her chest. We tapped this round:
“Even though I have this cast iron plate pressing on my upper chest, I completely love and accept myself.”
I kept the reminder phrases simple: “This cast iron plate”, “This pressure on my upper chest”, “This cast iron plate on my chest” and, I don’t remember exactly, but I may have mentioned the title we were using for the specific event which was “Bumped Around in the Hallway”.
After this one round, she felt a significant lessening of the pressure (finally!); describing the image now as one of a smaller, thinner, lighter sheet of metal so we did a round on that. I did not get a numeric SUDs reading from her as I felt the images and the sensations spoke for themselves as we worked through them.
Following that round she indicated that the only thing left was the four rivets that had held the plate in place. It was very clear to her where they were on her body so we did a round on the four rivets.
What was left in the end was what she called scar tissue. She was specific that the rivets had been on the outside of the body, the scar tissue was inside. At this point in the tapping, I added some phrasing from the FasterEFT protocols about releasing and letting go as we tapped the points.
As a final test, I asked her to go back to the original image of sitting and calling out and there was no pressure on her chest. Yay!
It was very gratifying to have finally been able to help her release that sensation.
This experience reminded me of two significant things about doing this work:
1. It’s really important to have more than one approach available to you. Don’t be content with the basics or the minimum. Always strive to learn more; adding multiple useful tools to your toolbox. You never know when you’ll need them.
2. Perseverance can really be key. Don’t give up! Apply everything that you know to the problem, even if the approach seems similar to something you’ve already tried. Have the client: name the emotions, feel the sensations, pick charged words, describe abstract concepts, use metaphor, make a drawing, etc. You never know which key will turn in the lock, only the client’s subconscious does.
So, to recap: Have as many different types of approaches at your disposal as possible AND don’t give up until you’ve thrown all of those approaches at the problem.
EFT International Certified EFT Practitioner
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on Feb 22, 2014.