"Eileen" is just 19 but she has already been through some challenges in her young life. When she first came to see me, a bout with severe depression had left her shaken. She had also experienced a brief psychosis, which had scared her a lot. Eileen had dropped out of school for a semester and had been getting treatment, hoping to become stable enough to continue her life. I saw my role as helping her process what she had been through using EFT, hypnotherapy, and the combination of the two that I call Inner Theater. I was hopeful that these tools, which engage the body-mind and the subconscious, could release some of the painful feelings and negative beliefs about herself.
In the first session, we primarily used EFT and tapped for various feelings -- lack of confidence, hopelessness, sadness, feelings of failure, etc. -- by going through specific events that she still felt bad about (things that had happened during her bad time). At the end of the session, her mother picked her up and was astounded to see the change in her. I remember her mother's words: "I left her in tears and, when I come back, she's smiling!"
After several sessions, we tried engaging her own inner imagery along with the tapping, which is the Inner Theater process. Eileen settled into my recliner and closed her eyes. I guided her to go within and to find an inner place of healing. I then asked her to get in touch with her depression and see what image might form in the healing place.
She said, "I'm lying down... and the depression is a black dome over me. I can't see through it. No light comes through. There is beautiful nature all around me, but I can't enjoy it." With her permission, I gently tapped on her using her words:
Even though there's a black dome completely over me... no light comes through... I deeply and completely accept myself... and I want to bring some healing to this.
I tapped the points:
this black dome... completely over me... no light comes through... it's so black... I can't see the beauty around me...
We did many rounds of tapping. Each time we tapped, she would report small changes, so we incorporated those in more rounds of EFT. The image and the energy seemed to be changing.
Even though there's still a black dome over me, it seems a little gray now, not so dark...
Even though I'm still lying under this black dome, I deeply accept myself, and a little light is filtering through...
Eileen was feeling calmer, feeling better. Finally, after more rounds of tapping, she reported, "The dome just shattered! It broke into pieces. I can feel the sun and see the sky!"
This inner experience felt transformative to her. I asked what was happening. "I'm getting up now. I feel free. I can walk around. Oh look! The pieces from the black dome are becoming stepping stones!"
This was very moving for us both. Eileen reported that the shattered pieces were aligning themselves to form a series of stepping stones, creating a path. She said, "I know now that everything I've been through has taught me something. I think that I can use what I've learned to help others. And I want to believe that if I go through the bad times again, that's just another stepping stone... I'll learn even more and then get better and use that too."
Eileen did have further ups and downs in her path of recovery, but the stepping stone imagery really sustained her. It gave her a great deal of hope to believe that her journey had meaning and could be used to help others. She has thought about a career in the healing arts or perhaps writing a book. She is a very creative, sensitive, and gifted person and I believe she will find her path.
One's own inner imagery is often very meaningful and becomes a part of one's inner world, like a personal healing vocabulary, or an inner refuge and source of inspiration. This is my "Inner Theater" approach and I use it frequently. It's a simple process of using the EFT tapping with the imagination, which can open us to finding meaningful personal images and transformative inner experiences.
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 offers a special EFT mentoring and support program for EFT International EFT certification 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 International.
Originally published on February 4, 2012.