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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a client's "hidden issues?"

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

How do I find a client's "hidden issues?"

Hi Everyone,

Here is a question I received from an Australian therapist (names withheld on request). It asks for ways to address client issues that appear to be "hidden" to both the client and the practitioner. Following the question, I propose several thoughts and methods that you may find useful.

Hugs, Gary

P.S. You can gain more insight into this problem by also reading, How do you help a "non-feeling" client?

Hello, Gary

I am treating a man who has cancer. The cancer is of a kind that cannot be treated by chemotherapy or by radiation. He has come to me to be treated because he believes (hopes) that Energy Psychology techniques might help him.

He has also heard that most cancers are caused by a trauma. The "problem" is that he can't recall having had any traumas, and he can't feel any anxiety about the illness.

I have used the EFT Basic Recipe, on "even though I have this cancer.." (I know it's a very global statement...) "even though I have this low energy", and also I have "Forced him" to find some old experiences that he could remember were bad for him. ("even though my son began smoking..." ,"even though I was grounded because I made the girl take off all her clothes when we played doctor and patient..")

I have used brainstorming techniques on "cancer" - like afraid of spreading, afraid of cancer in this and that organ, afraid of dying, afraid of hurting others, etc. But I haven't been able to find any aspect that gets the 0-10 intensity up.

Thus the real issues here seem hidden and I haven't a clue if I'm on the right track or not. Could you please give me some advice?


Who knows if we are ever on the right track? Sometimes we have to keep coming after a problem from different approaches until we achieve some success.

It is my non-medical view that most of our ailments are manifestations of unresolved emotional issues (not just from trauma, as your client supposes). This includes cancer and most other degenerative diseases.

But remember, that is my non-medical view. It comes from watching physical symptoms subside as we resolve the guilts, fears, angers, traumas, etc. that build up over a lifetime. There can be other causes, of course, but going down the emotional avenue has produced partial to complete results so often that, to me, healing practitioners should put it on top of their "cause pile."

Your client can't find anything that brings up intensity. Maybe he has led a pristine and sheltered life, but that's not likely. The mere fact that he has cancer is evidence, at least to me, that something important is unresolved.

He may be repressing something or is just so used to living with certain emotional states that he thinks they are normal (thus not worthy of resolving). Unless these things are explored with the client, they will go unnoticed and continue to limit the client's life. Examples of this may include...

***A feeling of inadequacy because he never matched up to what he thinks his parents or society expected of him. This can be a big one and the client is often unaware of it.

***A "forgotten fear" that was established in childhood and is carried over to the adult belief system. This could be something as simple as a monster movie seen on television. Dracula or Frankenstein, for example, could generalize to, "You never know who people REALLY are. No one can be trusted." I know that's not logical but people tend not to respond according to logic. They usually respond emotionally, however irrational that may be.

***This category can also include a long list of emotional issues that the client has put on the back burner because of his belief that nothing can be done about them anyway.

Other possibilities include (1) having a deep set guilt for something he has done (or didn't do) and he simply doesn't want to discuss it or look at it and (2) your client thinking he has "sinned" and thus, according to his religious persuasion, God may be out to get him. These can be difficult to uncover because they seem soooo normal to the client. This "God thing" underlies more issues than we might think. It is, in many cases, an important, but undiscussed, core issue

Getting to these "hidden issues" often requires experience and artistic approaches. In addition to relying on my intuition, I find the following questions quite useful in uncovering hidden or core issues....

"If you could live life over again, what person or event would you prefer to skip?"

"When was the last time you cried and why?"

"Who/what makes you angry and why?"

"What is your biggest sadness or regret?"

"What is missing to make your life perfect?"

"Name 3 fears you would rather not have."

"Will you be going to heaven?"

"What do you wish you had never done?"

These often take us down useful avenues toward core issues. Sometimes the answers place guilt on something outside of the client....e.g. "Joe ridiculed me." However, such responses are usually outer projections of an inner state and it is that inner state that needs to be addressed. In my example, Joe likely triggered some past event within the client and that past event often holds the key to meaningful healing. Good detective work will find it.

Hope this helps, Gary


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.