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Articles & Ideas

Core Issues

Finding core issues when someone is emotionally flat lining

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

In this article, Alan Morison from the UK finds core issues for his clients in a creative way.

Hugs, Gary

By Alan Morison

It’s not always easy to find core issues as they may be well hidden and too painful to bring to the surface.  Asking pertinent questions is always useful, but what happens when that gets you nowhere?  Here are two examples of a different approach.

Reading recently about a little girl's fear of dying reminded me of a client whom I treated three years ago.  My own mini experience of his issue helped find the core issue.

'Jim' had had depression for many years but it was noticeably increasing in severity over the previous year.  He had no idea what was causing his depression and it took over 20 minutes of chatting to him, asking questions from just about every conceivable angle, to try to get a lead.  But he responded to nothing, not even 'Does this remind you of anything?', 'What would you skip over if you could lead your life again?' or 'If you could imagine the cause of your depression what do you think it might be?'

It was only when he mentioned that some elderly relatives had passed on and that made him feel worse that it reminded me of a common childhood issue which I can remember having thought about when I was 8 or 9 years old.  There is a fear that all family members might die and leave the child all alone.  In my case I mused about it and then got on with whatever I was doing at the time, never to think about it again (but I've tapped for it anyway!).

In Jim's case it became a deeply ingrained fear as he would think about it again and again.  When his relatives passed on in his later life he was reminded sharply about his original thoughts and his depression increased.  Tapping for the fears of a young boy reduced his level of intensity from 10 out of 10 to 6 out of 10 in one round.

Even though I was so afraid of being left on my own if they all died…  We used the reminder phrases:  Left on my own … Feel so alone … I'd die if no one was there to look after me … It would be horrendous … I wouldn't know what to do … I can't cook for myself … I'll die of starvation … I don't even know how to phone for help.

He remained stuck at a level of intensity of 6 out of 10 and nothing could shift it until I asked him to allow whatever was in there to come to the surface.  Instantly he started clasping his hands in anguish and he looked most uncomfortable.  I asked what was going on and he said he had caught a splinter under his finger nail when he was eleven and it was very painful - and he was really feeling it again.  

Two simple rounds of tapping for the pain in his finger reduced that to 0 out of 10 and quickly after that his depression went to zero as well, as we tapped for the remaining feelings of being left alone.  He left smiling from ear to ear and could hardly believe how good he felt.  I wonder how many adults are still influenced by that childhood thought.

Another client smilingly called herself a former 'flat liner' and I have stuck to that expression which aptly describes people who cannot access their true feelings and emotions.  They may smile a little and even enjoy a joke but try to get them to really tune into a past event or rate the intensity of an old experience and they cannot do it.  Their feelings are like the oscilloscope that produces a flat line when no signal is detected.

This of course makes things hard for the therapist!  Thankfully there are many different approaches in EFT to finding the core issue and below is one which worked successfully.

'May' had already been for counselling and had had Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatment - none of which had helped - so when she came to me she knew exactly the cause of her distress.  Despite her efforts, she was unable to access the emotions related to her mother leaving the family when she was 15.  Her Mum had often said she would leave one day but would take her children with her.  When it came to the day, however she left on her own with not even a word of farewell, leaving a letter instead.

We began the session having decided on the setup phrase but May just looked at the wall with that distant look in her eyes and repeated the reminder statement flatly:

Even though I feel so betrayed because my mother didn't take me with her when she left...

There was no change and no response and her original level of intensity of 10 out of 10 remained despite varying the setup statement.  Nothing we did could get May away from that flat line of emotions.  So I said we could try a different approach if she agreed.  We were going to tap her as if she was her mother.  She was OK with that and we set up the routine as follows:

Even though I know I promised to take you and it cut me to the quick to leave you as I did…

While tapping the points we used the reminder phrases: I couldn't do anything else … I just had to make a clean break …I couldn't stay with your father a moment longer … It hurt so much to leave you both behind … I was doing the best I could given the circumstances.

In an instant May was right into her emotions, and seeing things for the first time from a different point of view.  She was now able to understand her mother much more (knowing how difficult her father was to live with) and she had no difficulty forgiving her.  When the flat line was removed other related issues now started popping up, related to father and his influence on the family (Writings on Walls) but her level of intensity on these issues went to 0 out of 10 pretty quickly and the session lasted only an hour.

May left transformed and she dropped me an email to say how much she was now enjoying being her true self, having shed the baggage of the past which she had carried for 35 years.

When I give talks on EFT I mention how EFT helps people to see things from a different perspective.  When you change your perspective, you change your experience.  And when you change your experience your whole world moves into a different, better place.

Alan Morison


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