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Articles & Ideas

Using EFT

Using EFT for mother 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Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Hi Everyone,

Carna Zacharias-Miller specializes in emotional problems emanating from "mother issues." In this article she describes her methods for helping a client become much more comfortable with herself. Note that severe acne was one of the client's physical symptoms and, while that problem has not subsided (yet), she is far more comfortable about her appearance.

Hugs, Gary

By Carna Zacharias-Miller

Dear Gary,

"Melissa" was in total despair when she chose to contact me because I work with women who grew up with a physically or - more often - emotionally unavailable mother. In our preliminary talk, she said that it felt like her mother didn't like her, didn't want her to be happy, and was never, ever on her side. Melissa was fearful to move forward in a business she had just set up, suffered from asthma, and hated herself for the condition of her acne skin.

We started the first session with a round of "this constricted breathing" to calm her, and I recommended it as a complementary treatment for her asthma.

I often use a short guided imagery to connect a client with her inner child on a very direct, emotional level. Usually, this unearths deep, painful, core feelings like abandonment and loneliness. In this case, Missy, a happy, cheerful 6 year old popped up! Before I could express my surprise, Melissa went into a level of intensity of 10 out of 10 for deep grief with a constricted throat about the loss of herself in her early childhood. We tapped several rounds on the grief, the loss of happiness, the loss of joy and innocence, until we reached an intensity level of 0 or 1 on a scale of 0 to 10.

So, what had happened to this happy, little girl? She got "killed "by her mother. A memory came up, when mother forced Missy to wear to school one morning an ugly dress that she hated, and we used the Movie Technique to release it:

Even though what I wanted, didn't matter...

Even though she needed to dominate me...

Even though she was trying to kill me...

As for homework, I asked Melissa to daydream frequently about Happy Missy (as we called her) and connect emotionally with this self-expressed, joyful, young version of herself. (Tuning into the needs of the inner child on an imaginary level, holding her, talking to her, playing with her, is a healing follow-up practice).

At the beginning of the next session, Melissa told me that she had tapped on "this constricted breathing" when a severe, midnight asthma attack was coming on, and she did not have to use her strong medication. We thought that was great. However, emotionally, she was still "a mess". When I asked her about Happy Missy, she expressed anger and grief. "I can't go there, I am not that person anymore, I can't stay with that happy part, I feel only the loss of the person I was then." We tapped on the anger and grief in her chest and throat. Then feelings of anger, sadness, and humiliation at her mother came up, and we tapped many rounds on it.

Even though my mother made me let down my best friend...

Even though she would not let me shave my legs and made me wear these ugly socks and heavy shoes...

Even though she just did not care about my feelings...

At the end, when I let my intuition take over, we achieved a breakthrough.

Even though I had to sacrifice Missy for scraps of attention from my mother...

Even though when I connect with Missy, I give up all hope to be loved by my mother because she hates Missy...

Even though I have this conflict...

Completing this round, Melissa could see and feel the little girl (her true self) clearly, and she has maintained that connection ever since.

Melissa had revealed her history of severe acne and the intense negative emotions connected with it throughout the first sessions. Now it was time to zoom in on this hot issue.

The acne had started when she was 13 years old. The effects of it and the search for a treatment have been the all-consuming focus of her life. Some of the many treatments she tried just made things much worse. "I can never fix my face, and I hate it", she said. She has been covering her face with makeup, and very few people have ever seen her without it.

A memory with the level of intensity of 10 on our scale of discomfort came up: One day in high school, she entered the locker room after a fun gym class  - she saw her face in the mirror. "My skin looked so awful, it was as if somebody dropped a 1000 ton ball on my head."

We tapped on the disgust, the anger, the grief, the fear, the shock, and her mother saying: "I never had acne." We tapped on being "the ugly thing", the devastation when a botched chemical peel intended to improve her skin made everything worse ("I thought of suicide"), We tapped on the constant feeling of strain and tension in her body, on "these acne feelings" when she was looking into a mirror. It was very intense, very emotional.

Finally, after many rounds of tapping, I tested our work: I asked Melissa to imagine looking into a mirror and see her face without makeup. At first, she could not imagine it. But then there was a long pause and she said: "I can't feel anything about it. That horrible feeling is not there anymore." Then she said that she felt disoriented, since "these acne feelings" had been such a big part of her life. "Who am I? It's scary. But I do feel more like Missy".

Then she said that there was a constriction in her throat: "I can't endure the way other people look at me!". Since our session was coming to an end, I gave her a "Choices" statement as homework: Even though I still have some of these "acne feelings", I choose to let go of this burden and look at my face with emotional detachment.

In an email update to me, Melissa reported that the horrible feelings about her skin were completely gone, but that she felt like she was in a "dead zone". In the next session, we explored this dead zone. It was an emptiness, a void in her heart and head that she described as a vacuum waiting to be filled again. She said that she always had been this person with acne, and now she did not quite know who she was anymore.

We brought the dead zone feelings from an 8 to a 2 on a scale of 0 to 10, then more childhood memories came up, and we released during this and the next session more painful, humiliating events, all centered around parents who did not care, controlled her every move, and disrespected her feelings. At the end, she was ready to move forward in life and with her business.

After our last of five, very intense sessions and an acne laser treatment, Melissa gave me this feedback in an e-mail:

"I went outside this morning in the daylight with no makeup and my face still red and some scabbing on it to walk 2 blocks to the mailbox. I felt very calm, pretty unselfconscious, and basically OK about how I might appear. Pre-EFT, I would have wrapped my head up in a scarf and skulked down the sidewalk, in terror that I would pass someone on the sidewalk, be seen by anyone. Now, WHO CARES! "


"The Missing Mother Handbook - How to heal childhood abandonment and rejection". Get the e-book with audio recordings at


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