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AT 315 pounds, Tanya is a VERY big 12 year old.

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

The "art of delivery" is often discussed on this list. Indeed, it is what separates the wannabes from the Masters. Although it can take many sophisticated forms, sometimes this art is nothing more than persistently caring and "hangin' in there" with someone. When we do this, love takes over and the way to approach the problem just "shows up." I've seen this many times where the client seems impossible and then, after persistence, the right phrase appears. It's like magic.

Ann Adams has had plenty of experience "hangin' in there" with her clients. So much so that she has developed a facility for generating instant rapport with the Severely Emotionally Disturbed children who are housed within her residential facility. To an outside observer, Ann's ability to quickly get to the heart of the matter may seem routine. However, it comes from many persistent, caring sessions with "her children."

Here's an example.

Hugs, Gary

by Ann Adams

"Tanya" is twelve years old. She is big for her age. At 315 pounds, she is VERY big for her age. She came to us (a residential facility for Severely Emotionally Disturbed children) from the Juvenile Justice system after being expelled from school for beating up a boy, taking his pants off and tossing the pants out the window. The boy had continued to tease Tanya and ask her to "suck his thing." Tanya says she "just lost it" because she was determined the boy was not going to do anything to her. Why would a twelve year old girl "lose it" to that degree over being propositioned? Because she had been molested at an early age when she could not control the situation. She was determined not to be helpless again.

More recently, Tanya's mother called to tell her daughter she was planning to marry again. Tanya thought the man was "worthless" and told her mother not to marry him. They got into a verbal argument on the phone. Tanya hung up on her mother and became very upset. Later when she threatened to kill herself she was placed on suicide precautions on the unit. This means she stays within eyesight of staff, was kept home from school and was not eligible for any off-unit activities until reassessed for suicide risk. Usually these restrictions only last one day but at times a child remains upset for several days.

So, with this as background, I walked into Tanya's room making enough noise to wake her up.

My heart went out to her. Here was this unattractive, 315 pound 'little' girl, supposedly cruel, obnoxious and considered dangerous, sleeping curled up with a teddy bear! I started off with the deeply therapeutic, highly skilled comment I frequently make with an upset child, "Hi!", I said.

She turned over and glared at me.

"I sleep with my teddy bear too," I said. Which IS true - sort of! "Teddy bears are very comforting when you are upset," I added. Tanya sat up in the bed, her face softened. I grabbed at my chance. "How did you get yourself on suicide precautions?" I asked.

She told me she had been talking to her mother and got mad. I asked what part of the conversation upset her the most. She said when her mother told her she just had to "deal with it." (Could we have here another example of where she was not in control?)

"Ya know, I have this really great way to stop being upset." This sort of comment always gets an upset child's attention. "What is it?" Tanya asked. I did a half smile and replied. "I usually use it with adults, but sometimes I teach it to kids too. I guess you are old enough." THAT almost always gets children her age.

"Are you game to try it; it is sort of strange? It is like a relaxation exercise." All our kids have been in therapy before coming to our facility. They have usually been taught relaxation exercises. "It works really well to calm you down quickly so you can think more clearly about your problem." I don't wait for an answer. I just start tapping on the side of my hand. She follows my lead but looks at me questioningly.

"How much less trouble would you get into if you could calm yourself down whenever you wanted to?" She gets an oh-wow-a-lot look on her face. "You game?" I asked again. She shrugged her shoulders in agreement. We continue tapping for a few seconds on the side of the hand. I always tap, or rub the sore spot, for several seconds before I go any further. If there is any situation in which you should assume psychological reversal, it is with our emotionally 'challenged' children. This also gives me time to assess their level of cooperation. Most kids will tap the side of their hand with me. I watch their reaction closely. If they are cooperative I have no problem with the set up and going through the process. If they are resistant I go a different route.

When I asked her how upset she was with having to deal with her mother's choice, she said a 10 on a 0 to 10 point scale. So we tap for:

"Even though I have to 'deal with it', I am a good person."

"Even though I do not have control of my mother, I deeply and completely accept myself."

"Even though I have to deal with my mother's choices, I deeply and completely accept myself."

I try to reframe the problem with different words to keep it interesting and to increase the chances that one will really hit home. We then tapped through the points three times. I said the reminder phrase "have to deal with it" for her.

When conducting the process, especially for the first time, I frequently say the set up and the reminder phrase for them. The number of times I go through the set up and tapping sequence without stopping varies on my assessment of how they are doing. I go for success, not perfection of the process and I watch for subtle signs of improvement.

She appeared calmer so I asked her to think about "having to deal with it" and asked how upset about it she was now. She said a one. "Great! Let's do it one more time and get rid of it." We tapped to "even though I can not control my mother's behavior, I deeply and completely accept myself." I added in the forgiveness step where I had her forgive herself and her mother. She readily complied.

Tanya then reported that it didn't bother her anymore. She said her sister needed her and her grandmother. She said that her mother will probably need her too but if she couldn't do anything about her mother she could still help her sister and grandmother. She started to talk about things she wanted to do when she "got out". I love watching the cognitive shifts EFT can bring. She was now feeling useful to others and planning for the future. Such thoughts were certainly not how she described the situation in the first part of our conversation.

We talked about how she was adapting on the unit - only been here 2 months. I helped her write down the EFT process in her journal. We talked about ways she could use the tapping.

When I left the unit she was drawing and laughing with staff. Did I cure her of all her many issues forever? No way. Did she resolve one issue about her mother? Absolutely.

Ann Adams

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