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Articles & Ideas


How racism can lead to health problems and what to do about it

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

Hi Everyone,

It should be no surprise that the deep emotional responses to racial prejudice can result in physical problems. Paul Zelizer gives us a classic example of this problem and shows how to use EFT to help resolve it. I add a helpful comment near the end.

Hugs, Gary

By Paul Zelizer, MA, EFT-ADV

Lately, I have had a reminder about how our clients can be our biggest teachers.  Janice came to see me because one of my specializations is working with people with health issues.  In exploring the underlying causes of her health problems, it became apparent that the effects of racism had contributed much of the negative charge that lay beneath these problems.  Janice is an African American woman.

When asked about her health problems, Janice described a wide range of symptoms.  She stated that she felt a high degree of stress and anxiety and feelings of dread in new situations.  In addition to these emotional symptoms, Janice also reported having stomach problems and bouts of severe headaches.  At times, these symptoms would become so overwhelming that she would wind up in bed for days.

In EFT we are trained to look for negative charge.  As Janice and I explored, we found that there were charged emotions from both racist events in her childhood as well as current situations where she had to deal with racism.  Fear, anger and isolation were some of the feelings she described.

For example, Janice came to one of our sessions after an incident where a white woman who she thought was a friend made a negative comment about black parents.  Here’s how we used EFT:

Even though I’m angry about what she said, I willing to treat myself with kindness and compassion.

Even though I just want to disappear when people make these kind of comments and I have no idea how to respond, I’m willing to consider that carrying around the charge isn’t good for my health.

Even though I don’t know how the hell  to respond to these kind of racist statements and it’s like my brain just freezes, I’m willing to consider the possibility that I can find a way to feel more skillful.

This is just one example of many we have worked on in our sessions.  I would estimate that about 60 - 70% of our session time has focused on the theme of racism.  It’s like we have been clearing her body of a lifetime of accumulated negative charge that has resulted from being a black woman living in a racist society.

GC COMMENT: Another very effective way to approach this issue is to identify several specific events from childhood having to do with inadequacy, embarrassment, fear, anger, etc. These are often the fundamental experiences on which everything else rests.

Over the course of a number of sessions, Janice has seen big changes in her physical and mental health.  For instance, Janice reports feeling calmer, less stressed, and more able to emotionally handle difficult situations.

She also reports healing what she calls “a split personality” that she developed as a way to survive the racism she experienced.  Janice has more energy, breathes in a more relaxed manner and carries herself in a more relaxed way.  Her headaches and stomach problems are markedly improved.  She reports, “I know how to immediately re-route the negative feelings that I used to internalize and begin to be more kind to myself and understanding of others.”

In addition to EFT, I also do social justice work and am aware of the disparities in health between African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and other people of color as compared to white people living in the United States.  However, until Janice arrived in my office, I never thought of using EFT to help with this situation.

After our session today, I spoke with Janice.  I told her that the EFT community was tens of thousands of people strong and that there are EFT practitioners all over the world.  Yet, I was not aware of people using EFT in this way.  I asked her if she would be OK if I shared her story to help other practitioners start to think about using EFT to help clear the negative effects of racism.  She replied with an enthusiastic, “Please do!”

Paul Zelizer


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