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Using EFT for a 9 year old girl diagnosed as bipolar and as having reactive attachment disorder

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Baerbel Froehlin shows us her initial work with Amanda, an angry 9 year old child who has been diagnosed as bipolar and as having reactive attachment disorder. This is a sophisticated case that will require more time. You will appreciate Baerbel's initial results and the creative way she handles it.

Hugs, Gary

By Baerbel Froehlin, CHt./HypnoCoach, EFT-ADV

Hi Gary!

Following is a letter from Louann, who came to me with her 9-year-old daughter Amanda. Amanda is chinese; she was adopted when she was 9 month old. Louann wanted me to write about her daughter because there is a good chance that there are many more cases of adopted chinese girls out there that have problems with anger as they get older.

Amanda would have severe rage tantrums, where she'd hit and kick her parents, especially her mom. She would scream for an hour, hitting anyone near her. Nothing could calm her down or stop her screaming until she was "done". It was exhausting and very painful, emotionally and physically especially for her mom; it would happen more than once a week with Amanda being totally out of control. She has no friends because of her fits; all kids and their parents are scared of her.

"My daughter, Amanda, is not quite 10 years old and has had 5 years of therapy. One year play therapy, 3 years of holding therapy and 1 year of talk therapy. The diagnosis is bipolar disease and reactive attachment disorder.

She throws violent fits several times per week. She is treated by a child psychiatrist and is heavily medicated. At our wits end we decided to try EFT with Baerbel Froehlin of Smooth Changes Therapies. We have had two sessions and are already seeing more improvement than with all the other therapies combined.

We still have a long way to go, but for the first time in many years we have hope that the fits may be stopped and our daughter can have a normal life.


The moment Amanda and her mom came into my office we all started tappping on the sternum. We all kept doing that until they left. Whatever was said or talked about, we all tapped constantly.

When asked what she felt in her body when she was really angry, Amanda said "tight and very hungry." That made a lot of sense to me; she had been found on the street as a tiny baby and was taken to an orphanage, where she stayed until she was adopted.

I had Amanda raise her arms and shout with me again and again "I am very angry" until I noticed subtle changes in her face. We then followed with "I am angry and I'm very hungry" until she started weeping. Her mom watched in disbelief because she had only seen her daughter weeping maybe 3 times in the entire time she'd known her. Also, she had not known that Amanda felt hungry when angry. So we decided that from now on Amanda would always have some snack in her pocket, when she'd be in school, in case she ever got hungry (angry) while away from home.

She seemed to like that; she nodded repeatedly and even smiled a little beautiful smile.

All this happened during the first 15 minutes of our first session.

Amanda then drew me a picture of what angry and happy looks like to her. By then she eagerly followed whatever I asked her to do.  I suggested that both she and her mom did a few rounds of tapping each night when Amanda gets tucked in.

We ended the first session tapping on

Even though I am very hungry …. I'm a cool kid.
Even though I am hungry when I'm angry …. I promise to eat my snacks ….. because I'm a very cool kid.
Eating makes me feel good …. and I won't have to scream and hit my mom.
Even though I feel very angry sometimes …. and I scare the other kids in school …. from now on I will eat when I'm hungry ... eating calms me down ….and make me feel much better …. because I don't want the others to be scared of me ….. I want them to be my friends.

I love my mom ….. I don't want to hurt my mom …. because she loves me very much … just like I love her.

At this point she went over to her mom, hugged her and told her she was sorry and she loved her very much.

During the week between sessions she had another anger fit, but this time no hitting or kicking. She just screamed for one whole hour, which was terrible enough for her parents. The reasons for her screaming are always little things, when she gets told she can't do or have something, or when her routine is being changed. Amanda cannot cope with changes easily; she just throws a huge fit when confronted with something unexpected.

From my own experiences earlier in life I know that a human being, behaving like Amanda, is in great pain. Those anger tantrums are a cry for help; there is enormous pressure behind them.

Before she came to see me she would not accept that her mom held her or comforted her in any way during her fits. I now have mom tap on herself - Amanda so far can't be touched during her screaming fits - shouting "I am so angry, I am tapping, and very soon I can calm down and feel better again". The last fit was very much shorter, no hitting or kicking, and mom got her to laugh and stop as she was tapping right in front of her. That was progress big time as that had never happened before! 

We established a new rule for now that Amanda goes out into the yard if she feels a fit coming on. She will yell there something like "I am so angry…. but I am going to tap now…. I soon will calm down and breathe out that anger devil, so the sweet person can come out!" We are working with a stuffed toy devil, red, with big horns and a big mouth. When the mouth is opened, you can see a tiny little bear inside that we call "the sweet person". From our role play she knows  that the sweet person inside the anger devil is afraid to come out when the angry screaming is happening. Funny thing is that this toy came from Starbuck's in Tokyo. Makes me think ……..

I feel that this girl will only accept what makes sense to her. That's definitely a challenge for her parents every day, but it's fine with me in our time together. Amanda is a highly intelligent child and comes from a very different culture. All that needs to be considered in order to understand and connect with her. She very much likes to come to our sessions; each time she draws pictures about the last anger tantrum, and we tap and talk about what happened. She now weeps more often, which is a sign that doors inside her are opening.

In her third session we talked and tapped at the same time, as I told her the story of anger devil and how he became so angry (basically, it's her own story) and how he was abandoned on the street, feeling very afraid and hungry until this women with a huge, big loving heart came from a country far away, picked him from a room, crowded with many, many others and took him home to safety. 

Amanda cries as she taps and listens, and as she holds him to comfort him.

I have no doubts that one day soon she will be (almost) like all the other girls out there.
It helps a lot for me to remember my own anger fits as a child in a dysfunctional family. I used to keep other members of my family away from me by screaming endlessly, scream and scream until there was no strength, no air left at all in me. I so understand Amanda and the pain, that needs to come out.

Isn't this some wonderful thing that the universe has sent me this girl?

I will keep you posted about Amanda's development.

Much love to all!

Baerbel Froehlin, CHt./HypnoCoach, EFT-ADV

More articles on Children's Issues


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