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Other Emotional Issues


Persistence and a challenging case - Incest, abuse, depression, anxiety attacks, nightmares and flashbacks

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

Study this detailed article by EFT Master Sophia Cayer. It is about one of those clients that have seemingly endless issues. These are challenging cases, of course, and require many EFT sessions before things clear. Such clients present opportunities to enhance our Mastery of EFT as they will bring up new issues at nearly every turn. What is so beautiful about this article is that Sophia takes us through the process step-by-step and shows us many ways to address these challenges.

Hugs, Gary

By Sophia Cayer, EFT Master

This is one of several complex cases I will be sharing with you.  I offer these to encourage your persistence, even when it may seem as if you are getting nowhere.  Most of the time persistence and “following the trails” as they present themselves represent the keys to success.

Another important point when it comes to complex cases, is to recognize when it is time to seek the expertise of a professional.

Many lament their discouragement when attempting to work through their own personal complex situations.  We all need to accept the fact that even though EFT is a wonderful self-empowerment tool that can aid us in overcoming a multitude of things on our own, sometimes we need to bow to someone with more experience and accomplished in the art of delivery.

I hope that you will find these articles beneficial in developing your art of delivery and your own personal skills. 


Andrea (not her real name) contacted me about the possibility of working with EFT because of constant anxiety and sadness.  Without sharing what the contributing factors were, she told me that for more than 10 years she had worked with counselors, psychologist, various alternative therapies, meditation and had made little progress.  In many instances, she said she ended up feeling worse. She was skeptical at best, and wanted to give it some thought before diving in. The thought of trying one more thing without positive results seemed unbearable.

Months went by before I heard from her.  When things had reached critical mass and she was at a complete loss she called.   Andrea told me that a friend had talked her into trying a “special therapy”, and it sent her into the worst state she could ever remember.  The anxiety was turning into anxiety attacks and the sadness had become a deep depression.  Being self-employed, this was presenting some real problems. 

With every passing day she was finding it more difficult to get out of bed.  She wanted to hide in bed all day.  When she would finally make it to the office, she found it almost impossible to do the work that for so long had been her passion.  Faced with the fact that if she didn’t resolve this she would lose her business and felt she could lose her mind, she was finally ready to give EFT a try.

She arrived for her first session and had yet to give me any background information or tell me what compelled her to go through years of therapy.  She had been very guarded in our previous conversations and avoided the subject. 

As we began to chat, before she revealed any information, she began to sob uncontrollably.  With no set-up language, I began to tap surrogately and console her at the same time, in an effort to help her regain her composure. This went on for quite some time, because each time she became a little calmer, the intensity would rise and the sobbing would resume. Periodically, she was sobbing so hard that she began to experience difficulty breathing. 

I continued to tap surrogately, and encouraged her to tap with me when she felt she could.  Here is some of the language I incorporated while tapping……..

“Even though I am overcome with this deep sadness, I choose peace within” 

“Even though all of this is just too painful to deal with…..” 

“Even though I am afraid that Sophia may take me into places I am not sure I am equipped to deal with…” 

“Even though the thought of dealing with these memories is just too much for me..”

Eventually, she was breathing easier and the tears subsided for a few minutes.  She then began to convey that she had been the victim of various forms of abuse and incest. And once again, she went into a state of uncontrollable, inconsolable crying. We tapped again for several minutes until she managed to regain her composure.  

I then learned that part of the immediate challenge was that since she went for the “special therapy”, she was experiencing flashbacks that triggered “episodes”. The flashbacks weren’t coming one event at a time, but as she described it: “running through my mind like snapshots on a movie reel, with each picture being a different event.”  

She described the pictures as quite vivid and said they had her feeling as if she were re-experiencing the trauma of all the events simultaneously. This had become a daily occurrence, with no pattern.  She had no idea when it might occur, or how long an episode might last. As she attempted to share more information, the tears began again.  This time not as intensely, so I was able to gain more of her cooperation and attention as we began to work through it.  Here are a few of the lines we used:  

“Even though there are too many pictures constantly flashing through my mind.., I choose peace within” 

“Even though these flashbacks have stolen my power and my peace, I choose to feel calm and relaxed.”    

“Even though I am overcome by all the emotions evoked by these pictures…..” 

“Even though this movie won’t stop replaying……” 

“Even though I never know when to expect these flashbacks…”

While we were making progress, our first few sessions were very challenging, with most of them beginning in a similar manner. The instant she would sit down in the chair, the tears would start to flow before we could begin! (At one point I was tempted to move the chair out! How could this keep happening?) So far, there seemed to be no way to introduce “The Tearless Trauma Technique” (not trying to be funny here!?) or to try “Sneaking Up” on a specific event.  The opportunities just weren’t presenting themselves.  Sometimes we just have to start where they are and move more slowly.

Persistence was required, but she began to experience the flashbacks less frequently and it was becoming a little easier to work through things.  Here are a couple of the phrases we worked with to overcome it:

“Even though my mind is so flooded with these memories, that I feel  peace is impossible…….” 

“Even though I feel completely overwhelmed by the idea of dealing with this, it is simply too much……..”

Need I express my great joy when things progressed beyond this point?

Bear in mind that after all this time, I still knew next to nothing about her experiences.

Now the story begins to unfold.  She was adopted, as were all her siblings, and according to Mom and Dad, they were to appear “The Ideal All American Family” at all times.  What went on behind closed doors however, was another story. 

It began at such an early age, she could not recall the first incident, but we began by working through the overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame in a global manner, because she was unable to focus on a particular event.  It began so early and was so frequent that she had a very difficult time sorting out events.  She described the feeling as that of  “battered wife syndrome” with “constant mental, physical and emotional abuse”.

She found herself constantly feeling responsible for healing mom, dad and relationships.  She said she felt that she was weak because she couldn’t break the pattern and was constantly beating herself up.

She also found herself unable to maintain a relationship or have any relationship that didn’t end up being abusive on one level or another. 

Her inability to focus on anything for any length of time had her jumping from one subject to another, and I never knew what to expect in the next moment. 

She had a flashback to a particular event, and became quite emotional as she described it as “ Freaky far out S_____! That put me in danger.”  She couldn’t talk anymore.  So we began to tap.

“Even though  I had this terrifying experience, (she in tears) that put me in danger...”  

We got beyond that flashback, and then she began to tell me about the pain she was experiencing due to no more communication with her folks after she found the courage to confront them.  She shared that after that, she always felt they had some energetic, psychic kind of energy, control over her.  

Then through tears, Andrea proceeded to describe one of her nightmares: “What I saw happening to me, I was waking up and felt someone attacking me.  Like an alien entity enveloped me and took me away, as if they were stealing me. It still feels real dark.   I didn’t understand it. There was no safe place to go.  I could see entities feeding off the energies of being sexually abused by Mom and Dad.  Terrifying scary entities attaching to me.  I felt like I was trying to wake from the dream. Why was this that happened to me?  I could feel it, like here, real.  Trying to wake from the dream, but feeling as if I couldn’t move my limbs, terrified, trapped, frozen in time.”

As I could hear and see the intensity building, I encouraged her to tap:

“Even though I feel frozen in time, trapped…..Even though  I feel frozen in time, trapped by this  entity. .Even though I feel terrified……..Terrified, overwhelmed, overpowered, frozen, frozen in this energy……”.

She then switched to a neighbor who had been involved with the abuse. She couldn’t relate a story.  She said that he, his brother and their little “minions” were doing their best to distract her.  “I can feel their energy in my aura.”

“Even though they are doing their best to distract me, and keep me from getting over this…..”  

“Even though I have this remaining energy hanging out in my aura, I choose to release it, I choose peace…….” 

“Even though I am haunted by the energy of _________ and his minions.”

Breakthrough session:  Andrea arrived with great determination to dump the remaining baggage.  A weekend event triggered more memories, and she was feeling frustrated and ready to be done with it. She told me: “I feel as if Pandora’s box has been opened. I want to let go of this deep sadness and grief inside me…..get to the bottom….I am feeling broken hearted and hopeless.  Cellular memories are in my body holding the sexual abuse with my family and…..” the tears began to flow, and we start tapping immediately to decrease her distress.

Here is the “run-on, non-stop stream” we followed.
”Even though I feel overwhelmed by the size of this task, there is too much inside of me….how could I get through this, I love and accept.  I am trusting myself, I am trusting Sophia, and I am trusting the Universe, to help me work through this……….with ease and grace, with little pain, I don’t need to carry this anymore, it no longer serves a purpose…..I am taking my power and my joy back……I choose to be whole and happy…….” 

“Even though I am really nervous, wound up like a top, filled with wild anticipation, about facing all this, it really frightens and overwhelms me, it disturbs me, I love and accept myself anyway.”  

“Even though I feel I have opened Pandora’s box, everything and everyone is coming out marching towards me, ready to steal more of my power and my peace, I love and accept myself anyway. I choose to let this go and know that this process doesn’t have to be too painful. Pandora’s box or not, I have it together.   I choose to be calm and relaxed.”  

“I can handle this, I can handle this.  I am strong enough. Look at all I’ve endured, and look how great I am. I am strong; I can let go of the past. I can be in charge. I can have peace.”

Now that she was feeling more in control and relaxed.  I began to explain how we could attempt to “sneak up” on a major event. Mid-explanation, the tears began to well up.  I stopped and inquired. The childhood “themes”, as she referred to them, were beginning to surface. Once again, like an endless stream.  She said the early memories were very clear, but when it came to the adolescent events, she felt aware of them but numb.  When she tried to access them on her own, she said they were blocked. This added to her fear and frustration about being able to eliminate the pain of the past.

Andrea said it felt like “Stuck patterning, stuck in my body and there is no way to be rid of it!!!!!”

So we began:  

“Even though I am sick and tired of working on this. I have no doubt it is stuck in my body on a cellular level and I’ll never be rid of it…..I love and accept myself anyway…..” 

“Even though I am really frightened and‘ I’m just over this, I am so sad and grief stricken, I love and appreciate…(the tears began to flow here, so I continued with: )  this deep sadness, deep sadness, all these fears, this disappointment, this sadness, these fears, this disappointment, sadness…..deep sadness…….”

I stopped for a moment to see if anything specific was coming up. 

She responded: “Yeah, but, its just I feel like every time I release these things, it feels debilitating, and makes me cease to function.”

I asked if she had been having that experience working with me.

She responded: “Minimally, when tapped into deep core stuff.  I want to be able to have it release without getting so out of balance emotionally…..”

I attempted to explain that we could “sneak up” on it…..but for now though, let’s go after the “movie” that’s running in your mind.

Andrea: (fighting tears and sounding frustrated) “I need to talk through it first, get off my chest….”

I responded by saying that I understood the need, but that I could also see and sense the intensity.  Are you willing to give something a try?

Andrea: “Yes”

“Even though I have this event that I want to get off my chest….and I dread getting into it, I love and accept myself.” 

The tears began to flow, but I was determined to gently move forward, closely monitoring her.

“I need to get off my chest, and I dread getting into it because I know where it is going to lead…..I am tired of this pain, I love and accept myself” 

“This awful event and the trail it leads down, this awful event, this awful event….dreading this event, needing to release it. This old dreaded event. This awful event, dreading opening this up.  Don’t even want to think about it……..but is really bothering me….this dreaded event and everything attached to it….don’t want to go there. Need to unload it, don’t want to go there, it is too painful. I dread it, don’t think I can do it without falling apart….this dreaded event I need to unload…. I want it off my chest, this dreaded event…..

At this point she agreed she was much calmer, and I strongly encouraged her to do the best she could to “stay on the outside” of the event. I asked her to see it at a distance or “in the back 40”.

"Even though I think facing this event is going to mean a 10, I love and accept myself.  Even though trying to sneak up on this event feels like a 10, I choose peace within….”   

‘‘Even though sneaking up on this event, or the possibility of trying to sneak up on it, still feels like a 10, I love and forgive myself…..Sophia’s going to try to keep me away from that 10. 10 is a scary number, just like this event….  I know I can do this, sneaking up on it before it sneaks up on me. Nobody is going to let it get me. It got me then, but it is not getting me now. I’m not going to let it…I can handle this…..This event in the back 40……sneaking up on this event, sneaking up on this event….. “

We took a brief break to allow her to breathe and drink some water. I asked for a SUDS level….holding my own breath!  She reported an 8.

“Even though  I’ve still got this 8, just thinking about this  event….” 

Even though  I’m not even in this event, I’m just thinking about getting into it, and it really upsets me, disturbs me, frightens me, it’s hitting me in the stomach….

This last comment was pure intuition. If you noticed, she never mentioned her stomach.  Immediately after I said “it’s hitting me in the stomach”, I said “Is it not?”  She dutifully repeated “Is it not?” and then said “What”?  I let her know that I could “feel” it and was seeking her confirmation.  She immediately agreed, and we continued to tap.

“I love and accept myself…..this 8 in my stomach……this 8 in my stomach……..” 

“This dread event, this 8 in my stomach, this dread event…..”  “This 8 in my stomach, I just can’t go there, just thinking about it gives me an 8 in my stomach……” 

Checking in with her again……She reported her intensity level to be a 6.  She said she felt calmer overall, but inside she was feeling a lot of agitation. 

Andrea: ”I feel very agitated.  I feel confusion and anger……my body is so overly sensitive, I feel as if I have pricklies inside. I feel like pricklies all over….”

So we continued:

“Even though I feel these pricklies all over, and I feel agitated inside, angry and confused…”

These pricklies all over, this inside agitation (TEARS AGAIN)  this anger, this agitation, these pricklies…………..This inside stuff………. 

I could sense a release, so we stopped for a moment and she acknowledged a definite overall improvement. We continued: 

“Remaining agitation………………these itchies, this inside agitation, this anger and confusion….” 

She then shared more of her frustration about dealing with this event: “I have to be mentally strong, I can actually feel my brother, sister, father, neighbor “inside”.  Why do I feel it….I want to hurt myself to get them OUT!  That’s when I feel like I could go mentally insane!! I am not even sure who I am feeling!!! Why can’t I tell!”

I reassured her that it was irrelevant “who”, and that she could release it without knowing.

We continued:

“Even though I am filled with anger and frustration because I have to deal with this, yet again………..I choose to feel calm and confident.  I know I can handle it.”   

“Even though I am still dreading this event, I am not sure I am mentally strong enough to face it….I choose to know I have the power within.  I choose to know I am strong enough.” 

“Even though I am doubting my strength, don’t think I can work through this without falling completely apart…” 

Andrea was now at a point where she felt strong enough to continue with both the ability to ”sneak up” on an event, but to then to work directly on and clear it.  Her story became quite graphic as we worked through it, and I am sure it would be very unsettling to many who might choose to read this article.  Therefore, I have chosen to not to include the balance of the script.

In order to reach a point where she feels that she is operating optimally in life all the time, some continuing work will be required.

However, she feels much better equipped to work through things and doesn’t panic at the thought.  She and her business are doing well!

Wishing you the best in all your endeavors!

Sophia Cayer, EFT Master  


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